Los Ojos de las Madres

I got home just before midnight. In spite of the time, my mother was awake, still tending to all the duties of a homemaker. I sat with her in the kitchen as I tried to hide my drunkenness under the Christmas lights still strewn about the place. The cat stirred at the sound of my voice, walked up, and collapsed at my feet. I make her dance lightly on her paws while we began to speak of all the things we had learned from the passing year. The early morning hours waning on as the cat silently resigned to her fate as an unwilling marionette. 

We speak of gratitude. How the practice of giving thanks fully eclipses what we feel we are lacking when we’ve conditioned ourselves to be grateful for all the things we do have. The things often overlooked, taken for granted, or held to a standard of expectations; when these things we should hold in daily gratitude are anything but a standard–they are a duty to be continually committed to. And it is the commitment to these duties that is the spine of real love; all else is just brittle infatuation and would snap in twain under the slightest weight.

Finally, I let the cat escape. I tell my mother I look forward to the future with optimistic and keen vision. Her face is swollen and beaming with the countenance of a proud parent. I realize right then how much more I want to strive to put that look on her face. I look into her watery eyes as they shimmer red and green from the holiday glow and tell her I am proud of myself too. Going so far as to claim I know what I am worth, because I have come to love myself. 

She pauses. The maternal pride that was there only moments before suddenly stricken from her face and I have no idea how to get it back. “Son,” she says stoically, searching for the words. “You cannot say you truly value yourself when you…drink the way you do. That is NOT loving yourself. If you loved yourself, you wouldn’t keep doing this to you. You’ve seen how addiction hits this family. People have drank themselves to death, and others are still doing the same thing, right now, in spite of all of that…” 

She had her words now, “You how to buy lasix online HAVE to be http://breakumradio.com/d/oJ4WkU2hBlY HERE. I don’t want to see you go anywhere.” 

I could only nod. I was unable to look at her, because she was truth and I was still full of so many lies. The eyes of mothers, how they see everything in spite of our best efforts.

I don’t know how long I was unable to answer, but sometime between the then and now she asked if she could hug me. Something about my face must have said I wanted anything but to be touched and I still have no idea how to take that goddamn mask off. I nod behind the veneer I hide behind. 

“You are amazing,” she says into my shoulder as her arms wrap around me. “And so, so loved. Please know that.” 

“I know,” I stammered as I returned her embrace. “I will be better. I will.” 

This is my duty. To be better. To be here. For her and the others whom I love. I thanked my mother, because I was grateful. Suddenly, I was aware that I lacked nothing.

Hollowed Out by Knives

It’s New Years Day. Blinding light leaks in through the blinds and I am much too afraid to check the time. I don’t dare to get up to feel just how bad my hangover is. I stay where I am, awkwardly collapsed on a familiar couch. Flashes of last night flood my memory. There was a lot of love orbiting around the room and so many times I truly felt like the Sun. There was also a lot of residual pain strewn about the space–gravity seemed so much denser among the banners and shimmering balloons, as we took our last glances back at what was quite a harrowing year for many of us. 

It’s New Years Eve. My friend is telling me how thankful he is for me. How, in spite of this year trying to break him at almost every possible turn, I was a part of so much good. It’s hours before midnight and already in his arms I know that this coming year will be a time of bonds and promises kept. I have found my place. I thank him for giving me a sense of home for the first time in a long, long while.

So we lift our glasses in an attempt to lift our spirits. But still, I feel an air of somberness to the celebration. As if a great battle had been won, but at a terrible price none of us were prepared to pay. Perhaps this was a projection I was painting on their faces, more than a sense of empathy. It’s true, I get so often confused between the two. 

Sometimes, life demands these tolls and we call it ‘loss’. To not pay them, arrests you in arrears. There are debts to be paid, and the levees are inescapable; such is the cost of living. This is simply the way of things. It’s neither inherently bad, nor is it altogether completely devoid of goodness–it just is. 

I wonder how many times I have said this to people? Too much and not enough. 

I have taken great solace in a poem in the ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran, “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked…The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?” 

Throughout the evening I kept finding myself saying that I will not count this last year as a loss, but rather a time of lessons learned. Lessons that will spare me from repeating mistake after mistake at the cost of time; the only true currency and that, in itself, is a construct I suppose. I am rambling again. I hope there is coffee somewhere…I check the time, and I wish I hadn’t.

I have said pain has been my greatest professor. There is no gain without sacrifice. My pain has made me wise, but I paid for this wisdom. I am slowly turning grey digesting in the voracious belly of time. I have to count the exchange as equivalent; I advice must. The purpose and perspective must be assigned. There has to be a point, and the point is yours to make and keep sharp, to throw at the heart of some terrible and great beast. The heartbreak, the loss, the innumerable times I strayed far from my path knowing full well I was getting lost on purpose, have all indeed weathered myself weary and took things from me I will never get back. And this is simply the way of things.

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I am hollowed out by knives. I am as a canyon, pour your rivers into me. Make of me a container for all the love I have since denied. 

Because I have paid the cost a thousand times over. I am here to collect. I have won this love. I deserve this and I am so tired of hearing anyone say anything to the contrary. I am so damn worthy. We are so damn worthy of this. 

Let’s take what is ours. 

Happy New Year, my friend. 

Love, 

Ian