Waterfalls: Here’s To Not Chasing Them

January 10th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink


There is a girl. She evokes.

The usual bridges you cross to a heart—read her Charles Wright, show her the moon on a clear night—she’s not interested.

Here’s what you know.
You find her attractive. She is sharp. A generous smile. A big softie.
She isn’t afraid to show you attention. Her soul is her comfort is her skin.

Your heart pounds out of fear. In your hand you hold a tiny shred of romantic possibility. To keep it, to grow it, you must manage, stretch, thin, bulge. You could palm her the fisheye lens of you. You might be able to make. it. work. And to what end? You’ve threaded with dishonesty before. It dissolves in stitches, evidenced by scars. You would recover, of course. But with more of the same.

So you talk. You are frank. There is a little something else mixed in. She agrees. Here’s where, historically, you would drag that something out. To stretch it so it blankets all other thoughts and feelings. A thin membrane, ultimately too thin for the sharp points. Here’s where you would chase the winning and find a thousand little failures.

Together, individually, you decide to let it ride. What happens if you let it ride? You don’t know.

There is a relief in leaving it alone. Relief that you have not, once again, hooked yourself to the tenuous. Your heart batter slows,


for this is grace.


And then the seeing. Seeing where stumbling by the lamplight has led, a new bridge (not one still swinging from your last crossing), a friendship just begun. Here’s to radical nourishment, to true ambition, to the bare-naked intimacy of friendship. You could have sold yourself short, so so short. Let’s see what happens when you don’t.



The Big Reveal

November 29th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

Friday night, I was talking to most-recent-ex and what-feels-like the final veil lifted from my eyes.

The curtain pulls back– Oh! I know you! You’re Rick, from four years ago. The corduroy guitar drifter, with the footbells and twisted lips. You are the same person I’ve already dated in a different body, in a different life. But I am not the same person. I did not suffer for two years, taking whatever scraps were offered.

Most-recent-ex, you are more than Rick, just as he is more than you. But where the two of you overlap– that’s where I have, historically, drawn the curtain.

Here’s what I’m attempting to say, here’s what the curtain, short-tugged once more, finally revealed: there was so much healing in our brief relationship, and that healing, at least on my end, came from within me. You posed polyamory. You asked about my self-confidence. You asked me if I was enough. And my heart responded, with the generous aid of my friends, family and community. You were the question, I was the answer. And I continue to live the answer.

You were right, it does say a lot more about me than I originally credited myself. Still, I thank you. For carrying that question. I found my answer in me.  I hope you find your answers too.



Cut here.

November 7th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

The other party can be cut and pasted. There is a roughly person shaped space, like a clumsy toddler, I try to stuff you and you and you in it, and then dust over the rough edges, stone that barely kisses stone.

Now that I’m not trying to make you fit, I’d prefer to excise you completely. Pretend you are only a memory, one that can be pushed and pushed and pushed off the screen. The whole illusion shatters when you wave to me from a truck or I run into you at Grumpy’s or you pass by SCRATCHbread, friend in tow. The towers of sand, time, space, denial– an avalanche.

If I pathologize our years months moments together, I can cure it. I can cauterize the wound. You were wrong, I was wrong, we were wrong. It wasn’t going to work.

Because if I admit that this is exactly how I needed it to play out, if I admit that this pain is the reward… There is no “next time,” no future someone I’m getting better for– I’m working my way up towards– perhaps that person is me. Perhaps my edges are softening so I fit more comfortably into this existence, into myself– not so I fit better with you, future you, past you.

I’m uncomfortable with how much I wish you all are hurting without me. I am hurting without me. I am hurting because I am constantly trying to run away from my own feet. If you hurt without me, I must be worth hurting for.

I think about the love I have for my friends, for strangers. How beautifully their lives unfold, how heartbreaking heartwarming how touching how special. I assume I must be the only one who sees the progress of others– and that idea causes me to search and search and search for the person who watches me.

Does this mean anything at all if it is not read? Not watch, noticed, heard? Maybe I don’t get to know. Maybe I am seen, but I can’t know by who. I’m tired of waiting for someone to try on those eyes.

I will be the seer, I will be the seen.


The Next Thing

November 4th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

It’s hard to believe I’m back here again, accompanying my mind as it falls faster, faster.

In Brooklyn, after Audrey and I broke up, and I started Al Anon, I was a walking bruise. Every moment hurt, like someone was flicking the wound with their fingernail. There was a world of ideas to let go of— future plans, compulsive behaviors, disappointment, anger, self-hatred, fear— and each one shattered me.

Mourning is a dramatically slow movement through time. Even the word itself is slow to roll off the tongue. It’s not as crisp as grief, although just as heavy. I am mourning. Mourning.

It shocks me how much time I spend with myself. Do other people spend this much time with themselves? How do they possibly tolerate it? It’s the same conversation every single day, the excruciating monotony of emotion and thought. The only time I feel truly out of body is when I am creating. And then the rest of the time, at least as of late, I am mourning.

