Warsan Shire

Time, Birth and Death

It’s the end of the year and a part of me is truly shocked I made it this far. Frankly, I was shocked I made it to my birthday in July.

I often wonder if I’m just perfect at making horrible decisions or I’m one of those people who are meant to live a certain kind of Life and just figure out a way to get through it.  Is it destiny or a string of Fuck Ups?

The 14th of January 2013 I had a miscarriage.  When you hadn’t even known that you were fertile, no less pregnant and wake up to contractions and blood rushing down your legs, it’s a special kind of trauma. One of those experiences words can’t even begin to describe.

It was a bleak time.

I honestly don’t think I knew the meaning of depression until I went through the next couple of months after it happened.

There were days when I’d wake up and cry because I was still alive. I felt guilty and lonely. As if I’d somehow caused it and even though I knew I hadn’t, I felt like the blame needed to be passed somewhere and I was the only one to carry it.

I didn’t want to write about this.  The thing with sharing experiences with people is that not everyone will respect it.  We live in a society where everything turns into a joke, no matter how traumatic, and one never wants to be on the receiving end of being dismissed.

Friends often ask me if, in a sense, it wasn’t a blessing. If I would have kept the child and really, I don’t know. But I would have liked to have been the one to make the decision.  I felt [possibly still feel] like my body betrayed me.  For months afterwards I’d have panic attacks when my menstrual cycle came around and menstrual cramps would leave me terrified with flashbacks of that morning.

It’s been, by far, the most painful experience of my Life.

I still cry about it.

And I’ve learned that the real pain in certain experiences is that you go through it alone.  You can’t collectively grieve, even with people who understand.

It’s your loss and you have to come to terms with it.  You grieve as long as you want and you do your best to get by.

This is not a “Everything will be fine, just keep going” post.  Sometimes I have no guidance to provide.

What I CAN say is Life’s taught me that Time heals and creates all wounds.

And that’s that.

“…But then she has to be so transparent and so honest, and like, her secrets are completely – they belong to everybody. And it’s caused her problems in her personal life. That’s almost common knowledge.

So I think it’s this thing where you feel – it’s such a cliché, but like such an open book sometimes. It’s a struggle to try to figure out what to keep to yourself and what not to. Because writing, for me, is so important, and I need to do it. It’s a physical need. And so the more difficult a thing is I’m going through, the more I’ll write about it. Sometimes I feel like, “Should I be keeping that to myself, or is that not appropriate?” But then I think, “Fuck it. Whatever.” And write about it anyway, because I need to.

The purpose that it serves is greater than ego or pride or what people may think of you and all the rest of it. I spent a long time trying to make sure that I wasn’t worried about being embarrassed or stigma or people thinking that they know you, because they don’t. The more that you work on your craft, the more that you can find ways to write about the most terrifying things, things that you can’t even really say out loud to yourself, but write in a way that still feels very safe, and everybody takes something different away from it when they read it.” 
– Warsan Shire

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“I can’t take back the words I never said.”

Let’s discuss the importance of words shall we?

The effects they have on people, emotions, situations.

Poetry. 

I cried last night trying to explain to a friend how hard it is to pour your truth out trying to explain, reach out somehow, for some kind of comfort, and getting nothing but “That’s beautiful”s in return. 

I read Warsan Shire’s poetry, see Alysia Harris cry constantly on stage and know they must feel the loneliness I feel sometimes. Because it honestly isn’t about teaching all the time. Sometimes you want to know that someone shares the same kind of passion, pain or indifference that you do. And I guess maybe they can but they can’t express it how you do.

 

Let’s think about how sometimes, words are useless.  You can talk yourself blue, use every language you know and still not get someone to understand you. Not be able to make the Love stay and not be able to show someone what you want them to see. 

My ex taught me that. It was a hard lesson to learn.

It made me wonder what the point was, if you can communicate and not be felt. I didn’t write for a while. I didn’t even speak anything that made sense for a while. He asked me why all I did was quote rap lyrics lately when he knew I had more to me than that and I was unable to  tell him that I was afraid that what I said wouldn’t matter.

 

“Speak your mind, even if your voice  shakes.” – Maggie Kuhn

I read that a year or more ago and my first thought was. “I can’t tell my father how I really feel though..I can’t tell my mother what I want to do. I simply can’t.” And I remembered, they’re just words.

I have since then. 

And being vocal will mean losing many people, I’ll tell you now.

Men get scared when you constantly tell them your truth and cry when you want to.

Friends don’t always want honesty.

Parents may think you’re crazy.

If you think being a writer is lonely, being honest is even worse. 

And I can’t decide yet whether it’s worth it but I can tell you my heart feels the strain of words that fall on deaf ears as much as it felt the weight of unsaid words and I don’t know what’s better/worse but I DO know I can’t go back to being silent. 

The same way you can’t unfeel heartbreak, you can’t unthink a thought, you simply can’t go back to being mute when you find that you have a voice.

I love the word “No” and I use it often. Some days it’s said lower than I’d like because I say it with fear in my heart, but I say it nonetheless and try to make the look in my eye mean it.

Every time I say it I know I should be ready to defend it/myself. Either verbally or if need arises, physically. And it’s new. Because at first, as a woman, a daughter, a girlfriend, a sister, a friend, I didn’t know I could, I didn’t know I had the right to, Women are taught to be selfless, but now as all of these things, I realize I am all I have and not everyone,  in fact, very few people, actually care about what becomes of Me, it’s about what they can get. This too has been a hard lesson to learn and I’m still going through the Test phase. I may be failing a little.

“Your silence will not protect you.” -Audre Lorde

Deception.  I am naive when it comes to those I love.  I don’t believe that they lie to me and when I care, rose coloured glasses are a part of my everyday attire. So I probably walk right into situations because I am not always on guard and I believe I don’t have to live that way. I don’t want to. I think I may have to grow up and be a cynic but I still want the beauty and honesty. 

I am becoming one of those people who speak without the help of liquor. It scares people when they are sober. Weirdly enough, I express myself, but never bond. People know the stories but not what the protagonist feels and has felt.  

I listen to Etta James, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke and think “If I said things so plainly right now, he’d run” and wish I could have lived then. Back when we could frankly speak about our devotion, our adoration for another being, our pain, without needing to make it look pretty. I wish we could still be blunt and it wouldn’t be too crude for people to handle. 

I was listening to the Miseducation of Lauryn Hill last night and as Ex Factor, When it hurts so Bad and I used to love him drifted out through the speakers I thought “This is all that needed to be said and it was. We loved it because it was simple and honest, pure, and yet we can never simply say that’s what it was.”.

 

I’m nostalgic for a time where honesty in Love, in Life, was the norm. And I’ve never even known such a time. 

Now is the time when you’re a part of the minority if you don’t keep people at arm’s length. A time when you’re odd if you feel, and think.

A time when you’re the odd one out if you still cry and show that you’re alive. 

And I’m not dealing well with that. 

“This is crazy.” – Lauryn Hill

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