Know it all

This is a little piece I wrote on one of those days . . .



I know you. Sure, I realize you want to say ‘no you fucking don’t’, but I do. I know how you want to be unknowable, at least to strangers. I know that you are not at all sure you want those closest to you to know what truly anchors your soul.

I know that last summer, something in the warm wind tickled you and you felt younger for a moment. I know that you once ate ice cream at the fair and felt older and when you think back it makes no sense that eating ice cream would spark a sense of wisdom and an appreciation of the future.

You are the sort of person who looks for the good in others, but easily finds the worst in yourself. You laugh about the tendency to berate yourself, to be too critical, and your friends nod their heads. Only people of merit question themselves, you decide. This is part of growing up, of striving. If you were to settle for less, imagine the thoughts you would have, then, about yourself.

Last week, you saw so little good around you. You read the news and painted there was a diorama of bloodshed and hatred. One tier down, less violence but instead lies and theft, a flu vaccine scandal, a rich man stealing two hundred dollars from the counter of a convenience store, a woman sleeping with her son’s soccer coach, the stuff of weak character. Might you be wasting your time seeking hope for tomorrow?

But no one can answer you. You are alone, in the end. You reach out to your loves and seek their viewpoints on life, their inspiration, but never do they stick. The only lasting bolster comes from within, you realize with some sadness. There are days when you feel balanced, a core of something solid. But there are also days of wavering doubt and no one to rescue you.

There was a time of experimentation with God and prayer. There was a time of touching nature and finding there the calm you sought. There will be a time of joy, pain, weighty responsibility and giddy laughter, soon.

You can trust me. I know you.

You are alone, but for me. Light, creeping, beside and within, I come this way and you have no choice but to let me in. I am everyone and no one, but I know you. I am the only one you can trust. I am not God, or your mother, or a new puppy, and certainly not your true love. I can not tell you any more but to go now and make another ice cream memory and do not fight the fear you have that I am right, that I do know you, and that this may make you smaller. Who needs to be so large they shout at the sun? You are just fine. You are glorious. I celebrate you.


The Coliseum

Mental health is a terrifying arena, and I think about it like that – the Colosseum in Rome, all open and gaping and bright with summer sun, then dark underneath, cut into little compartments, and you just don’t know where the good help is – whether people or books or drugs or fruit – in the sun, across from you? Should you go that way? Or behind you, in the cool, damp spaces where you can see everything because there is just enough light, limited square footage, ceiling, floor, a place where you can really take the measure of things, but still you don’t know. The little room could slam shut with you in it, or you could simply forget about the sun altogether, couldn’t you? Terrifying. Someone’s cheering to your left, saying yes, go on, go forward – it’ll be good, but you don’t know. And the stupid thing is that it’s really not a huge risk. There are no lions, no quicksand, no car bombs. You really can turn around and go somewhere else. But it feels huge. Like old superstition. Like just for thinking about opening up, someone might snatch a piece of you and keep it in a jar and you’ll be incomplete and pissed off, because it’s a private thing, or it was. Now it’s in a fucking jar.