love school with sumi: it's time to let go (because i belong to love)
today i went to the hospital to visit my dad to keep him company while he ate lunch. he has been living there for a month now, post-brain surgery. he does daily physical therapy to remember how to walk, but is unable walk by himself yet. meanwhile, his memory is walking away from him.
yesterday i was at my parents' house with my mom when my dad called me. he was asking if we were going to bring his food to work or if the people from his job were going to bring him dinner. he kept calling the hospital "Newton," the company he worked for over twenty years ago. i searched for where he must be deep inside himself, laying on a hospital mattress, unable to use the bathroom alone, but considering himself at work. after fifteen minutes, with the help of my mom and an uncle, we assured him food was coming.
today when i saw him i asked him if he notices having trouble remembering certain things.
"mommy just saying that," he tells me disparagingly. his face looks like i just offered him trash to eat. i suppose with his dementia, patriarchy is the last reflex to go.
four months ago, when my dad asked if i was married (i'm not), i realized he - and who he was to me - had forever changed. that night i cried into the bed sheets until i fell asleep. it does something to the shape of time when one of the people you once relied on to exist in this world, leaves you. they become a new child and you become a little more nameless than you were before. with my dad, the grief is not only a goodbye to what we were, but a mourning for the places in my heart our relationship could never fill. and i realized, this last part is the reason i hold on so tightly to love. but perhaps it could be the medicine i need to release it, too.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go."
–Mary Oliver, "In Blackwater Woods"
will i ever know a love like this again? this is the question my break-up brain loves to whisper, accompanied by a visual soundtrack of intimacy and beautiful sex from the relationship. each break-up i’ve been through has proven that there is more knowing, satisfaction, and wonder to experience in love. but still. what if in this whole world, that was the love allotted to me? in this frame, letting go means turning your back on love, or the sliver of warmth on your face. it also means that the love you struggle to fit into is the only one where you belong (and that can't be right). but in some moments, i forget that: ‘if the relationship ended, it wasn't meant for me anymore’ and ‘endings create room for new openings.’
but approximately how many times do you have to read shit like that before it comes true? asking for my break-up brain.
a spell for believing in the love you can't see:
"now is the time to sink deep into your roots and let the earth nourish you. there is more love available than you currently understand. you belong to it, and it to you." -corina dross, satellite of love: queer horoscopes (for virgo) november 2017
first of all, praise these radical poet astrologers (i see you naimonu and chani) who are teaching us to honor our connection to the beyond. how do we cultivate the part of us that trusts there is more life (thanks drake), more love, more wonder than what we can see?
there is a trail near my new place where i've started walking my dog in the morning. the fall leaves are doing their thing around us and there's a creek that runs along the trail. this is where i like to practice my spell for letting the earth nourish you, taught to me by my somatic practitioner. they call it saying yes; saying yes to what you need to say yes to - be it yes to life, yes to connection - but a yes that sings through your system.
i root myself to the ground by imagining plant roots growing from the soles of my feet into the ground. my eyes relax so that i let seeing happen without straining. i place my right foot in front of my left. and then i spread my arms out to the side. like angels in america. my thumbs facing outward while my chest opens more. i imagine a friend whom i love is in the distance on the trail, walking towards me. in this space, immediate smiling and tenderness warm my face. here i don't have to say yes. i am yes. i let myself feel more life until i'm ready to close and continue walking.
the more i do this, the more i believe in what i can't see. the more i know what 'yes' feels like, the more i know what won't work for me. what in romantic love will compromise or betray this yes. what will collapse it. that the times i mourn letting a person go are not just the loss of what was, but the loss of this yes that i really wanted but never received. but there are second chances to say yes to the parts of me that were left unfed for too long. maybe we actually honor our grief by letting go. because letting go is knowing that there are more places on your face that need the warmth of the sun. because you entered this world by belonging to this love and nothing less.