flowers for a heart left behind

delusions of grandeur

[eyes that see into eternity]

caught between. wth.
flowers for a heart left behind
There's been a lot of changes around here, most of it left unwritten.  I wanted to write, get my feelings and thoughts out on paper, but I wasn't sure how to do it in a way that was true to the way life is, or to myself.  I did copy and paste a few entries from Wordpress to this LJ, but the rest of the blog was deleted.  All of the pictures, all of the entries, even the ones that were innocuous.  Too much of that blog held thoughts and feelings - a person - that I am no longer, and I couldn't separate one from the other. It was meant to be private, hidden from the public, and I certainly used it as such.  I felt like there was no coming back from that.

Still, tonight, I feel as though I am playing with fire.  I've had some rum punch to drink, so I'm not quite tipsy (though the amount missing should say otherwise) and I'm revisiting my personal LJ feed.  I know that I deleted a lot of stuff, but I can still sense what used to be there. The entries that I wrote while high or while drunk, or under the influence of someone else.  I want to read all of those entries again, even though I know it's nothing good for who I am these days.  I'm even listening to Audioslave's Like A Stone like playing with an Ouija board.

Parts of me that I thought I'd run from are still wishing I knew if they still looked for me so that I could throw a literal message in a bottle out into the ether.  I don't really want to talk to anyone, just let them know that they do cross my mind and I do miss them.  A lot.

(no subject)
flowers for a heart left behind
I don't know if I'm coming or going.
I hope that a lot of this disconnect I'm feeling will resolve when Chris comes home because I won't be alone and lacking in the other half to my whole.  I love my life.  I have worked hard to build it up.  I have fought hard for this relationship.  So why does everything feel so off?  Am I just weak?

stirrings of war
flowers for a heart left behind

I want to write my name in the history books of you.  Years led to this breakdown in communication.  There was a silence, loud with everything that wasn’t being said.  And then – on this date, at this time, the first shot was fired.  I would embark on a war of attrition.  Destroy everything until I reach my destination.  Single-minded and hellbent, I would lay waste to your landscape.
Fuck the maps, damn the torpedoes, just let my instinct to take over.  I would find you out, hunt you down, thin your ranks until you’re running to reinforce those lines.

Surrender, a whisper on the wind.  Surrender.

And then, finally, on this date, at this time, the guns would fall silent.  Covered in dirt and grease and smoke of warfare, we could discuss the terms.  I would have to remind you, of course, that I play for keeps.  Unconditional surrender is required of you.  This would be total war, after all.

Under the terms, I could redraw the lines and plains of your body, keep the best territory for myself.
To the victor belong the spoils.

After a while, I could draw down my forces, let the army disband.  Pull down the fortifications and let you fully in.  Rebuild, put down permanence in some way.  What would you look like, all marked up with me – my marks, my name, invisible but indelible prints?

I’m not sure if I fight fair, or if I would be considered to fight dirty – but like they say, all’s fair in love and war.

taking flight
flowers for a heart left behind

The lines and borders of me feel ephemeral.
Like any moment, they will shimmer and I will be gone, disappeared to the winds.
Some days, I feel as though I am slipping away.
Feeling myself less and less here as the days go by.

I think it might be more than just simple wanderlust that has me wishing I could watch the horizon disappear in my rear-view.

I long to spend days and nights in a foreign city where no one knows me. Perhaps I will have a guide-book or a map, or maybe I’ll just trust my feet to take me where they will. I want to be alone to make my mark wherever I desire. Pictures of myself in front of the Coliseum, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the pyramids at Giza. Maybe I would be inspired to write books of tales concerning my travels, poetry of flowers and fruit stands, photographs where I catch the rays of sunlight on the Mediterranean as the day fades.

I would like to see you at my fingertips. Wake to you dappled in sunlight off the coast of Africa. Fall asleep to poetry read in Spanish somewhere in the Caribbean. I would like to bounce civilizations off of you, thinky ever-logical lover. Shall we expatriate? I think we should. Perhaps Mexico? Or the Dominican? Japan? India?

