A note: I don’t know what this is. But it is something. I got back from Everest Base Camp a month ago. I went on the advice of sweet intuition. Before those precious 15 days, my plans fell through and fell through again, and then again. And again. Plans made moth holes out of me.
Ok. I thought. O.k. Okay. I expected to be trekking in deep contemplation, asking myself big questions. But when I was there, a beautiful thing happened. I was there. I was on a playdate with the kids of life school and there was no thinking. I was full. Abundantly full.
When I got home, and was confronted by my sense-making mind, I found I was a stranger in my sweet little nest. And then this little voice started whispering in my ear and out this came.
You’re afraid. You’re afraid that your words are used up. That your laugh has been lost. That your last love was your last chance at love and it was your fault for letting it slip through your fingers because you were too busy shielding your heart with your head.
You’re scared your cubicle is going to sprout arms and with thick hands grab hold of your neck and choke you while the Mac man smiles and florescent lights reflect off your crocodile tears.
But you’re here now, with me. Somehow you’ve been wired to want this. So listen up. My voice is as fleeting as a conversation between two strangers passing you by. Pull the years of lint out of your ears. My words are just a pin prick in infinity. You won’t be here long.
You’re vulnerable – for the first time in a long time. I’ve picked your pockets of the guns and the ammo and the knives. I’ve cut a hole in the sack where you’ve carried cutting words and the broken mirror which held a shattered image of your face. You are beautiful, girl, but you have more chin hairs than you think you do. I’ve disarmed you.
I’ve cut through your jacket and ripped off your shield. Your loose change, it’s mine. The book of your stories, the horror of your youth and the fairytale of your future, they’ve been lost on deaf ears in thin air. They do not exist. You’ve been picked clean. Left only as you are.
You don’t want to walk, but you will. Maybe with a limp. Maybe with sticks. You will hobble. I’ve called the pain to plague you, with its buboes and blisters and seeping rot. Humble yourself; walk at the back of the pack. Watch the ambition before you. Watch the family of strangers you’ve just come to know sweat out their bullets. Stand by as I empty the change from their pockets and rip their pockets right off. You’re all exposed; naked as you came, just not to me.
The great loves of your past have taught you. Like with all great teachers, you’ve moved on. I’ve called the wind to greet you, to kiss your cheeks and break through the Gortex seal. Brace yourself. He won’t whisper and he’s a bit of a bitch. Yes, he’s a bitch. But even his savage hand has life lines and heart lines too. He’ll smack you where it hurts, in the barren center of your chest, like the old lover you left behind. Enjoy the slow spreading warmth from his hand and welcome it again and again until he knocks the dead out of you. Let him. Feel every burning inch, until you’ve spun around to see something new growing amongst the rocks and the soot and the shit.
You’ve been wishing your life away. I’ve called the stars to remind you that nothing exists except for what you choose to make. You’ve been buying your wishes but the wishing stars are out of change. The stars, they don’t exist. They’ve been dead for years. You’re not. Don’t wish it away.
Your wishes have weaved knots in your skin. Forget your skin. Ink it with technicolor and cover it with couture. Cover it with dirt. Mix in some dirt, lots of dirt. Dirt makes you happy. Lots of dirt makes you tanned. Fuck the knots. Age spotted hands have knit a map in your soul. Untangle the precious crochet inside you. Follow what lines you.
You’ve been lazing in the lukewarm comforts of home. I’ve called the frost so that you seek the fire. Welcome the ice so you can thaw. Step into the deep freeze so you seek the warmest stove. Tend to it. Feed it generously so you desperately seek the cold that leads you there, to the warmth. Feed that fire until you seek it in abundance. Until you realize you must walk through your years like a stroll on the moon.
Don’t follow your heart. Your heart will lead you off a cliff with no wings. Following your heart will allow whatever the object of your affection is – a person, an ambition – to become you. Nothing should become you. Your heart is a misidentified leader. It’s intuition you want to follow. I’ve called the steepest hills so you can only follow one path. And yes, the hummingbirds will distract you. And yes, you might stray for a bit. You might panic in the dark. It could always rain. But you’ll get where you’re going and if not, the sun will rise. Keep going.
I’ve called something akin to boredom to make you play. You’ll win and lose and sometimes you won’t matter at all. But play, so that when you’re dealt a bad hand, when you’re the shithead, you’ll know to cut the deck and deal from the heart because every time you lose, it’s a new game.
And then when this is all over, when this voice is nothing but the time elapsed in a blink, fuck it. Cry. Cry until your nose no longer runs with the blood from the dry air. Lament. Mourn. Shave. Cuss. Shower. Wash the mountain off your skin until it’s like you were never bronzed with dirt, like you’ve never been cold.
Don’t let the sweetness of the mountains fade. Tell your story. When you share it with the candied eyes of youth, speak with your tongue out. Your taste buds may be worn but they still work. Catch some of the raw sugar that’s found only in a child’s eyes. With the sweetness of babes balanced delicately on your feet, lead them into a dance of your own experience so that they may want it too.
When you’re home, be careful not to mix the sweetness with the bitter ash from your past. Leave bitterness to the sidelines. She sits comfortably in her chair away from the joy because her feet hurt and her dress doesn’t fit and because she doesn’t like her reflection in the disco ball. She’s thinking of yesterday – like the stars, it no longer exists.
You’ll remember me when there’s a fire burning somewhere in the distance and the perfect mix of petrol and forest and dung lingers in the air. You’ll find my voice again in the pain and the frost and the play that you knew like old friends as you walked on my feet.
Don’t return on ceaseless quest to unfurl the knots of your skin, picking away, blemish by blemish. Let the blemishes sit and fill and disappear on their own. Focus on your lining. Come back without your story, humbled, to me. Your path is dusty but it’s marked. Be wary of your heart. You get one shot, one barrel to fill your days with whatever it is you must. Listen close. Bear your skin, welcome the wind, seek the frost, play in the dirt. And for God’s sake, when I come knocking, let me in.