firestorm

this is the season of fire after the summer of water and i know now that my flame burns inside strong as ever singing my worth and i have words to spit out into this world, hot heavy and sour

this is the season of fire and how can i explain that to you

this is the season of fire after the summer of water and i know now that my flame burns inside strong as ever singing my worth and i have words to spit out into this world, hot heavy and sour and i don’t have to hold in my passions or self, i don’t have to go with the flow, i don’t have to mold to my surroundings, i get to say this is me! this is now! this is what im going to do! and they have to listen – do you hear that part – they have to listen

because if not, i will burn this place down.

and i am a flame unseen perhaps but so were these wildfires before they were spotted, as they were already burning tree into ash and

i am not unspoken, not anymore.

i have words in my hands and my fingertips and i won’t let you put your melancholy into my skin once again, i cannot agree that life is all hard because isn’t it not about happy or sad or good or bad but rage and emotion and expression and madness and

i don’t know why i feel like the candles in my room speak to me at night but they whisper in conspiracy to me

reach reach reach

and they tell me

higher and onwards and grab what you want and be who you are and let the doubt burn burn away.

words etched in tree branches, dark soot in chimney grates, and theres a heat in myself that feels a bit like anger not quite too late

i was water running smoothly hiding deeply speaking softly and now i wonder

what if i set myself ablaze

if i let out my stories will this world burst into flames

or will i finally let all the pressure escape.


so, my old washing machine would electrocute you slightly, lightly, brightly if you put your hand on the wash button and so instead, we never did laundry

and yet when i tell this story to KC he tells me of sticking the knife into the toaster when he was a child and being shocked over and over again, not understanding why he felt what he felt, not knowing to stop

and

one time i sat on a dock on a lake in montana, watching lightning and storm clouds brood and cover half the sky, shocking the water, as thunder boomed and on the other half of the lake

only sunshine.

if i covered my left eye i saw chaos and firestorm and if i covered my right eye, i saw a summertime lakefront paradise, sunshine and birdsong

do you see

the fire and water dance together

it isnt one or the other

but while the water absorbs your sorrows and holds your chaos and softens the darkness

the fire bursts from the sky and the ground, runs through sockets and toasters and up trees and out mountains and

through my

very

veins.

-h

 

art by Vykky Gamble

 

let me tell you about my morning

when i write my own story i am both storyteller and main character. i get to rewrite my narrative. i get to choose how to see my world. i get to open the door and invite you into my universe. 

im back in salem and it sits the same, like a heavy weight in my stomach or a feeling of being a little unseen: a window partially covered, a light flickering, a cloud over the sun. this morning especially so, though my friends are in the kitchen, though a breeze drafts through my room, though the day sits waiting for me to fill it.

something about overcast days and creaky houses reminds me of stress and sadness and im worried im letting so many people down. two days, two separate situations saying ‘im annoyed’ and ‘you messed up’ and im too sensitive for this. when people criticize i want to hide, i want to crawl under hills, i want to wrap myself in blankets and curl into a corner and feel the feelings and so this is what i do. with tea and candles and telling myself that when people are upset that doesnt mean im wrong. when people are upset, sometimes they are wrong. when people are upset, sometimes i need to take my own side

and the drama in me sighs out, oh, sometimes living is like being an open wound and the salt is just text messages and casual words and how can i be so thin-skinned in such a gouging world

and with that sentiment, sad-me leaves my little cocoon nest and goes into the kitchen and makes myself breakfast oats and tells the roommate whats on my mind. there was miscommunication with someone and its this whole thing and when i explain it he laughs and its so clearly ridiculous and i crack a smile and then we are both laughing and —

its not all so bad.

its not all so good, the world, our nation, right now. but its not all so bad, not all of it. not laughing over oatmeal and not me, at my core, and thats the fear, right?


so, anyways, ashley wrote about blogging and i tell you these little stories, these morning oats and little thought because

i write so that i can speak, i write so that i can see the words i need to read. when the world pulls me down and im confused and tense and disappointed in myself, i get levity. i get agency. when i write my own story i am both storyteller and main character. i get to rewrite my narrative. i get to choose how to see my world. i get to open the door and invite you into my universe.


i dont know if you see me as i want you to – as a friend, as someone doing their best, as someone constantly apologetic and trying to be kind, as a thinker and brave doer and all the things i like to think i am. i do know that i dont like opening up out loud, i stutter and sweat, i avoid hard conversations, and this is why i dont like telling someone off for blaming me for someone elses mess and this whole situation, but anyways, when i write

i want you to see how the corner feels when i wrap the yellowstone-green blanket around my body and sit in my too-tight hat from b and feel the comfort of walls close and warmth closer. i want you to see how i sit and think and ask myself whats happening in my heart and slowly the sun filters through the broken white window blinds onto the scratched up wooden floor and how i start to remember all the wonder that is me and my life. i want you to taste the oats as i eat them slightly under-cooked in a too-hot-to-hold metal bowl and talk through my mouthful to caden and the sun shines a bit more inside me too.

i write so i can feel, and so you can feel it, too.

