Talking to You
I was reading Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider, and she asked, “What do you do with your anger? Your rage? Your sadness? Your despair? What do you do with your emotions when they begin to rip your body apart?”
In my head, I said, “I just sit them out. I wallow in them long enough until they leave me, albeit beaten to the ground." The way I do with my anxiety; I refuse to draw my curtains. I turn off my TV, the sound system, and put my phone on DND. I operate from the bedroom, to the washroom, and back, until the Friend of My Heart waltzes through the house saying, ‘You cannot live like this; at least not in this darkness.”
Audre Lorde’s question reminds me just how much I stuff my emotions beneath my skin. How I almost never speak about anything that bothers me. How I am always pretend-laughing, pretend-walking, pretend-breathing, even when every bone in my body is begging to be broken. How I lose myself in myself every time my emotions overwhelm me. How I self-isolate, cry myself to sleep, ignoring everyone who tries to seek me, until the darkness fades and my lips begin to nurse the taste of life again.
Audre Lorde’s question reminds me how on your birthday, seven days ago, I moved about my house like a ghost. Not wanting to eat. Not wanting to sleep. Not wanting to see outside. My heart started racing on the day my calendar sent the notification, and it hasn’t stopped until now. I am waking up each day, since August 7th, with my heart in my mouth. With no strength in my feet. With tears at the corners of my eyes. With nothing but heartbreak, and sadness, and wishful thinking at the corners of my mouth. I am breathing as if each of these is my last. I am clutching to the Friend of My Heart, hoping to find my footing in their breathing.
As I ponder about Audre’s question, I realise just how much of these emotions I have kept bottled within me since you left, because I have never felt comfortable enough to lay my everything before anyone else. It had always been you, always is, and always will be. I will never have the comfort of having my full nakedness seen by anyone else, especially at a time when almost everything I do is questionable.
I have been wanting to talk to you since I left my job on the last day of last year. To tell you why I did it, and the emotional strain that came with it. I have been wanting to cry into your arms for these seven and a half months that I have stayed indoors, without a job, wondering whether this was the right thing to do. I have been longing for your voice in my ears, to tell me that yes, this was the right thing to do, even though it might not look like it right now.
I have been wanting for your hand to hold me when months have been ticking, and I have been losing more and more friends, because this period of joblessness, this period of loneliness, this period of introspection has opened my eyes to how too giving I have always been in my friendships. I have always been the giver; giving, and giving, and giving, and thinking that this much giving fills my spirit with goodness and niceness.
But this period of joblessness and aloneness has taught me how my giving will always be just that; a giving that almost always never gets reciprocated. And takers will take, and take, and take, and when my well finally runs dry, they will move elsewhere, where waters are fresh and wells still run deep.
I have been wanting to talk to you since one of my friends said, to my face, that my father is ignorant. That because they, my friend, are powerful, they could just up one day and displace us from our family home. I wanted to tell you how I wept that night out of anger, and rage, and despair, wondering how I let them go on and on about my father, how I let them crucify my character, in my face, without speaking up for myself, or for my father. I wept until all the rage left my body, until quiet returned to my head, and realized just how much I have never, and will never be enough for this friendship.
Then I wept again for not having you around, and wondering whether I will ever find another friendship where I will feel as safe as I felt with you.
I have been wanting to talk to you about my experience with a stalker. How the past two weeks have been a nightmare for me. How I have been walking on eggshells ever since they started stalking me. How the police officers have frustrated me to a point of death. How my lawyer keeps saying, ‘we will make this stop’, but nothing stops. How my heart almost leaves my body every time my phone vibrates, yet everyone from whom I seek help just asks, “What happened?’ then does nothing.
If there was a time I have wished death upon myself, it must have been three times during the past two weeks.
I have been wanting to tell you about anything, and everything, but every time I pick my phone, I just dial someone else’s number, mostly the Friend of My Heart, and let them talk, and talk, and talk, until my tears stop flowing, and my heartbeat returns to normal.
But you have been dead three years now, so I have to shove all my wants down my throat, and hope that somehow, someday,I find a way of handling my emotions without wanting to run to you. Without almost drowning myself in aloneness. Without shutting everyone out of my life. Without ignoring my cousin’s calls, because I am too worried he will try to make me laugh, and will notice the stutter in my chuckles.
Belated happy birthday, my friend.