Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes. – Antonio Machado from Last Night as I was Sleeping
After echoing these lines back and forth one of the women wrote, Love: an ancient concept. Love don’t love nobody. From our differing vantage points, we wrote on love from its sharpest angles. We each sat on the keen lip of prism side looking in, waiting for whatever light would shine through. Machado made us believe that kind of fire was possible and with every written breath we questioned it, reveled in it.
In the writings below you will find the grind of love, the painful bind of love, the hope for freedom that breeds self-love, the challenge love offers, and the gauntlet these women are willing to take up. And further, in the negative space between the words, you’ll see what was created: witnessing as an act of love. In the split between love and fear, here, fear feels derivative, a feeling only felt when love is threatened or taken away. In the end, it is all love. It is just like she said: Love loves everybody.
So what if he eats his ice cream upside down or his mushy oatmeal by turning over his spoon just before it gets in his mouth? Why does this irk me? And if he doesn’t like the same music as me, is he somehow defective?
These may seem like small things, but when repeated they feel like pushing fur backwards on a cat with tacky glue on my hands. Something in my nervous system has taken notes for year and tells me he’s weird. I judge him. Then I pull away. My soft heart becomes cooked, hard-boiled. And I don’t give the extra hug or speak with open eyes.
Where are the white combs filled with sweet honey in this awareness? Will it come when I stop my critical mind? Will I continue to see little things that are human and (embrace or accept) our differences down to the memory cells in my spine and deepest place in my brain?
When you Left
A beehive formed inside my heart the stings I feel, like a million bees— stabbing, penetrating, endlessly, without stop or start. But still, you do not see. The beehive is festering inside my chest. The bees never die, they never stop! Constant pain never giving me rest like a 24-hour, 7-day shop. This beehive you created, the bees—my own fault. I never thought I’d be traded; my whole world has come to a (screeching) halt. Why was I so easily cast aside? Like an animal tossed into a shelter ‘til that deathful day, I still stood by your side, I never thought I’d falter. Springs shoot out from my heart like springs from a bed, stabbing me day and night, into my heart. So many stabs and jabs, so many questions through my head they won’t stop, can’t stop, like a dam falling apart. I can’t kill this beehive, as much as I want to. Lord God knows I’ve tried. The bees were already there, I put them there—not you. But now with your festering beehive, they won’t stop until I’ve died.
A sculptor held his hand over his grandmother’s chest as her heart clapped its last five beats and he said that death’s border is crossed gently. A poet says that you only die once the last person to know you speaks your name for the last time. So as long as these children live and we live together, as along as our cities breathe our histories, gobble up our steps and time slips, each ruffle at the hem of our dresses, we are never once separate. I pick them up and carry, carry never daring to set them down. The weight is a strain nearly painful but builds strength. I breathe and hold, write and hold. And I am afraid, yes, sometimes that this will break me, take me in small bites but I can’t control, just hold. The city passes through in effortless steps.
Just do whatever makes you comfortable in your own skin. Just trust in yourself and what your own gut instinct is tell you to do. The main point of this whole thing is to accept yourself just as you are and to not be anything more than your true self. Do not succumb to the conclusion that you must change yourself as a person just to be liked. You know, like the sweet taste of honey, that I am sure we all love but once the sweetness goes away, we have to gather ourselves back together to the person we are inside of our hearts…
So whatever happens in life just be you. Each one of us is entitled to his or her feelings but no one deserves to be attacked, abused, or ridiculed for who they are or what they have done to others. We all deserve to be in that happy moment in life where everything is good just like that moment of the sweet taste of honey.