Backtracking in Big Sur

In April of 2017, the situation had become untenable. I don’t know what I meant by the “situation”, exactly, but I think it was more akin to life and where it was eluding me. And the truth is, I’d been overdue for ocean therapy for some time. “You’re a Persing,” my father said once, “That’s what we do. We go, and it helps.”

That, and I have a little more Don Draper in me than you might think. By which I mean that Big Sur has a strong tie to my soul, and that sometimes I like to be a stranger. To wander the road and be unknown for a while. To feel the freedom of that, even alongside the terror. Because isn’t that a rough description of what it is to fly unencumbered? One moment, “Anything could happen!” The next, “Oh God. Anything could happen.” Much of life, much of singleness in particular, lies in the in-between. The tension of “both-and”, as my therapist is fond of saying.

But maybe I also needed to see a stranger crying, walk across a circle and hug them, acknowledging there was something shared in our brokenness, in our heavy souls, in shoulders that shake as we try to speak out the unspeakable.

It’s always felt male to me, that wandering. Something more acceptable to the man on the run. Maybe that’s why I crave it. Less the running, more the freedom, more the strength, that in going I am autonomous, the captain of my soul. Maybe there’s something female in feeling tied-down, boxed-in…yet even as I write this, I know it to be untrue. How many men must feel this too, if they told the truth? Isn’t that what we learned from The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, some sixty years ago?

So maybe I’m instead touching on something human. Something in being created. That we ache for more. As I read recently in a book made of equal parts mediocrity and staggering truth, “The only thing unlimited in humanity is our capacity to desire.”

I was made to want. And I never seem to stop. That’s it, isn’t it? That by never stopping, never retreating, I feel I can either chase my wants down or run as far as I can away from them. Enough noise, and maybe I can stop hearing them.

But something about the ocean brings me back. Something about the still of a forest, and the God who made all of it, myself included. A peaceful forcing from running away.

All that to say…I went.

But this Big Sur was different. I knew it would be, solely because I was.

There was much around Easter this year that left me far from wanting to celebrate. It’s too much to go into now, or maybe it isn’t, but the more I’m writing about this, the more I’m realizing that there are going to be two versions of this account—one for the internet, and one to be unearthed at a later time, when more dust has settled. Even if that means my dust. So I will try to be as vulnerable as I can for now. Forgive my mess.

There’s a thing that happens in the drive to Big Sur, where I’m driving up these endless inland windy roads, and I’m seeing all this green forest, and first it’s idyllic and calm. But then it’s difficult driving, and it never seems to end, and all the trees feel the same.

And I start to regret the whole trip. “Why did I do this? I have wasted five hours of my life. How can anything possibly be worth this much driving? A tree is a tree, a mountain is a mountain, a river is a river—”

Then, suddenly, with one more turn, I rise up high enough, and I see it. My breath catches in my chest.

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And it’s all I can do to not drive off a cliff, it’s so stunning—that coastline, from atop my windy mountain. I see the blue, so beautiful that it hurts a little to look, because it reminds me of how much I throw away, how much time I spend messing about in the mud, grousing and worrying, when this exists.

And any power, any gift I have for expression leaves me. I’m shaken by something larger than me. And any questions I have, doubts about why I drove five hours up the coast melt away. And I realize how deeply I need to fiercely seek out these moments. That’s why I came.

And yet. And yet, and yet…

Even in a trip expressly set aside for this clarity, still I found myself falling back into a pattern of worry, of stress over lost time, of worrying about backtracking.

Part of the imagined ease of my pilgrimage was cut short by some of the closures on Highway 1 due to the landslides. Last time I was up there I faced a similar issue, but because of the fires. So yes, it seemed at times, at my most depressive and self-absorbed, that the very elements were against me. And at my healthier moments—that yes, the world was beyond my control. Not everything is always mine for the taking.

So I was forced to retreat within limits. Limits which forced me into a long and winding inland road, way out of Internet range. I wanted to roam free, but freedom was different than I thought. So in an attempt to go where I usually go up the coast, I ended up backtracking one hour inland to discover when I reconnected with reception that Google maps “Couldn’t find a way there.”

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So back I went to the farm, my tent-cabin in the woods. I was uncertain, and scared, and feeling an inordinate pressure to find this epiphany that would justify my decision to step away from a traditional Easter service this weekend. Because if God didn’t answer all my worries, I would have failed.

