I refuse to clean my room

There’s a flower pot in my yard that keeps overflowing when it rains. It has no drainage holes and no seeds can grown. And yet despite it being unviable for seeds, green moss is floating and growing on the surface of the water like swampy clouds hovering.

I’m full up this weekend. Every time I breathe, there’s an energy in my lungs, a tickle, a buzzing, a charged warmth. Is that happiness?

We hold up the flash cards in our brains and name emotions like colors. We love labels. I have a feeling. It starts in my chest, a collision against rib bones, a swelling against skin – and then it morphs from there. A buffet during the day where my emotional self gorges like the fat Americans we are. Jealousy with a side of joy. Abandonment with a dollop of strength. So often, I ask myself: what is this feeling and why? And sometimes I know because of the frequency of which it occurs and sometimes it is so tye-dyed with everything else, it blends together, dizzy inside of me and all I know is I feel. Sometimes, my nerves are so close to the edge of my skin that a feather feels like a brush of needles.

It’s untrained and wild and swampy. I’m trying to be better about how the images escape my fingers. Sometimes, there’s a disconnect. Lost in translation. I’m trying to be more precise in how I say what I see inside of me. The first step is always awareness.

I went out on Friday night with C. And knowing her has changed me. I think about how I was before I moved here, so compartmentalized, so afraid of letting poetry into the light, of exposing that forested part of myself. No one ever saw it. They saw what became of it – the poem itself, but not the me that was hiding behind it. I was in the middle, deep in the middle of my own forest.

C is one of the first people I’ve shared bones with. She has seen, loved and known both sides of me. The internal side that I never showed anyone, the raw, terrified, moonlit writing side; and the external side that goes to the grocery store and clomps around on the computer everyday and sometimes doesn’t say hello to strangers and gets embarrassed and so full of joy when beautiful blond babies stare and smile and can’t stop staring at me.

And when I told her that on Friday, she said, “I love all sides of you.” And I said, “That’s what I mean.”

And that’s not to say that I have not been loved for being myself. And that’s not to say that having that part of me uncovered didn’t scare the shit out of me and make me want to crawl back into the earth, in the dark. But it helps to know that that part can, is and will be loved by those I allow inside.

I have been loved so well by my family and my boyfriend and my friends and my Tula cat. I have been so loved by people that thinking about it now makes my eyes swell. But no one had really ever asked to see the other side. No one pushed me to open it. And maybe more importantly, I hadn’t found anyone in the flesh who understood a writer’s alter, truer self better than she.

Many of you who read here only know me by that self. When I’m writing here, I am the self in the forest and thick with it. Some of you who read here have known my walking self, the voice, the face, the laugh, the body. Some of you have known a mixture of both. And I’ve felt slowly for a while now, those two bodies of mine converging. And what an amazing realization that is – to not be fearful of a really beautiful part of myself. And to not be afraid to dip my toes into the light of it.

It only takes one timeĀ  for someone to see something in you. And they’ll see it forever. And they come back again and again and keep knocking lightly until you open the door just a crack. These worlds we keep locked away for no one to see are unkempt. Clothes shoved into a corner. Journals strewn on the floor. Old dishes, mugs, forks – our spit and our life drying onto each metal prong. The curtains opening in the light kicks up dust like exploding cosmos. It’s hard to let someone else see how we live inside – especially a room plastered with so much insecurity. I’ve tidied it a bit, tried to keep the dogs in check and more sociable when there’s a knock on the door. But otherwise, I haven’t changed a damn thing about what it looks like. It’s not a need to change myself, to keep up appearances for those outside, it’s an acceptance. It’s letting someone else sit in the room of you, letting them look at your walls and your disheveled carpets, your socks and your small pieces of nails you didn’t bother to clean off the floor. It’s called being comfortable in your skin, your body, your home.

As individuals it’s up to us to do the work. And now that the different parts of me are beginning to converge, I wonder who else I’ll let in. People who already love me, people who may have wanted to love the other side, but I refused to open the door to. But sometimes it all starts with a friend whose bones are made from the same weave as your own. A heart of my heart. And sometimes my arm is her arm, my side her side, my chest her chest. And sometimes we are roots fighting over the same nourishment and soil. And sometimes when she trips (literally) on a curb, I laugh. And when I help her up, she laughs too, even though she’s hobbling and can’t walk, even though there’s blood drops shining through her white pants like small red coins keeping count of the life and memories we hold like pennies inside of us.

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