I have been trying to make this relationship work for over three decades. We first met in a hospital in New Jersey. It took at least another decade before I realized I wanted to break things off.
How to explain: it’s not you, it’s me but you are me, so it is you. And me.
I have been trying to fall in love with myself.
I used to have really beautiful hair that I fondled and gathered between fingers. Then I fried it and chopped it and took a very long hiatus from brushing it.
I stopped shaving and bathing as much. I recognized the smell carving its way out of me, but perhaps that was just a way to keep others away or attract the one who might look past my grime and grit.
I poked holes in my body and carved up my arms like Thanksgiving turkey. Instead of showing gratitude as though my body were nourishment or nourishing, I just kept hacking away.
I paid to get branded by ink’d words on back and arms. I figured if people were going to stare, they might as well have something to read while doing so.
I stopped checking in; I didn’t want to know what bothered me. I engaged in week long silent treatments with myself. Had dangerous affairs with strangers without asking permission. Put my body at risk…
I was sending out a message to my self that this love would never work. I kept looking for better.
My sexuality has fluctuated and so has my gender. I couldn’t be counted on. I ran away a lot.
Instead of changing my phone number, I simply got rid of my phone. Why do you think I move so much? I’ve been trying to get lost in order to eliminate the possibility of being found.
What kind of love is this?
A lover asked me what part on my body I liked the best. When answering, I thought of process of elimination. Rather, what part on my body do I loathe the least?
My back, I answered.
As I rested on my stomach, she traced my shoulder blades and read my tattoo. I can understand why, she whispered.
But perhaps I chose this part because I cannot see it. There is no room for scrutiny when it is out of eyesight.
I have been in love with several others. Humans of various shapes and shades and peculiarities and passions. These liaisons have been drenched in romance and poetry, music and full-bodied entanglement. I can give myself away to these others; I just want to find a way back into the arms of me.
This love is complicated. This love is tumultuous, moody, and there is daily processing. Sometimes I trigger myself just from breathing.
I really want to fall deeply, so I take myself out on dates. Museums. Movies. Bike rides and picnics. Writing retreats. Meditational excursions. I cook myself dinner and treat it to a glass of Malbec. When I attempt late night intimacy, I have a hard time letting go of who I am with.
This love is erotic and painful. This love is damaged and tired.
Every lover I ever loved or liked or lusted against has called me difficult. And I am. But it is this difficult’ness that makes me into the Human I am. I want to find a partner to balance this love out, but realize there is no outside room until I master this inner one.