Of course I knew on a wiser level that this wasn’t true. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t plague me.

But there’s something to be said for backtracking. I couldn’t let loose of the physical example of fighting for perspective. Jaz. Do not be angry about having to drive down the same road twice. It is a damned beautiful road.

And finally it occurs to me that this is what so much of my life is right now. Forward, back, forward, back–but the progress is less about distance covered, and so much more about what I’m seeing all the way. Which is so cheesy that it kills me a little, but whatever. Sometimes life is that much an obvious smack in the face. I’m just going to keep driving.

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Two Pies and a Johnny Cash Necklace: Meditations on “I Told You So”

There’s a story that I think everyone seems to know by now, but I’ll refresh your memory: there’s this flood. And a guy’s sitting on his roof, as the water’s rising, and he’s praying.

Someone comes by in a boat, asks if he needs help. “No,” he says. “God will save me.” The water rises. Another boat comes by, asks if he needs help. “No,” he says again. “God will save me.”

But the water keeps rising. And now it’s actually lapping up onto the roof. And soon a helicopter hovers overhead–and they’re begging him to take the ladder, climb up in. But again, with flood-soaked shoes, he says, unwavering, “No. God will save me.”

So the flood continues. He drowns.

When he gets to the gates of heaven, he asks, “God, I believed in you. I prayed to you. Why didn’t you save me?”

And God says, “What are you talking about? I sent you two boats and a helicopter.”

We shake our heads at this guy. But who among us hasn’t ignored the signs, the practical truth pointing us one way or another, because we’ve insisted on waiting for a flashing neon sign?

 

I think I’ve been this man lately. My socks are wet, the water’s rising…but I’m not drowning yet. And it’s not that I don’t see the ladders and oars extended. But still I’m standing on the roof.

Yes, this man is a bit of a fool. But it’s easy to stand on the other side of the glass and point when your house isn’t underwater and you’re still looking up to heaven, water in your eyes, still hoping, still asking. And yes, I know—turkeys drown doing the exact same thing.

But I’m not a turkey, so I guess I’m here to defend the process with all the other sentient beings capable of thought and change.

 

I am currently in the process of a breakup that no one in my life will be surprised by. I can count on half of one hand the people who were ever even on board with the idea of this person in general.

And I didn’t have boats and helicopters, but I had two pies and a Johnny Cash necklace.

On the first pie:

The man I have to break up with is notoriously hard to pin down, and most of our relationship—which may be a strong word, but I’m using it all the same—has involved last-ditch, last-minute, play-it-by-ear scrambling.

On the eve of his birthday, which I was almost certain he would do nothing to celebrate, there was a tentative plan for us to try and see each other. And because I bake reflexively as a way to endear myself to most of the human race, and because I hate the idea of people letting their birthdays slip by unnoticed, and because here was a rare opportunity in which I could express the complex affection and appreciation I have for him in reasonable material form beyond the terrifying space of Telling You How I Feel….there was a just-in-case small pie with his name on it in the front seat of my car, along with an unwritten birthday card.

But in all the last minute scrambling, I had to bake it in my family’s toaster oven. Then, when the evening unsurprisingly ended in a request for a raincheck, I took the small pie home and decided, name on it or not, that I would eat the pie and remove the evidence until further notice. But when I tried to release the mini-pie from the metal pan, I noticed it wouldn’t twist out of the pan. Odd.

So I twist off the top crust with his name on it…only to find that the inside was raw. Completely unbaked.

The pie I made for this man was undercooked on the inside…but no. I was having none of that symbolism. So the signs decided to get a little louder.

 

The next time I went to his house, I didn’t have time to rebake or write the card, but I was wearing my favorite Johnny Cash necklace, and sure enough…I lost it. He looked everywhere, I looked everywhere, but it was gone.

What did the necklace say, you ask?

“I keep a close watch on this heart of mine.” Stamped into metal, with a gun charm floating next to it.

I repeat, lest we all miss this…I lost a necklace that says I keep a close watch on this heart of mine in this man’s house. This man who I have cried over, lost sleep over, and had to drink tea with ginger in it in to make the rock in my stomach go away over. I do not heed the advice of my necklaces well.

But still…a third sign loomed.

 

So the second pie. Because I would not rest until this man got his birthday pie, my signature move.

