earlier this week i was asked to write about my family. i started and stopped for three days. the beginning formed easily:
my family consists of two men and two cats with whom i share my living space. the cats are interchangeable. old cats die. rescued kittens find their way to us. the men are constant, devoted, and committed. we are a polyamorous bisexual triad, which is a mouthful of words that equals “family.”
that’s where the writing stops and the tears begin. i can’t write about the family i lost last year, about the kids that won’t remember me, who are young enough to have already forgotten me. after three days of trying to write about my family, i develop a grief-induced tear-thickened migraine. the day after a migraine, after incapacitating pain has passed and leaves a shadow headache in its place, i feel hungover. i binge on junk food. then i feel worse. i run extra hours and extra miles to purge the binge calories. my legs ache. my bones hurt. my muscles burn. hours later, the grief settles in my chest as a cold. i cough all night, choking on phlegm when i lay down. i do not sleep. i begin reading a book about the trail of tears because native americans have suffered more losses than i and some survived the grief. some did not. i look for clues on how to walk forward, how to rebuild, how to heal. i sing native american prayers in my delirium, hoping for any solace the spirit of the song might offer me.
in the distance, i see a crossroads. a black crow flies overhead. thunder rolls behind me. there is a choice for me to make about what comes next, who i want to be, and how i will conduct myself from here. i am determined to be courageous, only because weakness is familiar and feeds self-hate. strength emerges with each new test of this courage. lessons follow my failures. tears carve out empty space. in the hollows, i imagine swirling resplendent colors and sublime harmonies woven into dreams waiting for me whenever i can lay down next and sleep.