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Dear Introvert

writer. creative soul. black sheep.

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love

full circle.

This started off as a Facebook post, but it is deserving of more. As a writer, I find some things shouldn’t be reduced to a Facebook status update, nor limited to 140 characters on Twitter, or become a caption typed beneath an Instagram photo. Some things are worth more than that. This is one of them.

full circle.

I knew of your family since we were kids. My sister’s best friend happened to be your next door neighbor. Your other next door neighbor, was my Uncle Mike. I ran through the woods behind your house, replicating scenes straight from Jurassic Park. I carried my plastic Velociraptor everywhere. His name was Tori.

Everyone was scared of the wolf that lived in your backyard. I only pretended to be. I would watch her from the woods sometimes wishing I had a wolf of my own. Though most of the woods has been cut down and developed since then, it’s still the same place from my memory, the place where we take Layla for walks now, together.

My entire childhood was spent riding my bike, creating chalk art, rollerblading, eating ice cream and ice pops, wreaking havoc as this wily tomboy with scabbed up knees and dirt under her fingernails on the street that still connects to yours. We took a different bus to school. I knew your sister had a big brother but I didn’t know you yet.

As teenagers, you became the best friend of my best friend’s brother. We were together but separate in the same house for countless summer days and weekend nights. One summer, you convinced me and Katie to get drunk with you and Rich from homemade Long Island Iced Tea. We stowed away in Rich’s room, a forbidden place I passed by hundreds of times on my way to Katie’s room. I never had the privilege of entering. Rich put up a fight, not wanting to hang out with his younger sister. But you didn’t seem to care. I felt so cool when you asked us but I pretended it was no big deal. I pretended a lot back then. I was just a kid sister’s friend. Older brothers and their friends never asked younger sisters and their friends to hang out, let alone hang out and get drunk. Funny, you said you always thought I was too cool for you. I wasn’t.

In our 20’s, we spent long nights in Throop dive bars getting shitfaced together. We’d laugh, we’d sing, we’d shout about this and that over music and shots and beers that flowed like water. We always somehow stayed past closing time, just to get kicked out gently by the bar staff, still laughing and singing our way out the door. We went back to your house one of those nights and sat on your parent’s porch, not wanting the party to end. I mentioned I was hungry so you drove to get me the fast food. You knew I wasn’t going to make it much longer on the verge of drunken sleep, but you went for me anyway.

When I started The NOMAD Project, you messaged me. You were one of the first people to show up with donations to support its mission. I met you in the Dunkin Donuts parking lot. Your trunk was packed with everything I put on the wish list. I thought it was so sweet of you. You asked me to hang out sometime just like you had a few times before this day. I said sure, but I never called, just like I never called the other times I said I would. We didn’t see each other again for awhile after that, but I never forgot that day. I never forgot your thoughtfulness, your kindness, you wanting to help me help other people.

2016 was supposed to be better for me, better than 2015 was. It didn’t start out that way. In fact, most things were pretty fucking awful. So I told myself, this was it. Choose something that you want to do, and don’t let you having to do it by yourself be the reason that stops you. You have to get out there and live your life. Determined to change everything, some way, somehow, I signed up for a trip. Volunteering for others is something that makes me feel whole, regardless of what’s happening in my life. It’s not just about the “wanting” to give back to others, I feel like I “need” to. I have to leave the world a better place than how I found it, I just have to.

I was a member of The Sierra Club for several years. I followed their volunteer service trips annually. The year before, in 2015, I looked into this trip called Working With Wolves. Unfortunately, it had filled up almost right away and there was no room left when I inquired. But this year, miraculously, they offered it again. This was it. This was the thing I needed to do for myself, by myself. I sent my deposit and secured my spot. I’d be spending a week in the wild working on a wolf conservation with complete strangers to help with their mission to protect this endangered species. I’d be surrounded by wolves. Wolves. My dream come true. And I didn’t need anyone but myself to make it happen.

A few months before, the trip leader sent out a list of everything we should bring and directions on how to make it there. I printed it out. For whatever reason, I inspected the list of names that was on the email copied with me. I couldn’t believe it. Your name was on it. I looked again. It can’t be. I looked several more times. It’s your name, right there, black and white. Well god damn, I thought.

I didn’t know you were a Sierra Club member or that you knew about Sierra Club Outings. I didn’t know you signed up for the same trip. We hadn’t seen each other in quite some time.. months, maybe a year.

I had to message to make sure it was really you.  It was. We talked up how strange it really was that we both signed up for the same random trip without knowing and then we decided to drive out together. We drove back together. And we’ve been together ever since. And this Friday, one year later, we’re leaving again for the same trip, only now we’ll be sharing a tent. Some days, I still have trouble wrapping my head around how all of this came together.

