Lavender Afternoon
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I have suffered, from things of my own doing, and things completely out of my control, as have most people. We don’t choose the families we’re born into, how much money they have, or how that impacts us. It’s easy to see how it affects your relationships later in life. I can see it in how I think about myself, people I’ve dated, the people I love. A question I would often find myself asking, in the midst of it all, was why? Why me? Why now?

And there would be an answer, but it would never be enough. Never enough to encompass the entirety of the pain. And so I made things up. I attributed it to mystical forces, to attacks from people who want to see me fall, to God. I made it a story, a soap opera. I made a home in it. I liked the way it held me, tighter than any embrace I’ve ever known. Eventually, it and I became one and the same. There was no clear border between us, more a gradient between my flesh and a concept. As hard as I’ve tried to separate us, it makes me feel like a baby bird who hasn’t yet finished developing feathers. My pink, trembling skin attracts predators, snakes, rats, genuine human connection and the like.

The familiarity of suffering causes me to crave it. Love and joy still scare me. Their fleeing nature still sends dread running cold into my bones.

But I force myself to grasp it. To hold it; not too tightly, but still to hold it. My hands still feel colder after its warmth fades, but I’m beginning to become warmer myself. I cry less when I feel it leaking out from between my fingers. I see color returning to my cheeks. I start calling my family back.

I hold my grandfather closer. I know he isn’t going to be around forever. I look up when I walk, I see the people around me, all with their own inner dialogues chattering at a millions miles per minute, and I try to drown out my own. I press flowers and buy lavender scented laundry detergent. I understand I have a long way to go.

Do you ever listen to bands you liked when you were 13 and cringe at yourself? I’ve started. It’s fun, actually. I trace phases of my life through different songs like you can trace the life of a tree from the rings inside of it.

I am not the best. There is no best. There are no shoes I’m shoving toilet paper into in a desperate attempt to make fit. I let my bare feet trudge through the grass, foxtails be damned.

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