-h

 

 

 

a practice in assertiveness

these are the words I haven’t spoken but I must, the ones that say I cant and wont be quiet anymore, theres too much living to do, theres too much to me to hide

while you’ve been out

ive been growing like a plant from the dirt, like a forest after fire, like pain back to brilliance

but have you noticed – whats happened to me?

where there were scars there are smiles, where there was insecurity there is solid foundation, where there has been shakiness and fear and anxiety there is all of that but now there is power, there is voice, there is strength

and

do you know me

hi, im heather

hi, I love to climb straight-up hikes, switchbacking to the heavens, sweat teasing my mouth with saltiness, mountain views that make me cry, I love hopping rivers rock-by-rock, I love resting at the top for hours to take in the beauty of the challenge, I love running back down the mountain, and I love

risk. in many forms. it makes me feel alive.

and I love dancing, did you know that? I could dance for hours, the beat in my bones and the joy of movement in my body, I love dirt-bass-grime beats, I love headbanging and intoxication, I love losing myself in a crowd, I love bonding with strangers through our excitement for zomboy and troyboi and porter, I love seeing that side of humanity that’s dying for connection and something deeper and finds it in light shows and notes and harmonies and sounds that resonate in my rib cage

and I love

laughter – over nothing, over ourselves, over life. All the time, the more laughs the better. I don’t care what we look like, laughing ourselves into oblivion, don’t you know this is the only way to scare away the shadows?

And I love

outside. Why eat a meal at the table when I have a dock? Why would I sit inside when the door opens out, why would I listen to microwaves and laundry-machines when there are birds chirping and waves crashing and sun to feel and flowers to smell? There are sunsets to fall asleep to and moons to wonder at and I want to know where the clouds are blowing to and what animals live under the dock and why the spider lives in my car and how to grow my plants as tall as me and nothing is more magic than the fern bush outside this window or the seal chasing fish through the ocean or three bald eagles swooping over me as I float on my back in the middle of the lake

And I love the wind in my hair, on my bike, out of car windows, in little mototaxis through the jungle

And I love travel – by myself – I love the joy of a bus ride to anywhere along twisty dirt mountain roads, no railings, no one expecting me, just views to inhale and people to meet and lives to imagine

And I love my job and my future – I think if I follow my joy it will lead me to a career that will make things better and that’s already happening and I knew that I was on track and now its panning out, really

And I love who I am, right now, always. I love who ive become and I love this life I am leading and I cant bring myself to apologize for any of it, for the smile as I push up the mountain trail, for the joy of late-night pie and morning-after stomach aches, ill always want to run away and lay in the sun by myself, and blast flosstradamus as I drive through the smoky city skylines and wonder at the end of the world, every day is magic and im in love with life.

And I love to write because this is who I am, these are the words I haven’t spoken but I must, the ones that say I cant and wont be quiet anymore, theres too much living to do, theres too much to me to hide, I don’t care about documenting the moments I just want to drink them in like water on a hot day, and I cant think of anything more radical than saying,

here I am! this is me! listen up, I say ‘no’ now!

And I laugh at silly dogs and I laugh at myself and I eat ice cream six days a week. I write every day and I meditate as much as I can and I like slow yoga and books and feminist television and I just cant be mad about things much, except for when its invalidating me

And I feel this depth of pride and happiness and I think its something like self-esteem, do you see?

Because I love all of these things and I am proud of them.

I love all of these things and I love me.

are you listening

she shook as she stood up and gathered her courage and her voice and she said

i am here!

she shook

she shook like a little giant in big boots and like a leaf in the wind, she shook like an earthquake was rocking her, our, world, she shook as she stood up and gathered her courage and her voice and she said

i am here!

but the quiet words didnt carry through the open everywhere air, they didnt spark notice in those around her, they drifted over water and back into calm nooks were they fell down and slept again, quiet, exhausted, spent.

and so she looked down at her little feet in her big big boots and thought

maybe i am not here, after all

and the conversations around her kept happening, about her, despite her

but she looked at her fingers and thought but i think i am here and she looked into her heart and thought but i feel like i am here and her deep down soul whispered

of course you are here

but she was weary weary weary of the fight to voice her life. couldnt people see it? couldnt they ask the questions? couldnt they stop stepping on her toes so she didnt have to wear such heavy clunky boots? and so she sighed and sat down in a corner, wrapped up in heavy sweater and heavy thoughts and let herself rest in the melancholy of forgotteness

but her heart kept singing to her

and as she let the melody lift her spirits

she knew

they werent truly forgetters of that worst mean kind, they were forgetters in the way she was, in the way we all are when life is onwards-and-upwards

and she knew

she was worth hearing

and so she let herself sit and sit and sit through the nighttime and for four more days and nights, sleeping and laughing and singing to herself, gathering the fire in her heart, building her own remembrance

and when she emerged she put back on her big boots to protect the tender toes and she stood up again and she whispered

do you remember me

and the birds chirped back

and she said can you see me, all of me

and the wind whistled in response

and she cried

i am here i am here i am here

and the world sang

welcome

and though the cars passed by on the road and the boats kept on slowly drifting, the voices still speaking and the people busy busy busy on their ways to their better places, she knew she had spoken her truth

and whether they listened was their choice

but she had spoken and here she was

brave enough to

exist.