I rebaked, this time with a backup pie, should some underbaking rear its ugly head again, threatening my reputation as a pie genius. And this time I would give myself twelve hours to do this, with two pies locked and loaded.

One perfectly baked strawberry balsamic pie with his name on it, one perfectly baked strawberry balsamic pie with a star cut out of it. I baked them, packaged them in neat brown kraft paper boxes.

And then, as I was too ambitious in carrying a large pile of things on my way out the door…the pies went flying across the room. One survived, one died on impact, dripping down the wall of my living room.

Can you guess which one? Bullseye.

I stared at his obliterated name in crust, coloring my carpet strawberry balsamic. Then I matter-of-factly scraped the remains into a dust pan and spoke these definitive words aloud, “No. I refuse this metaphor.”

 

This wouldn’t be the first time that objects and gifts have held an oddly weighty symbolic significance in my life, to the point of being omens. Remind me to tell you a story about the mermaid painting that hangs in my bathroom, when the dust settles…

That aside—I can’t live my life being swayed so heavily by the breeze of what might seem to mean this or that. Things, I think, only carry a weight you give them, and more often than not in hindsight.

 

But it wasn’t just inanimate baked goods and jewelry that were trying to warn me that something was amiss.

Some were people literally telling me as much—some in ways that I wanted to hear, some in ways I didn’t. But I will never say that the truth as they saw it wasn’t presented to me out of a place of love and concern, in a variety of ways, which I appreciate.

And it’s not that I don’t sympathize with the dilemma of seeing a friend or loved one suffer and weighing how much truth to give in relation to how much shoulder space to lend….because I’ve been there. I know the torture of watching your best girl waste her time with someone you don’t think is good news. I’ve been the friend tearing their hair out because they can’t understand why you would keep walking back into the arms of a man who made you cry, made you feel crazy. And I’ve cursed the heavens, wrung my hands, exclaiming, “What else can I say? How are they not listening to me? How do they not see what they’re doing?”

And now that I’ve been on the other side…I wish I could go back to Past Jaz and lovingly kneecap that high horse of hers and sit down with her in the dust and remind her that no, it isn’t our job to keep everyone from pain. We couldn’t do it even if it was. Our job is to hold our friends tightly, but with an open hand, to tell the truth, yes, but mostly just to be there and love them as best as we can.

To my friends who Past Jaz lectured into the ground on such topics…forgive me. Thank you for your patience. It’s just taking her a little longer to get here than she thought it would…and she still has a ways to go.

 

Sometimes I was even telling myself the truth I needed to hear, in a way. Like the time I sat with this man at the Fred 62 counter some while after midnight, listening as he told me the story of how his son was born, and how he tried to make it work with the mother, but his heart wasn’t in it, and eventually he had to draw a line in the sand.

To which I said, “See, yes, that’s why boundaries are so important. Because that’s what you have to do—you have to be brave enough to tell people what you need.”

And I heard myself, almost already shaking my head at myself then, as if to say, “Finish your coffee and 1 AM avocado toast, and enjoy it. But yeahhh…we’re gonna revisit that advice pretty soon, kid.”

 

That was three months ago. In the time since, I have baked a slew of new pies, one that reached him perfectly delicious and intact (the third pie, of course, because I’m a writer, and I believe in the rule of threes).

But while the birthday pie survived, my belief that this relationship could continue unchanged did not. Mere moments after we ate this pie together, I knew this all had to come to an end. I knew I had to go. Or I would surely drown.

 

It’s true that in the weeks since seeing the water rising, realizing I need to arrange a ride out of here, I have absolutely felt freer in the broad sense. I know this will save my life, and I’ll be happier and better for it, and in some ways I already am with the end in sight.

But I cannot lie to you—while there has been freedom in realizing this, there has been a deep sadness clouded over the last couple of weeks. As I’ve begun to wade through the last round of the hell that is trying to schedule time with this man, I have seen my heart break in ways I didn’t know it could.

 

But I’ve also been thinking a lot about I Told You So.

Though I don’t think anyone in my life has ever been callous or stupid enough to use these words exactly, it doesn’t change my fear of them. That as I stand there in my most vulnerable, soul-shaking grief of what the end of this will mean, someone will shrug or stare blankly at me, masking poorly that this is exactly what they knew would happen. And at my loneliest place, the weight of that seems like it could crush me.