An hour after you dropped me off back at home when we returned from the trip, I messaged that I missed you already. I hit send and thought, “You fucking idiot, what is wrong with you? You’re going to look like a total weirdo.” I didn’t know what I was doing and I guess I didn’t care. It was the truth and I thought fuck it, you can’t go wrong with the truth. Just say it and whatever happens, happens.

You left to go on another trip the very next day. You were supposed to be gone for awhile, two or three weeks. You lasted a little over a week, messaging me to say you couldn’t stay any longer because you missed me. You came home on a Tuesday. It took all of my personal restraint not to tackle you in a bear hug when you walked through my front door. You didn’t know it yet, but I loved you then.

It felt as easy as breathing.

Life takes us here, there, and everywhere – all the while it teaches us what we are meant to learn about ourselves, about other people, about life, about love. Time and experience prepare us for what is yet to come and also for what we never saw coming.

I never saw this coming.

Funny, this life. It has a way of knowing exactly what you need before you do, and it knows when to save certain things for when you’re ready for them.

After 30 some years, we were finally ready.

I understand, now more than ever, why life plays out as it does, even when you feel like it has been working against you. Why some things you never thought would end, end. They must come to a close because something much greater is waiting for you, something you were meant for. It’s an alignment of stars. There’s nothing we can do about it but revel in the serendipitous nature of it all. And smile. And laugh. And love the shit out of each other and our life.

Because you are the best thing.

The something that was waiting for me.

And now, we both get to hold on to the one thing we kept on missing all these years…

each other.

 

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equilibrium.

 

Apsara Sea Nymph by Din

the disposition of rage,
unbridled.
a reflection of homologous nature,
simpatico.
the forbearance of wrath,
obliged.
a body of water,
still.
the extinguishment of vexation,
palliate.
a testament of fidelity,
infrangible.

home.

runrabbitrun
Illustration by Kirsten Beets and Francois Conradie of Between 5 and 10.

 

The weight of past loves lost and old lives left lingering

bear heavy load on a listless heart

leave little room to feel anything than lonely.

A radioactive heart enters

rams open doors labeled restricted

removes cobwebs from a ramshackle soul

revives a rundown mind

reaching for the remnants left behind

from a rover long receded.

Stirs up a stark contrast to your sadness

the search for something lost so long ago.

Suddenly, solace in your heart synchronizes in someone new.

You struggle to stave off the sorrow,

if only for tomorrow.

Wise hearts can become fools,

gold hearts can burn black,

and still you run like a rabbit from the love that you lacked.

Stop running.

Love.

Love,

it has found you.

And it wasn’t like falling was it?

No darling,

no.

It was a graceful dance through the door of his heart knowing you were finally home.

helium.

poetry at dearintrovert.com

A love that lifts me up,

chemical element,

noble,

atomic number 2.

Floats me to the stars,

weightless,

his love,

it’s like Helium.

He.

the space between

abluce16
taken from @abluce16

In the space between happiness and hardness,
I can find you hiding there.
The violence in your head stopping time,

but I too, am fucked beyond repair.

 

In the space between sorrow and sadness,

your darkness came to fuse with mine.
An introductory of our finest demons,
trapped by choice or grand design.


In the space between rage and romance,
we can dance together in the fiery ring.
Bruised hearts, ragged souls, bloody knuckles
it seems such a beautiful thing.

 

the silence.

enjoy_the_silence

Those deep ocean eyes tell me a story,
one that stalls behind gritted teeth.
I care not a fuck about spoken words,
let them crash amidst tangled feet.
I find comfort in the shared silence,
please tell me things without speaking.
We’ll become observant mother fuckers,
here’s to heart valves that start leaking.
Let’s prepare to get lost in the nothing,
we can find the light left in the dark.
It’s survival among the bitter and broken,
we’ll ignite to make this kindling spark.

let it settle.

www.climateoutcome.kiwi.nz
Photo from: climateoutcome

If you ask me what my biggest fear is, I would tell you without hesitation, that it would be to live an unfulfilled life. But my second biggest fear is living a lie. Some of us build and shape our lives and our relationships from a foundation of fiction. Forged selves. Distorted histories. Fabrications we tell other people, but mostly, ourselves. Lies are often times born from fear. The majority of people lie from the fear that truth brings. Funny though, I am more afraid of deception than I am of your truth.

What most people don’t realize, is that there is a freedom in truth if we choose to acknowledge it, if we choose to embrace it. They say wear your truth like a badge of honor, let it build a coat of arms around you so that no one can hurt you. But I see a problem with that. The armor, so carefully crafted, so meticulously designed, so custom fitted, it becomes an extension of ourselves and creates a barrier. It means no one can hurt us. But it also means no one can see what’s underneath.

