Blessings of Quarantine

I like myself more.

Looking in the mirror, I’m no longer filled with hatred.

Some days it comes through. Others, more often it’s content. I’m content.

I don’t hate what I see. Pick apart at what I’d wish to be different.

This unveiling of myself, has brought me home again. To me, without the mask. To me, uncovered.

Permission to be seen, amongst friends, colleagues, family. Not hiding myself, my age, not even the red spots on my chin.

This is not what I thought would become of quarantine. A guide, test, experience back home to me. 

Forever Gone

Suicide 

A word packed with so much meaning. For some it is despair, for others a way out, relief. 

My mind moves back and forth, wondering, thinking. 

What goes through their mind? Right before? What about after?

Strings of words, stories, messages, questions. Flood the space between my fingers as I seek to understand that I do not.

A moment, minutes, time. A heart that stops beating, lungs that no longer hold air. A brain that is ravaged with no more oxygen. 

These body parts that once held a life together, now separate that which is matter from soul. 

A body that held a friend, a brother or sister. A heart that held love. Hands that hugged. Someone’s mom or dad. A child. 

A body deceased, buried, no longer. There is no saving, no hope, no fix for that which is no more. 

Then, a funeral, to share, closure. A post notifying friends and family. Maybe even a news article. 

The only piece that continues to live is the grief encapsulating a heart, a body. One that cringes at the word, suicide. One that cries inside hearing of another death. So final. Another gone. And why? I will never quite understand. 

Mirror Image of Lies

It’s a trap. A trap that sucks me in and sucks out contentment.

Mindless scroll, search, for something, anything, that isn’t me. 

And it just keeps going. More and more, these people, strangers become larger and I become smaller. 

Yet I keep going back. A trap that takes something and refuses to give it back.

A study I read recently showed much higher rates of depression, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts for high usage.

Something meant for good, for connection. Turned into the demise of people one by one. 

An easy life, what it appears. How many takes to get that photo. Might I trade lives with them, with her. 

My heart sinks, wondering where I belong, never with them. My heart sinks in the slow ripping of the bit of contentment inside of me. 

And I keep wondering why I go back. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy, I tell myself I’ll never be good enough. I’ll never be like them. 

I lie here in these thoughts. Wondering what’s real. Hoping one day freedom in being me. 

Little Girl.

There she is. That little girl. Full of life. Of adventure. 

There we are. Bike riding around the lake. Three times.

She squeals with joy, throwing her hands up in the air. 

She says “I loved it, but because I was with you”

Our legs grow tired, though we keep going. Around all the people, weaving in an out.

Moving faster, slowing down. 

Stopping for water, a snack, she even stops wanting to move a bike out of the road. She gets off hers to do this. 

Kind heart. 

I am full of freedom, legs peddling, fresh air. 

Something I used to do, when I was her age.

Now I do it again, bringing back to life that little girl that once was.

The little girl who cries out, screams out for connection.

Getting connected, to the other one. 

There she is. There I am. There we are. Never alone. We belong. In freedom, without any expectations, without any way we have to show up. We are free to just be. Who we are. Those little girls. 

Alone again.

I’m alone again. Another year older, and alone again.

Next year, I’ll be older again. Will I be alone, then?

And the year after, what about then?

Will I ever hold a baby in my arms.. roll over to a sleeping husband in a safe home?

Wake up to crying children, to make breakfast and drink coffee with one eye open.

Who would ever choose me?

Broken goods. Broken spirit. Broken heart.

The good ones. The right ones stay. She says that. But how does she know?

No one will ever stay. Maybe for a time. And then they will leave. By choice. By addiction. By disease.

Then I’ll be alone again. Why stay on this merry go round.

I have made way from my previous reminders. Now I have more.

The white elephant gift. Books. Poetry. Succulents. Plants.

Candy. Movies we watched. Trips we took.

Strings. And my soul is at rest. Begging for trust that this will be okay. Right, God? I’m waiting for you to hear me. I’m next in line.

Lost

When you feel lost, where do you go?

To the sea, mountains, or curl up in bed?


Get lost in books, down something to fill you?

Turn inside, shutting off all of outside?


Do you go to the world? To be filled and renewed?

Do you go to a friend?


Tell me, dear one, what I should do.

When I’m lost, at sea, with nothing to do.

Authentic Plant.

New life.

Plants. Flowers. Drying in a mason jar.

This ones green, and this, hints of brown.

Drying leaves.

Leaves drooping. Leaves growing.

This one is small.

These live together in a big jar.

This one from my past life, the biggest of them all.

The others, their first birthday. Others didn’t make it this far.

One speaks of my shame, couldn’t keep it alive.

Do they look like hers? Oh no.

The drooping leaves much like my soul as I compare. Myself to her. That plant to that.

I can get new ones, What if I kill them all.

Failure. Resilient. I try to mother them well.

Too much water. Too little. Not enough sun? Too much?

Maybe its all too much. The fake one looks nice.

Maybe thats how I want to be seen.

Polished. Just the right color. And the perfect pot.

I fit in no matter where I go.

Oh, wait. Those authentic ones can tell the difference.

Where do I belong?

Those dying leaves on the ground.

Breath of Fresh Air

I lay here in my bed. What was our bed.

Thinking of you. Wondering where you are. Wondering who you are.

Wondering what this new year will bring.

Hopefully what seemed so far,

Last year. 

Freedom? 

I lay here and think what was it we did last year on this night 

Was it full of pain, disappointment?

Or were we so far from a fight

That we were dead inside

Little did I know as that clock struck midnight 

The next year I’d merely be married one month

Then life would vanish from my sight 

I’d continue to awake from my bed. Our bed. Each day.

