I grew up with the narrative that the world was against us.  Every time my father tried for something I held my breath, I gripped the airplane seat to keep it all afloat.  And if he failed, I had failed, the world had failed, god had failed us, me, for I didn’t know how to separate myself at that time. 

It followed me as I did separate, a thin, red string that got pulled and taunt when my heart got broken, or I had to stay on the line too long, when the bank account got dangerously low, and the car didn’t start. 

The world is against you, the world is against you, the world is against you equals I did something wrong, equals my being is bad to have raised my hand for more.  To have asked for seconds, help, for any single serving of some delicious pie, I could smell it on the window sill but got my hand slapped for wanting a slice. 

So, I kept my desires a tiny bit hidden, I kept them close so to not feel so much when the barricades came.  And they always come, because, well life and systems and oppression.  And then I punished myself for even wanting anything.  You can see how this began to tangle and knot and I tripped and tore my dress on this little red string. 

It’s been hard to untangle this string while it keeps getting knotted.  The only thing I can gather for now is to not struggle against it so much, to take the string in my hand and say to it, to myself, oh you are gathering again.  Here we go now, you are making some knots and tangles, I’m going to sit down for a bit. 

Here’s the other thing, what does a human do when they are feeling trapped?  They struggle.  They writher and wringle and buck and bump and shimmy.  My knots got tighter and then I told myself I was doing it wrong, I made this all happen.  It was all very distracting and disloyal to myself. 

John’s leg is broken, not even two years after they cracked his chest open to remove an infected heart valve, he is going under again to screw back together torn ligaments, a spiral, unstable fractured bone that will need a plate.  He did a number on himself again.

And I feel knots at my wrists, at my feet, I’m all tied up on some cross of disbelief that this is even happening at the beginning of a new year, I naively thought I was protected for a bit.  I can strangle myself on this spool of thread–also, where does it keep coming from, this never ending string, is it tied celestially in the heavens, a big spool that turns and gathers, are their beings making this thread or is it created by our own hands, our own systems, or own family stories of deserving the uncontrollable things that occur to us. 

I inherited a narrative of blame.  For a moment, many moments I struggled against the knotting with John’s upcoming surgery, I threw my head against the car seat and muttered, fuck, fuck, fuck.  I cried, I sobbed in every room and in every corner.  I made arrangements and I figured out schedules and I tried to silver line it, and the knots got a little tighter on my wrists, ouch, I screamed, you are hurting me. 

Who is hurting me?  I sat down with my thoughts for a moment, my words stumbled out, and what came out, was this is hard.  It’s so goddamn hard, there is no solution and that pisses me off.  I didn’t do anything and John didn’t do anything and my kids didn’t do anything and still we suffer. 

So.  So, I sat down with my thread, in the present moment, in the aware moment I looked at the tangles and I touched a knot here and there, I could see some patterns, I could see the grooves. I put a bit of sting in my mouth, I tasted it, it was rust and dust and old news. 

I said I need to write in the morning, they loosened a bit, I said, this is shitty and I will need a break from this in 6 weeks, a little peek of a gap, they asked me what I needed and I sheepishly told them food and help keeping the house clean so I don’t lose my mind, the ankles are loose now. 

Hey, the last two years have been hard, like kick our asses hard, and, you are good.  John is good, your kids are good.  I can feel blood to my wrists again.  I look at the string at my feet, I have some compassion for it, for it has tried to keep me safe, keep me tethered to the only home base it has known, and I have asked it to cross state lines, start new adventures, trail alongside me while I jump off and into new valleys, it said I’m an umbilical cord to keep you close to yourself, I am protection.  Yes, yes, and now you keep me small. 

Thank you for your security, thank you, I’m going to need you to let me out a bit more, can we make a bow instead of a noose?  Can we just write some letters in the sand, like we are scared shitless but look, here’s the word brave and courageous, or how about the truth, tired? Scared?  And still going towards it. 

Come on, you can come too, but please no more tying up, weave me a dress of red beauty, make me a quilt to cover myself as I try new things.  Be a pillow as I say new words to my line, you are good, you are good, you are good. 

This is hard and you are still good.