So I have a proposition for you, an alternative let’s say, to what we’ve been taught. My method is to stir it up. Stir up your truth like a sand storm and walk straight towards the eye. Choke on it. Let your lungs fill with its grit. Be blind to everything else, other than the truth that surrounds you.

Let it strip you of your armor as it buries all the excuses, all the justifications, all the every-which-ways you want to believe other than what your truth really is. Let it tear the mask from your face. Let it exfoliate your soul. Allow it to be so abrasive that it wears away all of the rust that has built upon your heart from every year of the life you have lived up until this very day. You will walk out of this truth storm with a raw essence of self you have never known before.

And after your truth has done all these things…

let it settle.

Let it settle deep within you like sand at the bottom of the sea.

And there it will stay.

There will still be times in your life where the truth stirs up. Where someone will dive in and start mucking around looking for your shipwrecks, for your buried treasure, for your skeletons. Some seek your history because they value it, others come looking to pillage through it and leave if they don’t like what they find. You don’t want people exploring the depths of you. But you can handle this, all of this. I promise. If only because you have already stirred up your truth for yourself. You know every last single thing that lives down there and you’ve made peace with it.

It doesn’t matter how much lies there.

At surface level, your waters are still.

In the shallows, you float.

In the depths, you still rise to the surface.

All the weight that once drown you has been spread evenly across your ocean bed.

You now swim with grace.

With courage.

With strength.

With conviction.

Most of all,

acceptance.

So I’m asking you to go to war with yourself. To ride into battle against what might be your worst enemy: your own reflection. Take out every single weapon in your arsenal and get ready for the fight of your life. And do it all, barebacked, without armor, stripped down to the bare bones of yourself. You will be bruised, bloodied, and beaten. But it’s better than the death you live while you’re still breathing. Because that’s what you’re doing. Slowly killing yourself every day running from the truth and tripping on the lies you leave scattered around to keep it away from other people and from yourself.

You have to accept what you are, who you are, and what you were in order to become who you want to be. You have to accept what you’ve already done and what you might not have done in order to move on to what you will do.

Acceptance is the key.

You must love yourself.

All of you.

The good and the bad,

the dark and the light,

the downright beautiful and the fucking hideous.

Honesty and truth mean more than you can ever imagine. Giving yourself the gift of truth is freedom. Giving the gift of truth to others is freedom. Allowing others to care about your true self, is freedom. Maybe you can’t accept everything. But the beauty of it is.. you don’t have to. There are other people who will. People who see things differently and love things you never will. Or they might just show you how.

One of my favorite quotes is this:

Tell me all the things you don’t love about yourself so I know where to start.

You need to know all of the things you don’t love about yourself. It’s okay to recognize them. It’s okay that they are out there in the great wide open and it’s okay to allow yourself to be present with them and for others to be present with them. They shouldn’t be ignored. They are still a part of you. Big or small. But remember, let them settle. Because when the dust clears, you’ll know those people there in your life, the ones that are treading in your waters… chose your ocean on purpose. And they would love nothing more than to dive in the deep end.

And you,

you’ll float on,

with your truth settled softly…

below the surface.

ghosts.

Call-of-duty-ghosts
Photo from http://www.vg247.com

a magnet for the emotionless
the ghosts, they floated
faded and fucked up
to a full heart, bloated

poltergeists take up space
never permanent, only drifting
paranormal self destroyers
carry the weight, heavy lifting

curse of the apparition
prepare for the exorcism
expel the heart haunter
emerge from the cataclysm

the poison tree.

A Poison Tree by merm-ish
“A Poison Tree” by merm-ish

It is sick and twisted,

a gnarled tree that feeds from poisonous soil.

It blooms sweet flowers,

a magnificent deception that lures in the innocent.

The antithesis of a giver,

it sucks the oxygen straight from the lungs.

Thorns embellish its branches,

curved like snake fangs slicing into the flesh.

Colossal leaves conceal the eyes,

blinding the chosen ones to its cunningness.

A labyrinth of mangled roots,

trip the unsuspecting into perilous bliss.

The sinful sap it harvests,

entraps the soul and encases the heart.

Its bark impervious to sunlight,

life generates from darkness harbored within.

She sought refuge underneath its welcoming foliage,

heedless of danger, nestled amongst the blossomed façade.

She watered its thirsty soul, nourished its ravenous mind,

pulled the weeds that burrowed deep into the heart of it.

Truth gave way when the mendacious leaves withered in wintertime,

revealing the repugnant nature of the tree and its cruel intentions.

The tree stood defiant, ignorant to the power of the cloaked woman in red.

Fire blazed within the palm of her hands, bloody from harvesting the lies.

She set fire to the poisonwood and it burned mercilessly from within.

Its ashes scattering with the warm summer breeze and it was no more.

“Threefold the weight of deeds done shall it be returned unto thee,”

and carry with her she will, the ashes of the forgotten tree.

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