flowers for a heart left behind

Today, I’ve been thinking about throwing myself out of an airplane.  I want to stand in the open doorway of that little prop plane, look two miles below me to the earth just waiting, and then . . . and then, I want to look around at the clouds surrounding us, I want to notice the blue of the sky, and then … and then, I’ll smile, throw my arms out wide and jump.  Back arched, arms held up as though I’m signalling a ‘field goal’ (appropriate – it’s goooooood), knees bent, toes pointed.  And I’ll fall towards the ground at terminal velocity.  I’ll fall willingly, knowingly, aware that the human body can’t survive a fall above 30 feet.  Eyes on my altimeter, when the moment is right I’ll reach up and pull the red cord.  My ‘chute will release and then I’ll float.  Hands will reach up to take the toggles (take control of this moment, as it were) and I’ll be free to look about me (sometimes I close my eyes for a long moment), at the fields and streams, roads and ditches, cars and cows.  I’ll steer myself into the proper position to hit the landing zone, pull hard on the toggles once more and hit the ground running.  Out from beneath my ‘chute, releasing myself from harness and lines, I’ll look up and wish I were falling free again.
I’m always briefly – very briefly – nervous right before I make the decision to jump.  Not because I worry about a malfunction of the main chute, or because I hope the alternate ‘chute is in order, but because I worry that I won’t love it.  Surely, sleep is a metaphor for a relationship, but this is a metaphor for life.  How often do you stand at the door of that metaphorical plane and wait for the signal to tell you that you’re good to go?  What decision has jumping represented for you?  And the falling?  Falling in love, falling into a career, falling into a life that you were previously unaware of.  And when you land, what then?  Do you gather your chute, drape it over your arm, grasp it in hand and make your way back to the hanger where someone else will relieve you of that burden and repack it for you?  Watch them – they make precise folds and tucks and wind things just so.  All so that you can go back up, no matter how high that might be, and find the courage to jump again.  To leave behind that bench and buckles that restrain you and fall into something new.  Each free fall is different.  Each is scary.  Each is immeasurably rewarding.
Or after you land, do you do as I do and look up?  Look up into that sky, and wonder when the next chance will be that you’ll get to jump, get to fall, get to make that decision to take that leap.  After that moment spent longing, I’ll do the same thing – gather my chute, drape it over my arm, grasp it in hand and make my way back to the hanger.  Once there, someone will relieve me of that burden – friends, that support you on this or that endeavor.  Friends that stand behind you.  Friends that make sure your ‘chute is packed right for the next go ’round.  Sometimes they’ll go up with you and you can jump at the same time, enjoy the ride together – grasp fingers, grin like apes, scream, take pictures – laugh about it all at the bottom because you weren’t alone.

Life, like skydiving, is about the risks we choose to take.  Preparation is key.  Why not prepare while you’re on the ground so that you can appreciate the ride up and then love the shit out of the fall back down?

going home
flowers for a heart left behind
I'm thinking about mortality and the next step to take from here.  I'm wondering why this, why again, will there be a next time.

I feel like I need to buy my ticket and go before there's nothing left to say but what a good man he was.

Ever since I was young your word is the word that always won.
Worry and wake the ones you love.
A phone call I'd rather not receive.
Please use my body while I sleep.
My lungs are fresh and yours to keep,
Kept clean and they will let you breathe.

Is this the way a toy feels when its batteries run dry?

I am the watch you always wear but you forget to wind.
Nobody plans to be half a world away at times like these,

so I sat alone and waited out the night.
The best part of what has happened was the part I must have missed.
So I'm asking you to shine it on and stick around.
I'm not writing my goodbyes.
I submit no excuse.

If this is what I have to do I owe you every day I wake.
If I could I would shrink myself and sink through your skin to your blood cells
and remove whatever makes you hurt but I am too weak to be your cure.

- brand new, guernica

I want to say that I know this is not the end.  This is not it.  But the truth is, we're not guaranteed a day.  Not even a single solitary
hour.  But we take that for granted.  If I don't go, I'm afraid that I will never ever forgive myself.

the absence of a kiss
stuffed Hobbes
I was trying to do the sensible thing last night and go to bed early.  Instead of falling to sleep almost immediately as I usually do, that
hoped-for-extra-sleep time turned into waiting for him to call me.

I shed a few tears tonight, the first ones since I left him at SFO.  To be honest, I don't even know if the tears that I let fall were for him.  There weren't many, but some of them were for Natasha and how much I miss her.  I wore a scarf (a really bright pink one) with my outfit to church on Sunday and a few people told me that they liked it, that it  reminded them of Natasha.  She did have a scarf ever-present.  I'm so glad that she's with Seth everyday and I'm glad that she's happy.  Her business has gotten off to a great start and she seems to be making her mark on Wilmington.  But I have lost count of how many times daily I think of her.  In fact, I haven't seen her face "live" since she left.  We haven't been able to Skype, and have only talked a few times.

Some of them were for Amber and how overwhelmed I am at times with how sweet to me she is every. single. time.  Just the thought of seeing her is an instant pick-me-up in a purely happy peaceful sense.  Sometimes I feel like a little bird, taken under her wing.

Then again, this sudden sense of melancholy could just be a cover for missing him.  I can still feel the weight of his ABUs passing through my hands as I let him go.  I had then a sense of him rushing me, wanting to quickly pry me off/hurry me home.  He hugged me, not long enough, and he didn't kiss me.  Not my face, my mouth, my hair.  Not my forehead or even my hand.  Nothing.  He's going to be six months gone and there was not even the rushed press of lips and teeth and tongue to remember me
by (or to give me anything to remember him).  Nothing in the car, or at security.  At home or at the gate to board his flight.  I shouldn't think he's ashamed at all, but that's kind of how it feels.  He's never cared about uniform regulations before, so why now, just before he leaves the country, the hemisphere, my side?

