When It Hurts All Over


When you can no longer control your occasional sobbing tears that seemingly come out of nowhere, how do you proceed? What’s the next step? I’m a “steps” woman. I’m a woman who continues forward despite pain, despite warning signs, despite every single should-have-known and told-you-so. But when you’ve broken your own heart with your recklessness and big ugly need, when you’ve shattered your own reality and there no longer exists an entity, an other, to defy and rage and rebel and burn brightly against, what do you do? I spend a lot of time studying my tired face in the mirror, evaluating my body, all curves and bruised flesh. The parts men have loved and diminished on the very same breath; revered with adulation and degraded with words like “whore”, “unclean”, “waste”. Then there are the parts I mostly keep for myself, like the smattering of freckles on my right shoulder from a sunburn I got when I was ten years old, when no one had touched me like a toy yet; like an object to sit down and pick back up on a whim. An object who’s shaky and hesitant “no”, who’s pushing hands and tears, meant little and went unacknowledged. But then moments later, locking eyes with myself in the glass, I let out a breath I’m not aware I’m holding. And I fleetingly glimpse the true me, the me hiding behind this body and these memories and the destructive impulses I’ve relied on to run from the pain, to deny it, to bury it alive, screaming and writhing and insistent on being felt. And as I see this true-self, this hopeful child still within me waiting for kindness and guidance, I feel peace wash over me like cool spring water. I am the savior I’ve been waiting for.

You, strong intelligent beautiful woman, are the savior you’ve been waiting for too.

All my love.

AJR

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