Sunday, June 16, 2013

Things We Lost In the War

I was sitting on the back of a motorcycle for the first time in years. The beauty of being on the back of a bike is that for all that you can hear of the world around you -- the bike, the other traffic, the wind and the birds -- your thoughts are also fairly loud. It's not a good place to converse, so you just have yourself and all of the things around you. If you're me, that means you had the smell of the ocean in your nose and the sense that you were finding something you had lost long ago, and the sense of it is so sharp, so real, that it makes you want to cry a little bit but you're not sure if the tears are happy or sad, but you suspect that they might be both.

And that would be okay with you.


I am a bizarre blend of caution and impetuousness. There are areas of my life where I run to the edge of the cliff and jump without ever looking down; there are also areas where I will refuse to acknowledge that the cliff even exists and spend days clinging tightly to a solid rock a good mile off. It's how I roll.

I know it's weird.

Because of this, I have entered a phase in my life where I don't let anyone tell me what to do. I lived in a very structured environment for a time, one where I was -- or wasn't -- allowed to do, say, or be who I want. This? Doesn't fly with me now. You think you're going to tell me who to be, where I can go, what I can wear, who I can see? Feel free to fuck off.

And yet.

There were things I used to do... Things I loved to do ... That I stopped doing after a relationship ended badly. They had too much emotional weight, so I didn't trust them anymore, and I didn't trust myself to do them. There were places I stopped going and things I couldn't bring myself to do anymore. They were surrounded by the sharp barbed wire of memory and I couldn't bear it so I let them go.

I missed them.

I'm the one who dictates my life now.

So... The person who was keeping me from the things I used to love was ...


The voice in my head telling me what I could do or not do? Was only mine.

And when I told it to shut up?

It did.


I realized this on the back of the motorcycle, as we drove over back roads that I'd travelled many times in the once upon a time but hasn't seen in years. The sunlight danced over the ocean. The trees cast gentle shadows over the road. I sat on the bike and felt the wind in my hair and took back something that had been taken from me, that I had allowed to be taken and had been too frightened to reclaim. I held out my hands and accepted it like a gift, because it is a gift to regain joy in the things you loved, and to find the clippers that will break through the prison of pain and past history.



I rode on the back of a bike, down past the bay and to the ocean. I smelled the salt marshes and the beach roses and exhaust and, maybe, my own tears, and realized that you don't lose what you've loved. You just have to find it again.

You have to find it, and find the strength to hold onto it.

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