By Amy Ferris.
I’m just letting you know straight up that this is not about my family.
It’s not. Been there, wrote that.
Besides, I don’t want to write about all that crap, that ugliness, all that god- awful sadness that went down. I mean, why write about that when I can write about, oh, I don’t know, falling into a hole, a depression, not being able to write, for I don’t know, months and months and months now?
I could write about going into therapy, and how I went on Zoloft, and yes, felt better, much better, but still couldn’t write. But that’s boring and tedious.
I’m absolutely not going to write about the crap that went down with my family, that cracked me – broke me – wide open, so cracked, wide open that on some days I couldn’t breathe. Because if I write about that, that would be like picking at a big ugly scab, and once you pick at it, it starts to bleed, and even the blood feels old, and looks old. So, no, I don’t want to write about that, because really, who likes picking open an old scab… unless of course you’re ready, absolutely ready, one hundred percent ready to heal that wound. And when I say heal that wound, I don’t mean between you and that person, I mean that wound that you no longer need to hide, or disguise, or make excuses for.
Yeah, that wound.
And the last person – the very last person – I want to write about is someone I haven’t spoken to in maybe, four, five years now. I mean, why would I want to write about him after all these years of not speaking, of being estranged? Just because he had a heart attack last year, a massive-heart-attack – a life, and yes, death, heart attack? Do I really want to write about how after all these years of not speaking I reached out to his family because, well, I couldn’t imagine him dying? I just couldn’t imagine that. I couldn’t imagine him dying, and not reaching out, because I don’t have that kind of heart. And no, god no, I am not some perfect human who wears a cape, and a tiara, although god knows I often wish I were. I had to reach out – I had to – because I didn’t want him to die. I didn’t want him to, you know, physically die, because truth-be-told, when my mom – our mom – died, she took us right with her. The entire family was cremated along with her. Ashes and bones, that’s all that remained of our family. So, I texted his family, and for a brief few moments; a few days, a few weeks, we communicated through texting – after not communicating at all for what, four, five years. What I could write about – like an entire manifesto – is what I learned in the four, five years of not communicating. I could write an entire book about how many folks are estranged, how many families no longer speak, how many sisters and brothers, and brothers and brothers, and sisters and sisters no longer talk, how many parents disown their children, how many siblings would act like they didn’t know each other if they passed each other on a street. Holy shit, what you learn while time is yes, flying – passing you – by. I could write about how he survived the heart attack. I could write that I was happy he survived, not jumping up and down happy, but you know, relieved happy, because it looked as if he wouldn’t for a few moments there, because it seemed “touch and go” from a few of the back and forth texts – touch & go, one read. But I definitely, most definitely, don’t want to write about how after he got out of the hospital, and then went into rehab, and then Thanksgiving came and went, he sent me a text on my cell-phone, a long text, a long, brutal text, and it was filled with mean. Holy mother of god, so much mean. I don’t want to write about the ugly, mean crap he wrote in a text that I received on my cell, a few texts down from the touch & go, he’s doing much better, he’s out of danger, keeping you in the loop text messages that were sent to me. I’m not even sure I want to write about, or share, how Ken told me to delete the text message because, he said, it was pure fucking mean. Pure-fucking-mean. I mean, how do you do that? How do you survive a massive heart attack, a life and death heart attack, and then send a mean-spirited text?
I deleted the text from my cell-phone. But I can’t write about how I deleted it from my cell phone but not from my heart, because that would be a lie.
I refuse to write about that.
I refuse to write about how I read the text a few times, silently, and then out-loud to Ken, and I swear, pinky swear, I got stuck on a few of the words while I was reading it out-loud to him. Stuck as in choking. I don’t want to write about, or even share how yes, I deleted the text from my cell – deleted and trashed it – but that it stayed lodged in my heart for months and months and months. Months. I don’t want to write about how every so often when I feel small and insignificant and invisible, and I can hear the ‘I am not enough, not good enough,’ voice rearing its motherfucker head – because we all somehow need to be reminded every so often that we are not worthy, because we have been fed that crap for so long we actually believe it – that text, that deleted ugly mean text, somehow gets re-booted.
So, no, I don’t want to write about someone who when given a new heart made the choice to break mine.
Why would I want to write about that, when really what I want to write about is how we all need to forgive ourselves for breaking and betraying our own hearts. Because the thing is – the thing is – you can delete all the posts and blogs and comments and text messages, you can delete them and trash them, and believe that they’re gone, but until you’re absolutely ready, like full-on, balls-out ready to take that wound out of the darkness and let it breathe, give it some air, and stop covering it up with make-up and band-aids, and bandages, and fake tattoos and long sleeves – you have to be willing to really, truly, deeply expose it – like full-on expose it, share it, show it, flaunt it, strut it – so that both it and you can heal.
Jennifer Pastiloff, Beauty Hunter, is the founder of The Manifest-Station. Check out jenniferpastiloff.com for all retreat listings and workshops to attend one in a city near you. Next up: South Dakota, NYC, Dallas, Kripalu Center For Yoga & Health, Tuscany.
She is also leading a Writing + The Body Retreat with Lidia Yuknavitch Jan 30-Feb 1 in Ojai (2 spots left.) She tweets/instagrams at @jenpastiloff.