But then

I’m an open book. I think most of you know that.. unless you just so happened to stumble across this blog and are now thinking “Ummmmm, you’re actually just some random stranger on the internet.” But I am — an open book, that is — not “some random stranger on the internet.” Unless I am?

And it’s good and bad, being an open book. It’s good because being honest and transparent – with yourself and to others – is freeing, and validating, and liberating. On the flip side, it’s bad because of this: when you allow people to look inside of you, so closely and so very deeply, they see things that they don’t like. Things that you ALSO do not like. It’s inevitable, really. And sometimes, they just end up not liking you.

I’ve lost friends since coming out. But I’ve also – unexpectedly – forged new friendships with people (people who surprised me) and have been able to deepen relationships with existing friends, and they have all been such a comfort to me. I have, without a doubt, sustained serious damages to relationships with family members, and that is what has inflicted the most poignant pain — what has caused the worst kind of mental and emotional conflict. I honestly worry about how coworkers view me, and I lie awake every single night, defeatedly wishing that I could go back to being normal (it was so incredibly easy) and then immediately feeling my chest constrict with terror, only to repeatedly – night after night – finally find sleep only after assenting to the fact that I’m unutterably relieved to have finally made contact with my soul. My true self. Through being honest with myself and by making myself vulnerable around others, I’ve been able to combat fears and regrets, acknowledge damages and wrongs, and open myself up to understanding, accepting, and loving myself even more deeply than I ever thought was possible. It’s honestly like I didn’t even realize that I didn’t know or like myself until I started searching and questioning… months ago. It’s been a real quest; an absolute adventure. For years, I was looking and talking and reaching out all of the time and never once thought to gaze (or even glance) in.  Very recently, I developed a new life theory, and it’s pretty simple: No one can possibly know or understand “you” as well as you can, and no one could possibly love you more either. I think that that’s where a lot – perhaps even the majority – of hurt and disappointment comes rushing in: we look to “something” or someone else to make us right, whole, happy, entertained or fulfilled. A special person; the perfect person. A certain place — the most magical place. A particular thing. An engrossing activity. But it’s when you’re sitting in a room by yourself, in the dark, sobbing and leaning up against the wall that you turn and face your biggest fear: you. Just you. At the end of each day, and first thing every morning, it’s just you. You. That’s it! Are you happy, being around yourself? Are you enough? Do you like yourself? Do you hate yourself? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you even trying (or remembering) to? Quit decorating your heart. Why quit? Because. It’s made to look lovely, or at least okay, on the outside, and then it is completely neglected. So quit. Instead, strip its walls bare and then venture inside of it. Disclaimer: It hurts, more than any kind of hurt you’ve probably ever experienced, but it’s so healing. There is such peace. It is so worth it.

I wrote a poem earlier this week (a challenge posed to me by a friend), and it felt very awkward — settling into a chair, opening my journal and re-entering that frame of mind. It had been years. But after a few apprehensive moments, I began writing, and this is what I wrote. It’s simple and unremarkable, but I think that – for those listening – it’ll make sense.

“But then”

My muscles ache from holding back
They tense, they move; they halt, retract
I’m gazing in the mirror at
A broken woman, a bashful man

He’s just a boy
He doesn’t know
Which laugh to use
Whose hand to hold

He comes alive
And it feels like home
He’s grounded while weightless..
In love with his soul

But now everyone is watching
And their eyes are like a spell
So he’s running back to darkness
To ghosts who know him well

But no one’s REALLY seeing
Because EVERYONE is high
While he blazes like a wildfire
On the deepest, darkest night

And when he’s simply gone
Like a cool and whispered goodbye
You thought you might have felt it
But then something caught your eye

That’s a pretty sad note to end on, isn’t it? At 9:47 PM on a Thursday. I’m not sad. Not today. Things are looking up. Life is changing; my being is in a constant state of flux, of movement, and I am walking (and, sometimes, limping — at other times, jogging) across an endless track of sights, sounds, scenes and situations, where I’m ceaselessly transitioning, evaluating, adjusting, presenting, reacting, retracting, evolving, deciding, and growing. Every second, each step. Even when I’m standing still, I’m submitting to revelation after revelation and easing – curving – into the perfect ebb and flow that’s guiding me home. It’s time for bed. It’s time to store these thoughts away until tomorrow, when I wake up, happy, and everything is okay and the routine starts all over again. So, as a harmless, hopeful and chipper night cap, here are some things that make me happy.

Burritos.

Good songs.

The rabbits enjoying their sesame stick treat in the morning.

The idea of a sharp, custom-fit tux and me, wearing it.

Fall.

Skateboarding through a breeze.

A worn journal, lined with soft, cottony, fabric and fiber pages.

Coasting down a hill, on my bike, in first gear, with the clutch pulled in. Perfect.

A clean house with real, live, green plants breathing life up into its ceiling, bedrooms and hallways. A German Shepherd, lying contentedly beside a crackling fire. A blanket. A shoulder to lean on. Crickets.

Spending the night in an open field; lying in the grass, flat on my back, and gazing up into outer space. Alone. Quiet. Unafraid.

And me. Finding, clutching, crying with, comforting, laughing at, caring for, staring at, fighting for, knowing, and loving.. me.

Aun Aqui

6 thoughts on “But then

  1. It seems like a huge mystery to me why and how being totally and utterly oneself, the person you are naturally without trying or struggling, is so terrifying and *hard* sometimes.

    1. Yep. Me too. The clearest conclusion I’ve come to is that these three things are what make it so difficult and terrifying: the people you love, the people you fear, and the idea of loneliness.

  2. You are on your journey through life and you have taken control of “yourself” as you know yourself.
    You are a unique beautiful person and I am proud to be included in your life, in your family.
    Hey maybe someday we’ll actually live on the same side of the globe!!
    I love you Jace (the rose) Yarborough.

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