My littlest sister braids her Barbie’s hair / in the middle of her room, and brings up / some cogent questions: I understand / the sun will burn out, but I need to know / what’ll happen to our vampires.
I mark my life with music. If there's a song in my playlist, there's probably a strong memory associated with it. With the rise of streaming services such as Spotify, I have enough data to serve soundtrack to my years going back to 2016. There's always a theme (and that theme is usually "Power ballad me to work, Glass Animals"), but this year was different. 2019 was hard as I came to terms with parts of myself I didn't even know were there. It was hard as my family struggled to keep itself together. It was hard as I said goodbye to things that I loved. It was hard as I realized that this was a year of healing stasis, not action.
Whenever I finish a project, I feel empty. It’s not a scooped out feeling, it’s more of a “I’m not here” feeling. It’s like existing in a sensory deprivation tank. Finishing the last draft of my novel after 8 months of work was similar. When I was done, there was no fanfare or feeling of elation; instead, it was like I had been editing someone else’s pages, not my own, like the pride belonged to someone else. Why is it so difficult for me to feel proud of anything I write? Why does it feel like this draft is only tangentially attached to me instead of an actual piece of my spirit? Is this me rejecting my child? Am I a bad mother? Or have I experienced enough rejection and lackluster responses that I don’t want to run the risk of growing emotionally attached to something that is so…me?
Healing is a complicated journey. You can think that you’re all done, but then something happens to remind you that more time is needed. The worst part about that is that the wound doesn’t need to tell you that it’s there because you’ll check for yourself. Like with a bruise that’s turned green, you poke at the pain to see if it lingers. “Hm, does this hurt? Let me test it.” You apply more and more pressure until you can feel the pain again. It’s never as bad as the initial injury, but it’s still there. Different, but there.
I’m passions paled away ashy, waiting / for a word to flutter, hinging on this
It's funny how quickly we bond, to the point that we get so used to life together that it seems impossible to live any other way. The Bond House is a place where that happens with some regularity. When we got started in early 2018, there were 8 of us: 8 strangers who agreed that living in a totally-not-haunted house was a good idea. We were the ones who put the House's heart together, helped shape it into what it is now, and have become closer than many people are with their own families. Now our rooms are full, but the cast is different. Most of the original 8 are gone now, or are permanently traveling, and I have to say that it's hard. Even harder still is that this original number dwindles still. Theresa is leaving today.
I know I haven't written about our Bond House antics in some time, though this isn't for a lack of source material (believe me), and for that I am sorry. Roommate relationships are like any relationship in the sense that there is a honeymoon phase that fades into day-to-day life, which means that it's easy to take the magic of the house for granted. Our party going has gone the way of dinners at home, binge-watching Netflix, getting mad at Game of Thrones, hiking, the occasional evening adventure, and plenty of time in the hammock. It's not glamorous, but it feels like what I need right now.
Months ago now, I told you that I was feeling better than I have in my whole life. That's still true. In fact, sometimes I forget that I have depression. Sometimes I forget how bad things actually were. Sometimes I forget how it feels to lay on the kitchen floor and cry. Sometimes I forget that I attempted suicide. But the thing about depression is that it doesn't forget you. Depression has a long memory. Depression is a long memory. So yes, I am okay. So yes, I still have depression.
Gideon's fur finally grew back, / two years after you shaved him / that summer, despite his undercoat.
This is for your mother, Kathleen. Even after I stopped loving you, I couldn't move her from my heart. This poem was written when my relationship with words was rawer, but the sentiment is still there. May she sleep in peace on this crisp Mother's Day. The world has been a colder place without her.