An Invisible Grief

I lay on my side facing him, my head propped on one elbow, my other forearm extended on the sheets between us. He smiled at me, then looked down and passed one finger lightly over my forearm, near the top crease of my wrist bone. He traced two small, faint scars nestled there, little pale parentheses cradling a minor vein. He looked up at me, knit his brows.

“I made them once,” I admitted. “It wasn’t such a big deal. It wasn’t dangerous or anything.” Toru nodded wordlessly, conceding that they were nowhere near the underside of my wrist, where tender skin separated artery from air.
These were marks made during a particularly confused period of adolescence when I had wanted not so much to destroy myself as render tangible an invisible grief so it might begin somehow to dislodge and recede.

-Passage from The Good Shufu: Finding Love, Self, and Home on the Far Side of the World by Tracy Slater

Teach me the stars and I will show you the ocean

Our lives are filled with moments. Snapshots of the mind in a single frame of time that you can revisit whenever the inkling hits you. These moments are important, they are everything we are or have been; the lachrymose, the lucid, the precious, the egregious glimpses of our lives as a whole. As I have gotten older, I’ve begun to realize how cruicial the patches of your life are. As a child, unknowing to me, I had already dug into dissociative tendancies that would change my life all together. This year, 2016, has been arduous. I finally succumbed to my desperate need to see a counselor. I believed all along that the hardest part of starting my own healing process would be finally taking the initiative to make an appointment. To my surprise, working with her these past few months has been one of the most trying experiences of my life. As I dig up the horrible cumbrous roots of my past simultaneously I’ve noticed a sheer force strike up within me and grow; as if it were a sproutling piercing the earth’s crust for the first time to breathe.

Since my childhood and adolescence were difficult my dissociative states and anxieties have made it difficult to recal large portions of my life. Giant gaps are missing from my memory reel. As much as it pains me to say, if you were to hold it up to the light most of the film would be blank reflecting heartbreakingly to me just how much of my life I have been absent from. Which is why holding onto memories now is so important to me. I cling to them pertinaciously because I’m scared if I don’t they will leave me and I’ll be dancing on an empty negative for the rest of my life.

So I’m going to hold onto the memories I’ve come across of late. I will remember what is was like to lie on the beach tracing out the lines that Saturn took to travel across the sky or the deep craters on the peel of the moon. And then how it felt to exchange your wisdom for that of my own as we splashed wildly in the night surf hoping to see the waters glow with illuminative microscopic life. Or what it was like to hear your breathing slow and grow steady as you peacefully fell asleep beside me. Or how much I loved the weight of your arms around me and the cool breeze of your breath on my neck. You are not afraid of the fragile glass bubble that I live behind and you are so strikingly gentle when it comes to my instabilities and failings. I think your kindness will forever be playing in my head and your silly demeanor as the early hours of the morning slipped by us. Because no matter where we go or what happens to us, in that moment I was human. A rare and beautiful human moment. And my brain still thundered with anxieties and my soul didn’t believe I deserved your touch. But I was there, and in all of it, I was the person you decided to share it with