I want to give you a piece of my mind, to tell you about how I reached inside my ear and clip the electric pathways I’ve tried to ignore and interrupt the current those wires have been firing. So, this piece of mind could have peace of mind. So I could find solace in the arms of those who still hold a piece of my heart. You know, the one stamped “FRAGILE” and “THIS END UP” but was upended and shattered like a light bulb; no light was left to shine and I waited for over a year for the bottom of my feet to heal from the pieces left over, the pieces I walked over to try to get passed the shards of shattered dreams I had for you and me, all the while thinking I somehow deserved to bleed.
And a piece of my mind registered the message from my nerves and kept it locked up tight. It said, “Keep your heart under lock, chain, and key. There’s no one to protect you from this ache except you.”
So, I did just that. I forgot what it felt like to feel and I kept my arms out at all times to measure the acceptable distance between me and the world. It’s an unhealthy practice, I know, but it keeps me from having that gnawing feeling in that piece of my my mind tell me everybody will someday leave. I learned that a long time ago like I learned how to speak and read people are going to do what’s best for them and forget I exist like my father did. So I haunt my apartment like a ghost with so much unfinished business I find the strength to grip a pen and carve the messages my hearts been trying to send for nobody to read; the page is the only one who knows how to listen sometimes.
And the anxiety is crushing like sinking into too deep of water and I wait for the time when I crumble in on myself and lose the space in my lungs to breathe like bellows squeezed closed with the handles held too tight. It is then I realize I must force myself to breathe in and out and remember, under the stress of every day, this too will fade away like my feelings for everything else.
But let me also tell you this piece of my mind:
So much became too much, so I escaped the everything of my every day’s clutch and sped out of town to shake its chains, to break the bonds of everything I hated about my life and to try and heal the pain of a year’s only a year’s worth of reliving the funeral for lost love relived day in and day out can orchestrate on my nerve endings as they were stripped from their sheaths and exposed to the toxicity of my breath laced with the smoke of a cigarette.
My car was my home as I chased the sun to the horizon and back, sleeping in cheap hotels as I wandered the loneliest places on the map; they found me, not the other way around, believe it or not. I wandered through canyons and mountains with nothing but me and the soul of the poets playing on my stereo, praying for God to show me the piece of myself that was missing, to show me how to be close to whole again. This is something I’ve asked for a million times in a million ways with what felt like no response and every time it hurt I felt like saying GOD, WHY CAN’T YOU REACH DOWN INTO MY HEART AND FIX THIS PIECE THAT’S BROKEN?
Not in an audible way, at least not through his voice as I made my way West through the Cajón pass, watching the rain come down and lightning dance like streamers on the tops of the foothills.
So, when I reached back into a connection almost two decades past after my tire went flat and I wanted nothing more than to leave the town I was in, after eating food that made me sick, and almost passing out from the heat I headed into uncertain territory. That is, I headed into a friend and/or family I had not seen since junior high without really knowing what I was getting into or why. I just knew I had to be there.
It’s a funny thing, family. I rang the door bell which seemed to ring forever and was greeted by the squeal of a mother and an old friend as she met me in the doorway with an embrace. My heart was suddenly full again as if I had stepped back into my own home, forgetting the past and the pain at the door. Over the span of three days I had never felt more love or so embraced since I lived in my childhood home and I realized this was what life was supposed to feel like all the time and that piece of my mind stopped.
I remember all the things I ached from radiating out of me like the water hitting the hot rocks of the desert for the first time in a long time and I breathed deep again, filling my lungs to the top and exhaling the last of the smoke I inhaled from you as you seemed to patronize me. I realized the most important thing was, on a moment’s notice, someone whom I hadn’t seen in since I was a child was willing to invited me into her home and treat me like family and the beauty of God’s grace for those moments we had; I was part of their family. I belonged.
When I left I realized that’s how things should be, how I should be. And that is something you cannot be or will not be. That’s okay. It’s your life. I have felt disrespected and patronized; I know you well enough to see it in the way you write but that’s okay. You don’t know what to do with me and that’s fine. I don’t expect anything from you but goodbyes. You can’t love like I’ve experienced and that’s something you live with and I don’t know how it doesn’t eat you up inside. You may know happiness now but I wonder if you’ll ever feel joy. It’s hard for me to fathom for myself but I’ve been there recently and I’ve got this little index card with the signatures of my California family to remind me.
And I have no way to thank them.
So, the piece of my mind I give to you is the piece of my mind that’s been agonizing over for more than a year. It’s the piece that wondered if I would ever feel wanted or cared for again because you decided I was not what you wanted. That’s fine. I understand that. I’ve realized you would not have been able to give me what I needed in the end either, what I reach for and strive for; finding joy is like trying to catch a falling star. You burned so brightly in my eyes but now I realize, like the stars in the sky, your light is an illusion, a reflection of the bright burning body of a star already in the sky. I have found that light inside myself and it radiates, burning bright white and blinding like I time I can’t remember.
So, I give you this piece of my mind
to tell you
i have found my
peace of mind.