days of gray.

You’re something I’ve had to learn how to talk about, a story whose sharp edges I’ve sanded down with each retelling. The fury finally passed, fire giving way to ashes.

Where do I scatter this?

I run the city like I’ve been in a coma. To reacquaint with the world is to admit to myself that I’ve been away. Sun spills between sky-high buildings as I hustle up the street, a love song ringing in my ears. For now, the love letters are between me and myself: forgiveness, gentleness, admiration. You were brave, you know?

I arrive back home, pull off sweaty clothes and stand beneath a shower of warm water, and my palms run over my body with loving detail.

The hardest part of looking back on you is acknowledging what a traitor I became to myself. That August morning, waking up in a panic, walking into the bathroom and facing myself in the mirror. You stupid fucking idiot, I remember thinking. You deserve every fucking scar this leaves behind.

Scars give way to stories and someone else will kiss the skin you bruised. The world we built and broke will become a picture tucked in some drawer. Small though the aches have become, your memory still echoes into my awareness. One day, I will go to write and you won’t spill out of my fingertips. Til then, I’ll run and rinse and release.

I am standing in a year of purposeful transition. These are not the most exciting pages of anybody’s story. These are the days of taking inventory, of changing up our yeses and nos, of packaging things into cardboard boxes and preparing to step into new beginnings.

Every aspect of my world feels a little adolescent, not in its youth nor ready to be released, and I search for beauty in the becoming. We are always in some sort of flux. Movies present our lives in clear arcs ā€“ setup, conflict, moment of great peril, and triumph ā€“ but most of our days are a muddy blend of these.

Planting seeds for tomorrow’s flourishing takes faith, stubborn conviction. I think you should bet on yourself. A friend said this to me in a moment of peril, and I have since taken it to heart.

I have not even come close to my most honest flourishing. If you thought life seemed vibrant before, wait til you see where I take it next. I scatter seeds, laugh with friends, learn to exist again in raw skin.

Hurdles and hopes. My friends and I meet weekly, and we report a hurdle and hope each time. I love the way it plants us in one another’s stories. Oh, I discover, he has been learning how to peel the thorny vines of anxiety from his skin. Then I grin as I learn he is finding hope in the later sunset or the chance to revisit a coffeeshop he once made a second home.

I love, also, the opportunity it grants me to story myself, right where I am. I am anguishing over goodbyes I will soon have to say, untangling my friendships, inventorying my time and energy. I am getting excited over connections and learning to let them crumble when they do.

Some weeks, I struggle to come up with a hurdle, and what a relief that can be. I’m all hope. When I think on it, I feel incredible gratitude that I’ve never had a bit of trouble conjuring hope. My eyes are fixed ahead, on some horizon, imagining sun even when there are thick sheets of rainfall overhead.

I’m betting on myself.

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