I like perching at my desk, sitting on my soft, rust-colored chair, looking at the bamboo I bought two—no—three years ago.
It’s grown so much. And so have I.
I bought it back then—way back then...I flip through time as though it were a catalogue and arrive at the memory, I freeze it in the frame of my palms and zoom in.
I was living in New York City. It was a particularly frantic, enthusasitc, beautiful, aching, scary time in my life.
I remember how the seasons never really seemed to change in that crazy city, they were all characetized by a pale, smoggy-yet-electric malaise that seemed to collect on my skin. Moist and toxic, turbulent, much like my troubled insides, back then.
I remember walking into the dollarstore near my block, with row after row of old, brick buildings—and buying three stalks of bamboo. They were curly, and rather short, but the green was so green and the stalks were unquestionably supple.
I bought rocks (which are now covered in mold) and a cheap vase that’s shaped like a square.
I placed the bamboo inside it. And it has accompanied me ever since—on many moves. Through up’s, downs, traumas, crises, break-ups, breakdowns, loves that changed me, poems I wrote, successes, and the way hope freshens each Spring.
And I love the way it feels to look at it now, after everything.
So much can happen in a moment, in a month, in a year, in three years.
Honestly, I feel like a different person. My past self whispers to me—and I hold her hand, hopefully. For it’s not that she is bad or wrong—she is just not fully formed yet.
She was fierce. She was independent. She was exhausted. She was volatile. She was impulsive. She was a warrior. She was living in survival mode. She was in so much pain, and didn't understand it yet.
And that's okay.
Now, as time glazes back to the present, it swirls like the marbling of acrylic paint colors—and I am here.
I am still a warrior, but of a much different kind. I am not fighting for my life anymore, as I was back then.
Now, I am living. I am actually alive. I feel more oriented towards pleasure, towards the truth that each day can be enjoyed, that it need not be a battle.
So much has peeled away—I have been so peeled, oh, that’s for sure.
I am naked. There is nothing to hide behind. This is great, because I don’t want to hide anymore. I don’t to move so fast and be so loud all for the sake of proving myself.
There is nothing to prove.
This is who I am.
And it is not loud or booming in a conventional way, but it simmers with a soft power that dances delicately in my chest and then becomes water, my tears, these words—
These words that I wish to pour to the world.
And what I now know, threaded through each cell of my skin---that the melancholy, the desperation, the fear, the rage—it all gives way to this.
Only softness remains, after everything.
After the traumas, after the pain. After the storms that seemed never-ending.
I love that purity never dies. I love that we are never ruined, no matter what we have faced. I love the valiant, stubborn brilliance of our spirits.
And that feels like accomplishment of a lifetime---to not harden into permanent plated armor after tasting my own version of hell.
I now know, the power---the beauty in how much I feel. How much I care. How much I value loving other people, creating, being raw, and connecting to the Divine.
It's subtle like a perfume, but its implications are life-altering.
Because it's okay to change, I have realized. I have invited that into my being—it's okay to change, especially when that change means we feel more at home in the very skin we are held in.
And honestly, much of this change felt like being thrown around in a blender. But I like how it's all smoothing out now, seeming to come together in a way that feels whole, that makes sense in a deep, almost ancient way.
Maybe the best way to describe it are through these words that came to me soaking while in a bathtub filled with salt, tears, and lavender—
Everything falls away
I am naked
Only softness remains
And as I walk slowly
I touch the palm of God
For a moment
A mere moment--
And in that dancing
My soul dances
A celebration of a lifetime.
May we all come home, together. To the beats of our hearts. To the bloodied, beautiful chaos. To the truth, to the authenticity, to the understanding, to the loving, to the care, to the feeling.
Yes, to the feeling most of all.
Photo: Unsplash, Tiko Giorgadze