Maybe I'm just projecting all of that, but he still didn't kiss me.

false dichotomy
flowers for a heart left behind
This is when deployments are hard -- when there's no where else to go. You're stuck between a rock and a hard place, trying to find courage under fire.  I have a lot to do - kids to wake, dress, and see off to school.  Class to attend, assignments to complete, homework to turn in. Dinner to prepare, serve, clean up.  Baths to run, bedtimes to oversee.  And then finally, it's my turn.  I can finally sit and be still and breathe without two small people and their innumerable demands on my attention.

I find parenthood so stressful.  I know that most, if not all, parents do, but do they find it to be this all-consuming emotionally draining never-ending slog through the day?  How much easier it would be for these kids if they had a mother that could offer everything of herself to them without a second thought.  Instead, they have me.  I who am so selfish of my own time and my own attentions that I lord over it like some kind of prison guard.  Some days I feel like I have no emotion left to give them that hasn't already been spent on the guilt that I carry, the tasks I've got set before me, the residual emotion that this deployment leaves me to deal with.

Does it come down to priorities?  I guess so.  I should be putting my kids first and then everything else.  But how? I've always been taught that I can't take care of anyone else if I'm not taken care of first.  (And I don't mean that in a selfish way.  I mean that in a 'the aircraft is going down so put on your oxygen mask first and then the mask of other people.'  The logic there being that other people need you, too, and if you don't put on your mask first, you run the risk of dying and not being there at all.  Does that make any sense?)

Frank has said that one can't really love until they've fallen in love with God first, and I'll be honest - I don't know what that means.  Does this mean that all the love I've felt in my life up to now is unreal, ineffective . . . fake? I've been in love twice, thought I was falling in love three times and confused sex for love several times.  What does Frank's statement say to that?  I understand (I think) a little bit.  God, being the ultimate embodiment of love, is who one should strive to love first and foremost.  After having that love turn into the purest love imaginable, the love that you give everyone else should reflect that.  At least that's what I've puzzled out.

But I have to tell you that sometimes it doesn't feel like there's anything left in me to love.  Either to give to other people or to take for myself.  Maybe I'm just being melodramatic (which is very probably the case), but on some days, I really have to wonder how I ended up in this life, in this place, with these friends, with this family.  I am so tired of second-guessing myself.  Of wondering when the other shoe is going to drop.  Of wondering when it's going to come out that I am not able to parent them like they deserve.

Sometimes I think about just walking out.  Not now, of course, because Chris is deployed, but when he's home.  That right there should tell you that I've never been truly serious about doing so.  Or maybe that should tell me that I'm a better parent than I give myself credit for. But I've thought about it, daydreamed it, loosely planned out what I would do, where I would go, who I could be.  I've never gotten very far, and these remain abstract thoughts.  These children are my responsibility and I took that on, willingly or otherwise, and have to deal with it/face the consequences.  I could go where the sun takes me - back to the southeast, down south, out of the country.  I could live on the beach or in the mountains.  I go where I want, do as I please.  And I tell you this without a trace of irony or drama or pity - I really believe that they would be better off with Mark and with Chris.  I provide only what they need, and not much else.  Isn't it the intangibles that matter the most?  Of course, food shelter clothing, too, but those things are a given here.  My children do not go cold nor hungry.

I like to see myself in some sort of flattering light - Lola should know by now that if she's having a problem at school she can come talk to me.  I'm willing to listen about her troubles and feelings with friends and to help her navigate those waters.  I don't know that I do a good job.  My advice is just to love them regardless of how they treat her, to always turn the other cheek, to use her words when they [the other kids] hurt her, to learn how to play on her own so that when she's older that skill will turn into independence and a willingness to lean on herself for things - never someone else to make her happy.  But she's only 6, and I don't know that any of my advice makes sense.  I am not built for small children to rough and tumble with, but instead for rough men to tumble.  I don't know how to do anything else but be the adult that I am.

How many times am I told that we are given the life we have, the people we know, the children we bear for a reason?  Innumerable times, surely. And I do hold those words as reassurance.  There is SOME reason why those little personalities are mine to foster, but I don't know the reasons, and I'm not meant to see the plan for them.  Or what leading them is supposed to teach me.

Why did I never stop to think?!  That's right.  Because I assumed that in His infinite wisdom, He would see that children are not meant for me.  It'll never happen to me, I thought.  And I was stupid enough to assume that he would look out for me.  I didn't produce the condom one time, and of course, that's all it took.