Some of it is pride, yes. But some of it is the sadness of no one knowing what was good about this. No one will know how much this meant to me, except me, even at its worst. And I have to learn to let that one go.

Because this often-sad story ends with the moral that so many do—that I have to release the idol of who I am in your estimation of me. That’s the only real danger of I Told You So. That you find me to be a fool who should have seen it coming.

But what is I Told You So? What is the purpose of “See, I saw that before it came?” It’s like those people who make a point of saying they weren’t surprised someone died, “That makes sense, because you know he smoked a lot. He ate too much. He had cholesterol problems.”

Who cares? Why are we so quick to diagnose when we should just be saying, “I’m sorry. That sounds like it was really hard.” Is it a way to outrun our own mortality? Death will find us whether we see it coming or not, and pain is much the same.

Because I would argue that it doesn’t matter if you saw it. It doesn’t matter that you saw how this would end before me. I still had to get there.

…which I try to say from a place of real humility and ugly truth. Part of which involves the fact that as I’m writing this, my reheated fries in the toaster oven just nearly caught our office kitchen on fire.

And that now as I’m still writing this, I set another pot of homemade limoncello on fire while waiting to hear back from said lover. Which I only say to tell you that I’m not great at this. I’m not perfect. And I’m writing this deliberately in this messy middle space of still trying to end this well—because the process is the point.

None of this has been easy, and I don’t anticipate that changing. I have fought my way through this kicking and screaming and crying, but I’ve kept on walking. I’ve kept my legs under me, and I’ve done the work to see the chains on my ankles that were slowing me down.

I’ve written this and stopped and picked it back up again a dozen times over, only because that was as much as I was able to write about it. I have written only when I had the clarity to do so because that was the most I could give.

But I didn’t want to wait to write this until I had all my ducks in a row, years later, with a wan, knowing smile. I’m sure there will be a time for that kind of writing, but I wanted to write this from the moment of walking away before I wanted to, but knew I needed to.

And as much as some may have seen that earlier than others—I’m the only one walking inside this, and so if I can’t develop the eyes to see this for myself, then it doesn’t matter who saw it first—I could have stopped this earlier, yes. But if I didn’t know in my gut why I was setting myself free, I wouldn’t have recognized it as freedom. And I would have walked right back into the same chains. And now I know.

And I know also that it wasn’t me choosing to suffer mindlessly. It was me walking after what I wanted, and seeing that yes, some of it was beautiful–but that there was a bottom to it. This love I ran after was limited—it wasn’t that it wasn’t real. It was. But I have needed to see the truth of what it means to have dreams that are a little too small. And at least for me, I needed to hold these small dreams close to my heart for a while, acknowledge the ache within me for more—or I might never have believed that more was really more.

And there’s a moment where we can feel the temporary beauty of one broken, small-dreaming person comforting another, attempting to cure “the terrible disease of loneliness”. But if we stay there too long, we strangle each other, we forget what it is to breathe without a rock in the bottom of our stomachs, or we deaden ourselves entirely, forgoing oxygen for inhaled smoke, deadening, deadening. But it’s not just my freedom—I want him to have his, too. And that can’t happen without a goodbye, without a line drawn in the sand.

All this I have learned in the thick of it. All this I have heard from friends but had to see with my own eyes. The cautionary tales help to a point, but this was a road I needed to walk on my own, barefoot mostly, so I could feel the texture of the dirt between my toes, and to know each shard of debris that threatened to break skin. I’ve built up calluses to protect, but I will let them wear down again, working hard to keep walls down and live with eyes open, reborn, fresh, new again.

So if you’re a friend who tried to coax me off the roof and into your helicopter, to give me a warm dry blanket, to get me to put some shoes on for God’s sakes, I’m sorry for what I’ve put you through. I have heard you, I have known that your words came from a place of love. And I absorbed as many as I could, believe me.

And please don’t mistake my wandering for lack of gratitude. I have seen you with eyes of concern, with tears streaming telling your story, with kind silences too, with well-chosen words of wisdom, with offers of loving embrace. I have seen you sitting next to me, letting me go crazy checking my phone, eating all the leftover discard pies with whiskey on the side, watching movies and crying with me. I have seen you fighting for me. Some of it hurt, most of it helped. But for all of it I still am grateful.

I am a woman in process. I am learning what I need. Signs or not, this will all be okay, and I am grateful to be someone who merits your attention and concern.

