Early Morning Heartbreak

Love.

That is what I’m thinking as he holds her close and rubs her back with an intimacy inappropriate for the 8:50am subway. Other commuters look away in discomfort but I want to stare at them, sore thumbs sticking out in this sea of professionals, uncaring and enveloped in each other. I want to know what they mean to each other, and what kind of journey they might be on. I want to hear their stories.

She moves to exit the train and I try not to stare. Why aren’t they getting off together? I try not to stare but I have to get a look at her face.

They both have that look. That ragged, malnourished, run down look. I am already making up stories in my head about how they are in recovery together. Maybe they are coming from an early meeting, maybe it was particularly emotional, an explanation for their displays of comfort and intimacy. I feel uplifted to think that they are recovering, my heart full at the thought that they have each other fight this battle with.

Until I look back at him.

He is slumped against the subway door, his eyes barely opened. Without her body to support him he is slowly sliding, moving as if he is sitting down in a chair very very slowly. I watch with trepidation, wondering if he is moments from crumpling to the floor. There are plenty of available seats and I want to suggest that he sit down, but instead I just watch him, unsure of what to do, monitoring the situation for signs that I should intervene. When he finally gains enough control to sit down, I feel immense relief, as if that has made everything okay. As if now he is healthy and I am no longer witnessing a devastating display of human suffering. We reach my stop, the doors slide open, and I walk off of the train and into my office, back into my uninterrupted middle-class professional world.

Throughout the day I see them in flashes — a tattooed arm rubbing her back, a messy high bun as she exits the train, his body slumped, succumbing to something stronger than him, crumpling against the subway door.

I can’t stop myself from wondering if you are on a subway somewhere, fighting sleep as your body crumples and jerks back and forth with the movement of the train. I hope there is a woman who wants to stand beside you and hold you up. I hope you are rubbing her back.

Illusion

Once I told my mom that if we moved to a nicer house (it was a few blocks away, and for sale), that I would do better, be happier, that everything would be okay. She told me that we couldn’t afford it, and I learned that I was too poor to be happy.

We weren’t poor, but that’s not the point. Why didn’t she tell me that prettier surroundings don’t make you a different person, that wherever you go there you are? I still think about that house sometimes. I don’t know why. I still lose myself in thoughts of who I could have been.

When I think of the future, I am still trying to grasp the things I wanted then, the things I bought would make me good enough. The nice clothes, makeup, house, job, friends, hobbies. I’m still hoping that enough applications of Creme de la Mer will dissolve my skin and transform me so that I don’t have to be myself anymore, so that I can finally be someone better.

Toxic

She once said to me— “some people are broken, they can never be fixed, and should just be put down.”  I bristled, but my cynical side betrayed me by agreeing. I know plenty of people who are unwilling to heal. 

It went unsaid that she is the best example of this. Her trauma has turned acidic in her veins. Her anger, her deep pain, informs her every breathe. She builds relationships based on manipulation, bitterness, hatred, a desperate need for control; she is truly toxic. 

I wonder if she knows this about herself and that is why her opinion of these ‘broken’ people is so strong. Or perhaps that knowledge is tucked away in that deep, buried place where she hides the darkest part of her history. Not really aware at all, but enough a part of her that it fuels a desperate need to articulate these descriptions in a futile attempt to convince the world, herself, that she is separate. She is not one of them. 

An Introduction

My entire life I have poured myself into building a happy life based on what outside voices told me this should look like, all the while ignoring the whispers of my own soul. I have always had someone to impress and something to prove. Earlier this year, I realized that I had only ever sought performative happiness without stopping to consider what actually brought me real joy. Now, I am committed to doing the real work within myself to build a life of authentic joy. I want joy that lights me up every day, that starts in my soul and moves with limitless growth.

For the past few months, I have been slowly remembering piece of myself that I left behind or denied in my commitment to the performance. Perhaps most importantly, I have remembered that I love to write. So I will write, as I continue to come up against internal blocks, as I continue to sit in the discomfort until I work through it instead of abandoning ship for the path of least resistance, as I continue to break down and rebuild myself again and again and again.

This blog is about authenticity and genuine healing. It is about letting myself be seen throughout this process. It is a work in progress that will continue to be developed and redeveloped as I go. I hope that in some small way my quest for real joy will help you to follow your own bliss.