When I have spoken some of these things to Amber and to Frank, I said that the worst thing is the impact that this (read: that I) am wreaking on these kids.  And both of them said to me, "No.  The worst is the impact that this is having on you. Don't you get tired of waking up everyday and putting on this burden? Don't you get tired of carrying this around?"  The answer, as you might imagine, is a resounding yes.  I am Atlas, with the world on my shoulders.  Or should I be Sisyphus, condemned to roll this boulder up the hill only to watch roll away from me before it reaches the top (a fitting punishment to assume that it wouldn't happen to me)?

Can I tell you that when I see photographs/movies/shows/examples/real life situations of children happy with their mother, of mothers doing things with and for their kids that inspire that teach that embody everything parenting is supposed to be, I just cry?  (There is no stress and tension that seems to underlie absolutely my every interaction.)  It just makes me so miserable.  Standards, I know, but that's an empty word.  Sure, I'm there to help with her homework (and then get upset when she doesn't understand it when I do).  Yes, I listen to her problems (and then give her advice that she doesn't understand).  Of course I tell her I love her (and then let my actions completely contradict every time I've said that).  I don't hesitate to remind her that I don't love her brother more than I love her (and then let him climb all over me and share a laugh and stiffen like the dead when she as much as lays her head on my shoulder).  On second thought, maybe I'm not so bad.  Those photos and situations - why is it so easy for them?  Is it because they try harder?  Could I not be trying hard enough?  Not making the conscious decision to be different than my own mother, be different than I was the day before?  I have seen so many mothers admonish to give yourself some grace daily and to realize that you aren't perfect.  My grace to myself is waking up to a new day.  Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I rise from yesterday to a new day dawning, and it's going to be full of purpose.  And then.  And then, I don't know.  Some days are good, some are great, some are horrible from start to finish.

I just have to keep going, right?  Keep trying to be different, to make a difference. I'll get there one day.  I'll put my head down and a smile on, and I'll pray.  I'll give myself grace enough for the day and I'll try to take more deep breaths.

One day I'll reach my potential.

One day this won't hurt so much.

flowers for a heart left behind
I know that one day I'll wake up and realize that you're everything.
I'll suddenly have a moment of clarity and understand that all of those
things I wanted you to know, you've already understood.

And that will be the best thing ever.

I've had enough to drink tonight so that I'm restless.  I'm
wandering the rooms of my home, checking locks and doors and children,
wondering what I'm looking for.  But I know, really, when I give myself
the chance to sit and think.  I miss you.

And tonight I'm just drunk enough to wrap around you like a cat,
inviting a touch here and a pet there.  Maybe if I'm lucky, you'll let
me sleep on your pillow?  I want to lay on top of you, chest to chest,
hip to hip, knees pressed together, hair unbound and flowing over your
shoulders.  I want to feel your heartbeat underneath mine and catch the
very-faint-it's-not-even-really-there remains of your Nautica

I would love to feel your hand roam the surface of my back, fingertips
sunk into the depression of my spinal column.  You rub slowly, but
firmly, and I slowly undulate under that touch, my stress and care and
worry melting away.  Sometimes that touch soothes me right into the arms
of sleep and other times it turns into something a little more
energetic.  Either way, I always turn my head and press a kiss behind
your ear, beneath your jaw, and into your clavicle.  Those are my hiding
places - where I like to press love in case you aren't sure one day and
you can pull them out and know that things aren't as bad as they seem.
Or just so that we can both sleep secure and safe through the night,
knowing there is something anchoring us together here in this space and
in this moment.

God, I miss you.  Come home soon.

a moment - just one
flowers for a heart left behind
There was a pivotal moment.

We had a fight once, my ex and I. I stormed out, drove around the perimeter of the base for a while, ended up in a parking lot. While I was gone, he wandered to the 7-11 downstairs from his apartment with the intentions of getting rip-roaring drunk. By the time I made it home, he was. Passed out on the back balcony with one cigarette left in what was a pack of Marlboro Reds.

That was the moment.

I could have left right then. Packed some of my stuff into his car and made the trips back and forth to the medical dorms to set my life right. I could have gotten a ride back to the dorms from his place after I dropped his car off. The next day, we could have grabbed lunch, and I could have told him that it just wasn't working. That he was too old, that I was too young, that I was still in love with another. That I just. wasn't. ready.
I didn't. I nudged him awake with my foot and helped him into bed. As I was leaving the room, debating my options, he drunkenly rolled over and asked me not to leave him. In that moment, there were so many things that I didn't say and that he needed to say - things that remained unvoiced. His request was loaded with all of those words and seemed to be about more than just that night, that moment.

Sighing, I stayed.
It would be another year-plus before I finally left.

What, though, might have become of me? There are so many what-ifs in this scenario, but it is the one where I can define the moment when I could have changed absolutely everything.


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