And now, as I’m writing this, I’m a free woman.

At long last, I got the ending I wanted, the goodbye I hoped for—a beautiful, poetic close to a turbulent journey that was as bittersweet as the rest, but I can’t forget how fortunate I am to have had such an ending at all, one that preserved everything that was good about this.

Still it is painful in moments of quiet. Still I keep forcing myself to remember that this is right, that I will breath will full lungs again. I will stop drowning again. But sometimes it’s hard.

And yet…last week, two days after this book finally closed…my helicopter came kindly back to me.

Cleaning out my car at a gas station, though I’d sworn I’d turned my car upside down in months previous with no luck…there, glinting at me from just underneath the right carpet mat, was my Johnny Cash necklace.

So I’m taking this helicopter out of here. I’m keeping a close watch on this heart of mine, wet socks and all—but I’m not sorry for my time on the roof. Because now, for the moment…I am flying free.

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Love in the Time of Potus 45

I’m drinking champagne alone in the Broadway Bar on the night of the Women’s March on Washington. I just left the Orpheum, where the Literary Death Match poets and readers declared hopes for daughters and tribute to mothers—and you could feel as much in the audience as on the streets of Downtown LA tonight that we’re all still flying high, giddy with celebration even though we know there’s a long four years ahead. But we’re not ready to let hope fade yet—people are still carrying their signs, and they’re wearing their homemade pussy hats, and I still haven’t changed my clothes.

I missed the boat tonight, where the real party’s at, but this unscheduled quiet isn’t unwelcome, because there’s something else hanging in the air. Something that I haven’t been able to shake the last few days. Something that’s making the Saturday nightlife fade into a dull roar around me…I’m carrying a separate loss, a separate sadness with me, apart from the pain of our nation, our world.

Because while the country loses so much and worries they will lose more, I have lost you.

You plural.

As in two.

A friend. A lover. In cruelly quick succession.

You two, who on so many occasions commiserated with me about this end of the world, these near-dystopian times. I thought we would always be able to turn to each other, eyes wide, heads shaking, as the harrowing events scroll on, but now the radio has gone silent on both channels. And maybe it’s dead altogether. And now that I can’t get a message through the airwaves, all I want to ask is, even if it’s only here—

How’s your apocalypse going?

How do you cope with the orange toad who swallowed up our favorite family of Firsts? Do you watch the highlight reels, the goodbyes, the life of Joe Biden that I appreciated far too late? Do you cry like I do, like someone opened a faucet we’ll never been able to shut it off?

Did you watch the inauguration shrouded in darkness and storm, and find it all a bit on the nose? Or did you sleep in like I did, hoping as always that the world would have changed upon waking. But still I wake, and the world is so much that I lie there every morning, paralyzed by the prospect of overcoming, for almost an hour.

How’s your apocalypse going?

How did you begin to bear it when Carrie Fisher died? She was so much like us and not at all. I miss her gravelly voice in my car radio, from so many books, so much life, that was already helping me get over you and past you when I heard about the heart attack and gripped the wheel. And then we lost Debbie too. And still I wanted to grieve with you, you my plural lost ones.

What do you fear you’ll lose on the road ahead? Health, family, freedom of speech, the concept of truth, respect for yourself? Our very well-being? But how well are we being, to begin with? And are you…well? Without me?

How’s your apocalypse going?

Did it mean anything to you when Good Girls Revolt ended? Did it strike you as dark and cruel and strange? Did you feel my heart breaking from whatever far-off place you were standing?

Do you start to feel like nothing makes sense anymore? Does life feel like the same large fictional play to you that I’m starting to recognize, to loathe? Does it feel like a cruel joke to crush a spirit just starting to grow?

But my friend, you still make the old jokes that come from chains. And my lover, you’ve been tired a long time.

I always fall in love in major election years. For Obama’s 2008 victory, I was a shiny-eyed teen drunk on hope and change and “Yes We Can!”—so drunk I didn’t notice my boyfriend was gay. But we grew older and wiser and learned to see each other better.

Eight years later and I’m numbing myself. I’m resigning myself. And I constructed a crossroads before me:

A woman I hope I can trust, a history-making, bold choice to fly in the face of the establishment—unless she’s more the establishment than I ever realized.

An alcoholic, unhealthy escape route of a man who will never be qualified for the job.

