I’ll save myself.

You let the sand slip through your fingers. It is warm and dry. It makes an unmistakable rasping sound as it pools at your feet. The sun is warm, the shade beneath the ironwood is cool. The birds are riotous in the midday heat. Something races through the chaparral, rattling the dry brush.

This is home. You are here.

The ache of grief and loss surges upward, into your lungs, into your heart, into your mouth. Dry drowning. There’s a black hole inside of you, and you’ve been flayed alive. No skin. No air. No hope. You’ve been fighting this for so long.

Just let go.

Slide.

No one will save you. You have to save yourself. You will let yourself die — the hope, the love, the expectations and beautiful potential — it must die for you to resurface. It’s weighing you down. This is acceptance. And it will save you. You will shed your skin, and you will become something else.

But first.

Slide.

You let the grief pull you under. So far down there is no light. And you take a deep breath, ignoring the fear. You close your eyes and see your life — not as you desperately want it to be, but as it is. This disappointment. This loss. This hurt. This immense pool of pain you’ve been avoiding. It’s all there. Universes inside you. Realities unrealized. Lives unlived. Love unreturned. And all of this grief, like a mouthful of ash.

You are no longer on the event horizon, where the illusion of possibility exists. You are in the singularity of grief now. Alone. Abandoned. Hemorrhaging. Your skin on fire, nerves screaming. You open your eyes, expecting darkness.

But there’s a sun in you. Some losses are so vast and complete, they seal off a part of yourself to protect it. To preserve who you are when everything is chaos. This is the core of you. The real you. It has been here all along. You have been here.

It’s time to remember who you are without the limitations imposed by others or yourself or circumstances. Without accepting the lies you tell yourself. That others tell you. That you believe for no other reason than you’ve heard them for far too long, from people who were supposed to care. Without the tension of trying to hold onto that which is uncontrollable. Already gone. Give up the illusion of control. Find a way to integrate the pain into your life. Live with who you are and what you’ve done. And what has been done to you.

All loss is death. All death is the cessation of potential. But you are not dead. You are still here. And you can live through this hurt, as enormous as it seems. This is not about lessons or learning to love yourself. This is raw, brute force acceptance of reality. This is real. You cannot change this. You are alone in grief. But you are enough.

You are enough. You are bigger than this ache, this pain, this emptiness. You are wild enough to absorb the uncertainty and fear. This moment is the beginning of everything. No more half-lives and shadows. No more Echo by the pool.

You are the still point of the turning world. You are the dance. You are undefinable, irreducible, indelible. You are real, maybe for the first time. The unreal made real. The clocks reset. You have absorbed that which you believed would destroy you.

It hasn’t. It won’t. You are becoming.

You will save yourself.

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