I’ve always given too much heart to what other people think. Born as sensitive as a suffering succulent in shallow sand – wary of the slightest tide. As cautious as a fledgling bird on a flailing tree-limb – aware how easily the wind will knock her to flight before she is able to spread her wings. I am more breakable than I’ve let on. Enduring by virtue of a stubborn will, not a capable heart; one may be surprised to hear that I will cut to my knees from the blow of a strong word faster than the blade of a swift sword. I take everything to heart and do not easily forget.
Of these things God made no mistake. He formed within me a special kind of observation to this world and a glorious fragility that is wind-worn and tested, and though indeed I am sensitive and regard others more than is healthy, I am sure the purpose is a noble aim: I will use it to create something timeless and beautiful that shall remain long after my feeble skin has turned back to dust.
The thorn in my chest is from the very beginning of my story because it took my sensitive heart and pulled it apart, and it knew the best way in. Not from birth, though this too speaks to a design that found me fighting for my place from the start, but instead from the first taste of love… Love that pushed me into crashing waves, boldly, and onto the wind, my wings open wide. Love that found me unafraid, for the first time in my life. When I trusted, wholeheartedly.
My thorn IS love. Great love. Lost love. Lost… Trust.
… You see, I’ve been told by everyone I know whom professes to love me now that I should have let it go a long, long time ago. That, by now, I should be over that day, that night, that moment. That love. The shame, as one may imagine then that I had not succeeded in putting it behind me, is a weight I’ve carried atop my shoulders for years.
‘They must be right, I am just not strong enough for this’, I thought too often. I allowed their insecurity, their uncomfortable position to tell me… what? What do you say? Except advise to get over it, move on, let – it – go. . . When I profess and process my history aloud – particular something this painful – it often serves just to make others close up further (perhaps I am stronger than I believed. . . . . . . . because at least, I face it?)
What is worse than actually living the experience is then being told for ten years that it shouldn’t matter to me as much as it does. That I am too sensitive, obviously. Worse still, that I was too young, and it probably wasn’t as good as I remember, anyway, so why hold on so long?
I have allowed the opinions of others hold me back from accepting one important truth – that time with my first love, it is my muse. My great story. Timeless, tragic, truthful. We writers dream for such a tale, salivating over the slightest tickle from one of Zeus’ daughters; Clio – weaving for me an enchanted fable of young lovers to endow me with a beautiful history, before Melpomene shatters it to pieces with one fatal blow. They worked together to create for me exactly what I would need to write with purpose. To find my voice amongst all the world, and to stand firm in my resolve that the sum of such lost love is not despair, but everlasting beauty. Such a love, lost, deserves nothing less. I could not have known it, nor would I have believed it held such promise then, for then, it only brought pain.
To write it is the point, I see that now. To use it. . . The brokenness. The loss. The exquisiteness. The innocence. The easiness. The simplicity. The sorrow. The carefree nights of which I will never know the same again as long as I live. The safety of knowing how my life would go, and believing love would persist even if I doubted myself occasionally.
Weaving the love was the easy part – the pain, and the opinions, come when enters the tragedy. I did not lose one love but more than this, the deepest trust of a mother to her child. For a decade, I mourned this loss. For ten years, I have suffered it, reminded by a song or a familiar face in the crowd. I not only lost his hand in mine, his eyes upon my heart, but the tender embrace of my goddess mother and her earthly charge to protect me at all cost. In an instant, the security I had placed in their hands was washed away by cold ocean water and a swift gust of salty air. I had trusted, God knew I would. I opened my guarded heart at the mention of his name and the insistence of her words…
“He is the one”.
“Move on”, they insisted, with nothing else to offer so many years later when I still cry the same damn tears.
Helpless, their perspective, that I am better off this way. Sentencing me to a lesser fate, after all what was my choice? The voices over these past ten years have only tried to help me, and rarely were they meaning maliciousness, but why say anything at all unless they’ve walked in my shoes? Would you say to a man wandering the darkened cold street, who lost his home, that it was meant to be this way or it would not have happened? What purpose does this serve but that it made you feel you tried to offer some semblance of help, but you would have done better just to sit and listen! His tale, to such a conclusion as homelessness, ought to be a good one, and believe me, he knows where he went wrong and it helps nobody to remind him. He just wants someone to listen. I know this, because so have I wanted not advice or pity, but simply someone to say nothing at all. Just listen.
As sure as I can be, I was gifted this tragedy.
My mother almost lost her life and mine at my birth. I came into this world feet-first only a small fraction of healthy birth weight. She always told me this tale. . .
“I was in the hospital at 5 months so they could stop my labor. We didn’t really know what we were going to name you. As I laid there one day in that bed, I heard an angel tell me, ‘You will name her Christina Marie’, and I knew you would be okay.”
Divine, those muses. Spinning from before my birth a special story unique to my soul. My sensitive heart would blossom with a great love but before it would realize its potential it would be trampled by tragedy.
I’ve tried to make sense of it for ten years, but I see now – with great peace inside – that the sense is entirely what work I do now. It is the beauty from the pain.
The thorn is inside my chest forever. I cannot remove it. I cannot entirely relieve the pain, and I know it will be with me forever. He gave me a heart that remembers. But the beauty from my sensitive heart is only just now realized, that I’ve loved and lost, but then loved again. . . A bold testament to the strength that is not my own, but lives through me. The roots in the wet grains of sand, clutching to the earth when the waves rush forth. The growing confidence in the darting bird amongst the trees.
I can take this timid heart, afraid of what others will think, and create something beautiful against the odds. Stick up my middle finger at the “let it go’s” of the world and use it for what it is: Great material. Against my own doubt and fear. Against their voices that tell me I cannot write this because I should have let it go years ago. Is that not the point, though? That it is a new kind of tale, one only I can tell, and I have not let it go because maybe I was not supposed to? One whose beginning, middle, and end I know intimately and truthfully, and I alone can rise above what it was – to me alone – to breathe it new life, and create with it something to make the muses glean with pride. Through me, this work be done. Through me, of me, but not for me. For more than myself, but anyone who has ever felt themselves silenced by what this world would make them believe: Their story doesn’t matter, isn’t worth telling, and should not hurt the way it does. . . That you should be over that by now.
I have exhausted my give-a-shit, and instead, I am just going to trust the muse and fucking write it. Because I must. Because the muse implores me to do so. The evidence, for me, is undeniable that this is the time and space where I create. My dreams have painted him directly in front of me, so close I can almost smell his skin. He is psychically calling out to me, from the shadows of so long ago, and I believe it is Clio’s way, my sweet persistent muse, of pushing me now. I feel him in the strangest places, at the strangest times – I am sure this is beyond mortal perimeters, but that I am channeling something stronger than myself and mere memories.
I am writing from love. Remembering from love.
From something so painful, to be here with love, speaks for itself. It writes for itself. All I have to do, then, is sit back and do the work. The words will come through me, and I will nevermore be just the timid young woman who gives too much credence to the will of her counterparts, but instead, the brave writer using the heart of love and life to paint a vivid tale. A fitting tribute, the final proof that fate had not the upper hand and did not defeat me, but I loved as I looked back, and I made from the ashes something beautiful. More, that I have loved again years later, and deeply – despair did not break me, as feeble as I seem; my strength from love is mounting…
Unafraid, and unhindered. I step aside now… Clio, parchment unfurled, dip your quill. I am ready.