This is love in the time of POTUS 45. The president I can only refer to with air quotes around his title now real.

How’s your apocalypse going?

To my friend—the mermaid once mine.

I know you must hate the state of things too, though your voice has faded from my life completely. All but for the echoes of your once-hope for us: “I wish I could take both of our loneliness and light it on fire.” How different the place I stand in the apocalypse today—loneliness everywhere, and so much of my fire gone out.

I thought we’d be burning down the barricades together, soot smudging a new shape to our smiles, wild hope in our browns and blues. But you were all talk and t-shirts—you just liked how the gas mask brought out your lowlights, how your legs looked in riot gear. I guess you swim in shallower water than you think.

Then one day, I looked away too long, and you fell asleep. I laid out all my plans and schemes, but you skipped town, made some deal with the Empire, the people who keep all our ocean of beautiful mess under the rug.

I thought that didn’t happen with sisters in the rebellion. Or at least—I thought that didn’t happen with you. Just like I never thought America would fit this far down the rabbit hole.

But I already lost Princess Leia, so I wasn’t going to blow up the Death Star alone.

How’s your apocalypse going?

To my lover—my smoky, mercenary scoundrel.

You cannot be reached. You cannot be called into your X-wing at a moment’s notice. But then I lose my backup, and you swoop in to my rescue with whiskey and wine. And I lose myself in a galaxy far, far away from traitors, loyalists—I lose myself in your disaffected rant with no end.

But how erotic your indignance, your dissatisfaction that devolves with alcohol. And then, with the magic of my silence, of my wryer smile, I am the wiser one. I am the all-knowing and mysterious one for the night.

And then we’re two rebels, above all this bullshit and betrayal. I teach you about gender pronouns I learned, and what it was to stand on a soapbox, and how it felt to have my feelings evaluated by committee before me. You tell me your war stories from the other side of the world’s glass, against which my nose is ever-pressed. You tell me about your kid, and the things in his stocking four sizes too big. You tell me about the kid you were for not long enough. I drink it all in like the cheap wine we split—dizzy now, sick later.

But hey—we’re standing at the end of the world, aren’t we? It’s the end of the world, so why be alone? It’s the end of the world, so we barricade in your shelter, distracting ourselves with smoke-filled kisses and coffee in stolen mugs and telling you all my old ghosts—still pretending you’re not becoming one even as we laugh at Ted Danson’s pitch-perfect delivery. I’m already fading for you, even as you hold me tight, refusing to let me leave—but we both know who chose that.

How’s your apocalypse going?

My lungs want to give out from how much I’m talking. I am talking and talking and saying everything and nothing, because everything is dire now, so it’s as good a time as any to dip my protest sign in blood and paint over where you both left wounds much more ordinary. I don’t want to be heartbroken. I want to be a revolutionary.

The stain of my cheap dark wash bell-bottoms seeps into suede tan boots caked with mud, and I’ve stopped feeling my feet hurt. Or maybe it’s just that these days, I like it when my feet hurt. I like it when my endorphins from running drown out that you were both running from me, maybe always. Maybe from the beginning.

How’s your apocalypse going?

I thought we would spend it all together as the world went down in flames. I lost a sister in arms. I lost a drowning buddy.

But even today, even in this bar alone, something is different.

Because today I walked until I couldn’t with 750,000 women, men, and children who comforted each other in love, who raised their voices—in protest, in strength, in hope of a better world.

I stood in the same place where I took your hand because I couldn’t stand up straight on the ice without you.

Today that ice had melted, and I walked strong with my brothers and sisters.

I walked through the same streets you guided me by the hand, because I didn’t know how to take the subway, I didn’t know where I was going without you.

I knew where I was going today. Forward.

Because when you see this much hope, you can’t help but believe that the world will never burn at all, except to take all our loneliness and light it on fire. This time for real. I want that for us.

This world isn’t going down without a fight. And neither am I. And tomorrow’s already hard, and I’m stepping back and needing to rest, and to grieve, but I’m still fighting. And I’m not alone. Never.

So I must go on differently now, because there is too much love to be won over hate, and I’ve seen it inside myself to do things I never thought possible. No more terror of my own feelings, of my own power, of the risk of bruising that accompanies real love.

How’s your apocalypse going?

I don’t know. But mine is for damned sure coming to an end. Cheers.