It’s almost October and I’m still trying to learn how to empty myself of the icebergs last winter left behind. Every time I pass one of those ads stapled to a telephone pole with the rip-off tabs swinging from the bottom, I’m reminded of how difficult it is to keep holding on when the weather feels non permitting.
I can’t say I spent my entire childhood sticking my fingers into light sockets trying to figure out if grief had it’s own color but I can tell you I spent my entire childhood trying to figure out why it did;
Why long car rides shaded me in swatches of cerulean and sea foam not because I was ever car sick but because leaving home made me nervous and why funeral lighting always reminded me of the bottled hair dye my Great Aunt Sylvia used to use to cover up the strands of gray that showed how quickly she was dying.
Last night, I discovered a birthmark on the back of my neck in the shape of someone leaving.
Today, my eyes look more antique than ember- more ink than charcoal- and, unlike the people whose hair changes colors with the seasons, I think I’ll probably always wonder if my eyes change colors with my cycles of sadness.
Yesterday, I took this photo:
The toes belong to the feet belonging to legs belonging to Benjamin- a two year old who neglects to adequately pronounce his r’s and likes to poop on floors.
To Benny, my sweet little wanderer, life will not always be kind. It will not always be gentle water wakes meeting shorelines but rather tsunamis made of rage. And stings. On days you bear your wounds, remember, one day, your bed will no longer feel like your only home. Remember, one day, you will love yourself completely, without restrictions or regrets- radically and with everything you have.
Do not apologize for this.
Remember, one day, you will stop wanting to crawl back into the womb and start willing to climb out into the belly of life, as new and as quiet as the day you entered it. Remember, one day, your spine will no longer be the only tool that provides you with posture. Remember, one day, your fingertips will know what it feels like to want to hold on instead of letting go, your rock bottom will eventually bottom out and give way to solid ground below; remember one day you will stop feeling like a coward for struggling while everyone else takes gulps of the shit you convinced yourself was corrupting your lungs.
One day, you will no longer feel like an echo but, instead, a siren that sings loud and clear.
One day, you will no longer feel like a gun is always pressed to your head but, instead, a bullet that knows exactly where to spit its fire.
Remember, one day, not every day will be the worst day.
Be present. Be light.
Should you ever find yourself bleeding, do not bandage it. Let it spill out, gradually, so you can know what it feels like to be drained, to be gutted and turned inside out.
Be heard. Be kind.
I hear that there are currently 88 recognizable constellations but there are many that have yet to be discovered.
Find them, Benny.
Explore the earth from end to end until you find the brothers and sisters of the Big Dipper and then, once that is through, explore yourself from end to end until you find the constellations of yourself you’ve never met before.
Be calm. Be resilient.
Always, sweet Ben.