And I’d begin breathing in bits of freedom.

Letting go of that pain.

Now it’s a new year again.

Freedom engulfs me. Pain is a brief reminder of a life once lived.

This year I lay in my bed. Not our bed. And begin to live the years to come that mark freedom. That mark safety, renewal, redemption. That says I have overcome. 

Rehearsing Christmas

Christmas Eve 2018 

12/22/18 My thumbs move on my phone as I cling to the only connection I have now. A text. An old friend. No longer face to face, no longer direct text, or call. But third party information. My head swirls asking, asking, asking. My heart sinks and churns with every answer. This man who used to be my husband, now my foe. But not really my foe. Someone who, though I wish not to write these words, I care for. But do I? Maybe not. The words “he’s dead” wouldn’t shock me. I accept those two words, I am at home with them. Though my heart would be saddened. Shocked, at a life lost to… mental illness? I lie in the arms of safety, now. I kiss the lips of another with no fear. There is fear, but it’s different. Now it is fear of giving my heart away again, fear of giving my body away, or my soul. No longer fear of death, yelling. This might be normal fear, though colored by the lens of divorce. I show all those typed out messages, about him, to the new him. But it’s a different him, remember. 

I start reading poetry books. I pick them out at the library. Briefly reading a few pages before I tuck it under my arm to check out. Somehow the few I’ve chosen have been to do with love, breaking up, dying, abuse. Others wrote of animals, oceans. Those I picked up and put down quickly. I hear the words he might have cancer, though I don’t believe it. And what is the last poetry book in the bottom drawer of my dresser, the dresser we shared. That used to hold his clothes. A book about dying. A book about cancer. Called the final voicemails by max ritvo. He says “and my fear is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen”

I read, drank coffee, showered, did my hair, tried on my outfit. Now I sit curled up listening to music “the feeling that you get when your by yourself”….. my stomach churns and I go over and over in my head the details. I imagine him homeless, and think of how fortunate I am to have a home, a room, a warm bed, a shower. And think what happened to him? I almost feel guilty for what I have. And my stomach screams at me in sickness. Get this tension out. Stay in the bathroom. This song says “your the only thing on my mind”…. how do I get this off of my mind? Will I always be looking at life through this lens of… trauma? What if I was celebrating Christmas this year as a 27 year old whom hadn’t been married? What would that be like. Would my stomach churn in sadness I hadn’t been offered that. Would my heart be able to speak to the depths it does now. Would I be excited? How would I be spending my morning? What if, what if, what if. What if he didn’t get “sick”….? What if I married someone “normal”? Would I have a baby now? Be in my own home? Be quietly sitting on a couch next to my husband.. with my baby sleeping in the other room? What would my home Look like? What would my in laws be like? How long would I be married now? Reality slaps me back. I am divorced, living at home, spending a quiet morning thinking of the suffering my ex husband still lives and drags others into, waiting for my boyfriend to celebrate Christmas Eve. I will get up off this chair, put on make up, greet him with a smile. And the turmoil of fire will extinguish for today. To be reflamed likely tonight, or tomorrow. Maybe when my head hits the pillow. Maybe when I see the babies in the family. Maybe when I see the rings on the married peoples fingers. Maybe when I open my gift. It’s a constant coming and going, that fire of my soul. That fire that holds my pain, the stories, the memories. The fire may never be extinguished completely. It’s ashes color me.

Lies, Remember.

As I laid in our bed. I dreamed, of you. We were broken up, yet together. You were not into me, the tables had turned. 

Driving behind hundreds of cars, stop, go, stop, go. My mind goes back to him. My mind goes back to the dream I had last night where he was in it. I turned on the song “I’ll be missin you” on the way home from the training…. I can see his face, I remember how he would bob his head and smile when he was uncomfortable 

It’s weird to miss someone who left me, threw me out. 

I remember how I picked out certain clothes for him, how foods in our fridge were specifically for him, how he’d go to bed earlier than me and I’d turn my light off last. 

I had an image in my mind, too. But girl, broaden your definition. It is not just slammed heads, but slammed doors. It is screaming, it is isolation, it is manipulation. 

You’ll know, even if your mind tries to fight and confuse you. You’ll have a little Voice inside that says this isn’t right. What just happened? Am I crazy?

No, it is not your fault. 

You did not sign up to be screamed at … the words sting each time “fuck you” “bitch” “shut up” “you disgust me”

You clean up, pay the bills, do your best to keep your vows. Yet you feel inadequate.. maybe it is my fault. Maybe I really am a bad wife. 

NO. They say “Brittany that is abuse”, stop it, your believing lies.

Cheating. Not returning phone calls or text messages for hours. Staying out until 4am. Lying. Ignoring me for days at a time. Erratic dangerous driving.

He’s not like them, I think. He has so much trauma, I just triggered him. He didn’t mean it. 

She likely won’t tell you. She’ll be scared you won’t believe her. And she loves him. She’ll stop coming around so much because she’s exhausted. She’ll go to text someone after another one of his episodes, and then put the phone down. She’s scared no one will understand or want to hear it. “I  want to get off the roller coaster” she’ll remember they say. 

She doesn’t feel like it’s that big of a deal. He hasn’t hit her. Sometimes she can’t even point out what he did wrong. 

Who was she? She was me. I am her. She lives in me, holding all the pain. She comes out sometime, repeating those lies. Crying the leftover tears. I don’t want her to go away though, because she taught me strength and vulnerability. She taught me what I am looking for, in myself and in a partner. She taught me how to be authentic and real. Honest with who I am and what I need.