And for how many years? I mourned so much last year. It feels like I cannot possibly mourn anymore and here I am again, mourning New York City and all of the people I left there, plus a brief relationship I started and ended here in Nashville. Mourning is monotonous. I will feel sadness today. I will feel like I am losing too much weight too fast. I have little desire to eat anything but Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but I can’t tolerate more than two without a self-induced migraine.

And here the anger flares up:

You can go fuck yourself. But behind that thought lies its truth-telling twin: Allie, how could you let this happen again? I didn’t want this and I wanted this so badly. I knew I would break my own heart. And I want to blame them for it. It’s not their fault. We both were trudging through life and for a brief moment, being in a relationship with them made me lighter.

And here, the disappointment: Allie, how could you?

Returning to grief is terrible. The heaviness is heavier. The effort is greater. I feel like I’m running a three legged race, in high tide, with my own mind. The worst (perhaps best) part is: this will not kill me, not even close. I know enough to know that there is no doorway I will step through and be out of the woods. The trees thin out before a clearing, the wave breaks on shore, before receding. I want to punish, I want to yell, I want to close up shop. I’m in the fucking thick of it.

With time, I will be able to look back and see why this had to happen for the next thing to happen. I am struggling to believe that I could possibly want The Next Thing if it is not a thousand people clamoring at my door telling me how irresistible and mysterious and perfect I am, tracing my breasts with their fingers, holding my head in their hand, sweetly remarking on my every move. But one drink is too many, a thousand isn’t enough. A thousand is not enough.

Here’s what I would tell a friend: Sit through it. Wait. Keep moving. Take plenty of water breaks. Cry it out. Stay open, so open that it hurts. It is bold to live with an open heart. It is even bolder to stay open when you want to retreat. You don’t have an audience as you struggle to concentrate at work or pick up the phone or know what the hell to do when you get home. There’s no one watching as you make a particularly delicious sandwich or cuddle your sweet pup. There is no one to remark how clever, how cute, how smart, how sincere. Nobody but you. Let yourself admire it. Let yourself be the one to love you. It’s exhausting to spend every waking moment with someone who’s not that into you or who critiques your every step.

Mourning is indicative of loss. Love is measured in loss. A great loss means a great love. Meaning you are capable of great, incredible love. You know one, you know the other. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. Either way, your heart is a resurgent country.

So here’s what I would tell myself.

It’s a Repotting

August 8th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m accustomed to saying I am a rootless creature. I believe myself to live in a heritageless purgatory. In truth, I took root in the moment of my birth in a body, time, circumstance, lineage, and from there, seeds of experience corkscrewed into life.

Perceived accurately or not, my experience growing up was one of communitylessness. My nuclear family unit was in a civil war, the grandparents dead, the neighbors unknown, the skin color bland, the sexual orientation repressed, the city indifferent. I had no personal reference of community but I craved it all the same.

As I prepare for my move to Tennessee, I am suddenly aware of the life I live today as defined by community: I serve, work, and spend time in the same area I live in. Yesterday, I ran into the same friend on three separate occasions. My closest friends are blocks away. I recognize people and they recognize me. And even with the small worldness of my environment, life feels like it’s teeming with abundance.

It’s hard to believe that I found my roots simply by taking root.

I found incredible comfort and wonder at my volunteer gig at Nextdoorganics. I beheld each round-oblong-crispy-strange-bitter-leafy-bright-sweet something and felt a sense of closeness—to the food source, to the people around me, to the mouths that would receive it, to myself. There are a handful of decisions I’ve made that tumbled offhandedly into a crescendo of fortune. One is getting sober. Another is volunteering at a CSA. (Hopefully, the third is moving out of New York.)

I know three things for certain: food, people, and stories. And I presume to know only the first thing about them. I sequestered each in school, or my kitchen, or a novel. Only in the past three years  have I begun to experience the relationship among food, people, and stories. Working at SCRATCHbread played a huge part, naturally. There is a lot you can learn about someone, even in the briefest interaction, and food, being a deeply personal and intimate experience, opens the window wider. Similarly, packing a weekly CSA share invites your imagination into someone’s home, into their values and practices.

I’m really fucking scared to move out of New York City. It’s home. I’m leaving home. And I don’t have anything better yet. Nashville hasn’t promised me anything and New York could care less if I go. But I’m going? I’m going.

I finally feel like I found my community. And that’s how I know it’s time to go. My roots are deep enough to withstand some shaking up. It’s a repotting. Yes, a repotting. Into a bigger pot? Into a bigger pot. Or else it would get too cramped.

June 18th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

As I pick up the skirts of my life, I shake off all that’s collected there: desks and unpaired earrings and jobs and street names and birthday cards. But not the people I almost know. Turns out, they are the ties that almost bind me. They are the ones who are hardest to lose. I moved aside one heart for another and found a different love beneath it.