It’s a little bit like going back with an ex, and then within seconds thinking to yourself, ‘Wait. We ended this for a reason.”


Coming back to Connecticut feels like a hall of mirrors, each one holding up a version of myself that makes me wince. We are all human, we all make mistakes, but for some reason mine feel exaggerated here, and I’m left questioning my worthiness of love.

“Be gentle with yourself,” I keep saying. “You did the best you could with what you had.” And I know this is true on endless levels. But walking through a graveyard of fractured parts every day can’t help but leave me feeling haunted by things heavy and unmoving.

Stagnant stories swirling in blocked up streams. There is no life in those waters.

This summer has felt like a long goodbye. A drawn-out suturing of wounds, one stitch at a time. Dangerous memories replaced with beautiful echoes, bouncing off the hollow of my spine. Up and down and up again.  

How do we love ourselves when evidence of our darkest pieces rains down on our shoulders every moment? How do we love ourselves when the rejection letters are sewn to our skin, scarred and imbedded?

We release. 

“This is not mine,” I repeat as I wade through this familiar and foreign territory. “None of this is mine to hold on to.”

Mantra filling my collapsed lungs. I am among the unforgiven, maybe that's true. But I could apologize for a thousand years and bend myself into the shapes they call beautiful and still never change the hearts of those who hold the hate. Because they don't belong to me. We don't inhale the same oxygen. They are not mine. This is not mine. My goodness, the peace of those four words. 

We are, each of us, brilliant and brave. We are, each of us, floundering and fumbling. We are, each of us, so much more than the culmination of our catastrophes. 

This summer has shown me that sometimes we walk through fire so the things we no longer need can be burned away and sent to the skies. Smoke signals celebrating our strength, writing the words to the songs of the impermeable parts that can never not be golden. 

In the witness of trees and ferns and river currents pregnant with promise, I am free. In the middle of the storm, I am loved.