Again, someone told me: you should be kinder to yourself.
This was yesterday, during what has come to be the typical daily long distance exchange between myself and someone who actually referred to us as star-crossed once, mostly because we’re literally separated by at least a thousand miles, but partly because of how parallel we led our lives this year, meaning I’ve come to realize the predilection for geographical and emotionally unavailable loves runs deeply universal.
And so, this whole thing called finding repose in writing / forcing myself to write daily — and read poems, too (because I’ve been complaining about not having read enough, and this blog called readalittlepoetry.wordpress.com inspired me, so why the hell not) instead of spending days on end going out to sustain pointless conversations and feigning little intimacies just because I’ve been told it’s what I should be doing at this age.
I’ve realized that winds can actually howl. I told this person about this yesterday, sending him a recording or two of what they sounded like in my bedroom window, according to google, exactly 1,463 miles away from him. Somewhere, always, a storm brews over the mainland, but this weekend one lingered over the north and brought the usual circus of families being evacuated and those eyeing seats in government deeming it prime time TV. I live up sixth, which means storms sound different up here from the ground, as mother noticed yesterday. On the ground, it’s just wind through the trees, a beautiful girl’s hair flying in the wind, but up here they’re more ferocious, coming in gusts that fling themselves at the building through the night so much that you begin to question how long can the structure you call home hold out.
I saw an old boyfriend the other night, too, just as this one made landfall. Over drinks I have never been more sure things ended for the right reasons, even as we struggled to remember what was those were, laughing over how this elusive teenage excuse once seemed like a Greek tragedy. It’s funny how you can look at someone and call on nothing from within, this line from a poem by one of my mentors, Nerisa Guevara ringing in my ears: “Actually what is left / is a vague memory that I loved you.”
The small, fleeting sadnesses still come in spades, but at the very least I’ve come to terms with the menacing ease of reaching out for a drink or a hand to hold during such episodes.
And so, in light of learning how to be kind to myself, this poem by Charlie Samuya Veric.
I think of that word in the dark of winter–
the negation coming first, a state of being, then
the contrast. All this in the syllables
of a word I stumbled into while reading
an online comment on NY Times, my laptop
and myself, passing time in the dead of the night.
I wonder what it is with this season.
Once a physician said something
about her patients committing suicide one
after the other from Thanksgiving to New Year;
people dying in the darkest hours.
This evening, I was walking from school
all bundled up, the arctic wind
blowing in my face, the howling I could hear
now and again. Then it came to me
what loneliness meant. It was the cold biting
into thick layers of clothing, deep into pores
of one’s skin, the body curling like the tip of a fern,
and then the voice sounding from the bitter void:
There’s no one else. Embrace yourself.