But I was so much younger then-

Once upon a time I wanted to breathe my boyfriend's breath, lie in a sweaty heap of happy, sated desire, neither eating nor sleeping. I wanted to walk into a room and create a minor tremor, the men wanting, the women loathing, havoc and ripples of tension and then leave and be talked about. Also, I wanted my hip bones to jut, my hair to ripple, my eyes to blind and my every movement to remind anyone not lucky enough to be having sex with me to feel bad.

 I'm not claiming this happened, I'm just saying it was what I wanted to happen. It was exhausting and lonely and ultimately sad to be that girl. She had an abortion alone, she was raped, lied to, beaten and disappointed. She drank too much and took drugs and thought about killing herself from shame and sadness and she was frequently hungry. She wanted to be a writer but she had too little substance, too great a need to feel loved, adored, worshipped but when that happened she felt suffocated and wrote things about woolen blankets and not being able to breathe.  She tried to make other people happy and when they seemed okay she tried to disappear. She wandered the streets of New York sometimes looking into other people's lives, the framing of contentment and feared she would never manage to find the secret garden.

I sat in a therapist office on the upper east side and I told my therapist stories, a little girl who was lost all the time, a child who was constantly alone, a young woman who had become threatening to men and thus was punished. This therapist refused to allow the girl to slip further down and patiently she kept telling her that life was different from the web of lies she had learned in fairy tales about beautiful princesses losing their tongues because they knew too much or mermaids who walked on knives for handsome princes or beauties who slept in castles surrounded by thorns because the world was a terrible place.

The world was as it had always been, wonderful, terrible, flawed, mysterious and she would have to learn to see all of it, allow the losses and the suffering because her life could not sustain further pain, so much pain had this Phoenix survived only to rise from the ashes again and again. Her son, the blue eyed boy murmured into her neck, " momma, momma, how I love you." And then she understood almost everything as perfect. Age comes when it must and allows us to forgive our shadow selves. Happiness is easy.


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