Far Out Dust

I’m always speaking to someone specific

One of the essential skills I’ve learned about writing - and in-turn living - is a different type of tenacity. I have to keep at it, but not with a sheer-force-of-will that makes my knuckles bleed. I have to know when a piece isn’t working. I have to know when to let the answers come in their own time instead of trying to extract them like impacted wisdom teeth. Sometimes I want to finish a piece differently - but there’s an inexplicable force that won’t let me - sometimes that force is the piece itself; but most of the time its conviction.

A great deal of my work is interested in speaking to someone specific. Sometimes that person is me. Sometimes it’s a selection of people or a person close to me, which makes it approachable. I want my work to be accessible, but I don’t always want to be accessible myself. There are plenty of days when I’m exhausted of everyone, and I don’t have the energy to even utter “uh-huh” on the phone. I’d be content not having cell service for three months at a time. I’m an empath, but I’m also a pragmatic introvert with perfectionist tendencies; which means I don’t have much empathy for anyone my age or older who refuses to do 10% of the work I’ve done. I’ve yet to have a sponsee that’s received “make an effort” well.

What I’m working at is making sure that I somehow acknowledge that my experience is not the only one. We are all grieving, loving, trying, failing, and trying all over again. Not everyone has the opportunities and privileges I’ve been granted with. Not everything is approachable either. Living with invisible pain, be it a chronic illness or hidden traumas, means that we have to give it a language for it even to be seen or heard. Often that language remains a secret because only people with similar hidden pain know how to speak it.

We all need a place where both grief and joy can live, where trauma can be addressed and healed, not merely exploited. This life isn’t a place of rigid answers and secure solutions. It’s somewhere we can admit to unknowing, own our private despair, and still practice love, wonder, and astonishment. And allow ourselves to be transformed by all of it.

Isn’t that the definition of grace at work?

Look, we are not unspectacular things.
      We’ve come this far, survived this much. What
Would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?
What if we stood up with our synapses and flesh and said, No.
    No, to the rising tides.

Ada Limón