Letters from the Hedge: March 30, 2015

Wow, it’s been a really long time since my last letter.  Senior year is busy, but so much fun!  This will be a short post, since I have a lot of things to do this week!

Last Thursday, I went to eat dinner alone at another of the serveries.  I saw one of my acquaintances as I was walking up the steps, but he didn’t wave to me, say hello, or in any way acknowledge that I was there.  I felt too awkward to say something (I always do,) so I simply walked by.  I was upset for a while after that, because I remembered that he never really says hello to me, even though we text one another sometimes and were in the same class last spring.  I felt so unworthy of his friendship, of anyone’s friendship.  It’s been a common theme throughout my college years that I get really attached to people who don’t seem to feel the same way towards me.  And at the same time I knew I was being unfair to him, and to my other friends who act similarly towards me, because we all go to college and we are all so busy.

Last Saturday was my last Beer Bike (a campus-wide, all-day party) and I was sort of dreading it as I fell asleep on Friday night, because I don’t like socializing all that much.  As it turned out, some of my quad-mates and I hung out for almost the entire day!  We even got matching face paint.  I felt so much love and solidarity as I walked with them to the bike track.  My best friends during my time in college are really the ones who were there all along, who I’ve taken for granted far too many times.

I’ve been having a particularly bad time with my body image this semester, because I am taking ballet and it’s hard seeing my imperfect body squeezed into leggings twice a week.  I lost quite a bit of weight (for me) at the beginning of the semester, but no one noticed it or commented on it, which made me feel bad for no reason I can explain.  And, of course, when people ignore me like my friend did on Thursday, I tend to think, If only I were a little bit thinner, a little bit prettier.  It is a dangerous cycle to fall into, and there have been times this semester when I’ve felt myself balancing right on the edge of falling in.

I’m starting to feel better, though.  I love my body, even with its wide butt and bony chest.  I accidentally hurt myself at work a few weeks ago, and as the wound has been healing I’ve occasionally looked at it and thought, My body loves me so much.  It wants to keep me alive.  It is so strong, it can adjust to sleep deprivation, or alcohol consumption, or weight gain and loss (all of these, of course, within reason.)

I don’t know if loving myself will ever come easily, or if I can ever love other people selflessly and with patience.  It’s a worthwhile struggle, though, I think.  And what ever would I do if being a good person were easy?


Giant Isopods

I found a little one of these while waiting for the bus this morning. When I was growing up in Arizona, we would see them after it rained, and we would call them roly-polys. I learned today that their proper name is A. vulgare, the common pill bug. Like velvet mites, my early exposure to the little creatures made me more fond of them than otherwise. 🙂

“Kissing Families” – Silversun Pickups

Stop the season, stop the sting
A plastic mic, a broken string
Infected wound from a rusty ring, so what

Soon you’ll be there too

Kissing families can’t recall
A program to derail us all
Forgotten prison, it’s been safe ’til now

It’s no wonder that we did it this way
Keep looking forward on paths sideways
It’s everything that is connected and beautiful
And now I know just where I stand
Move on
Roll along
Not today
It’s everything that is connected and beautiful
And now I know just where I stand

Thank God
Your heart is too close

This can be the bitter end
I know it won’t

Well, someone said I made a mistake
Kept looking forward on paths sideways
It’s everything that is connected and beautiful
And now I know just where I stand
Well, seasons always shift too late
Spent too much time now on paths sideways
Everything that is connected and beautiful
And now I know just where I stand

Thank God it’s over

Phantom Pains

Loss has made me anxious.
I almost typed that to a friend, just now,
but paused, my thumb hovering over the screen,
because who among us hasn’t felt
phantom fears worming through our skin?
Who hasn’t looked at someone else’s scar
and felt the slice of the kitchen knife
six years ago
or, like an arrow
to the wrist, the pancreas,
the brain, felt the sure pang
of grief?

Each goodbye makes me a little less trusting
of my own body, cautious of my pulse
beating under my skin, worried when I see
too many pounds gained or lost. At night,
I feel ghosts, scattered memories, really:
the smell of rosewater lingers in my hair,
the snap of a voice in my ears.

It’s not impossible to pick up the thread
of unfinished grief. The dead leave
most, but not all, of themselves behind,
and it is the part that has gone
that I thought I could hear tonight.
In my heartbeats I could hear
their voices: here, this is yours,
this body and this life
which is more than the mere
weight of you, go, take it and be free.

[march 5]

my hands are thin and nervous.
gaps start between my fingers
if i’ve been
too sick
for too long.

i’ve lost some feeling
on the tips of my thumb and pointer finger
from flipping hot tortillas or
pulling bagels from the toaster oven,
but the rest of my fingertips
are so sensitive i swear they can feel sound.
sometimes i dream about tracing
the curve of your cheek with them.
i remember the last time i did that,
how your face felt warm beneath
my (always cold) hands, how
my whole universe narrowed
to those tiny points of contact,
how on a microscopic level some molecules
were dragged from the surface
of your skin to the surface of mine.

sometimes my hands get to wandering.
i think yours do, too.
i’ve learned to do my nails, then,
or practice embroidery or glass painting.
something to keep my hands busy

instead of destroying.

tonight, i looked down at my hands,
covered in red and yellow paint,
and hoped that your hands were all right,
resting, calm, and safe
from the cold march night
wherever you are. my fingers ache
from the words they’ve typed for you.