Ashley Wilda


Month: December 2017 (page 2 of 2)

regret nothing, or you’ll never fly

As this new year comes around, as Christmas peeks its faerie lights around the corner, as the whisper of snowflakes to be begin to kiss the air… I find myself thinking of beginnings. and endings. and what I hope for and what I fear. and what I’m going to do with those answers I find.

I’m afraid. I can say that much. I will admit I’ve been scared out of my mind for most of the last year. I can admit now that I’ve been sad for most of the last year, and anxious. I can also say that I don’t want to be that way any more. I can also say I don’t want to let go.

There’s other things I can say about this year. Amazing things. Things so unexpected and warm and incredible that now that they’re gone they hurt to think about even as they make me smile. The absence of those things is what makes me sad. It’s one thing, and more than one thing. It’s one big thing and many things around it. I don’t want to leave those things behind in this year. I want to take them with me, but I’m scared that if I take them with me in the same way, they’ll keep on making life too heavy.

My mind keeps circling around to one night. When I let someone really dear to me hold me close for the last time. He said, “we’re going to be okay.” I wanted to believe that. Really badly. But when months rolled around and there wasn’t a ‘we’ anymore, not the way I wanted it to be, it wasn’t true. I wasn’t okay. And I’m still not okay.

For a long time I didn’t know if I could be okay. Someone would say, you’re going to be okay, and I kind of hated them for it. How could they say that when I didn’t even know? But now, looking into this next year, for the first time I can say it to myself and believe it. I’m still not okay. But I know that somehow, someday, I’m going to be. I don’t know when, exactly. But someday. And I want to be moving toward that, even though I know that some days won’t feel like moving at all.

But that said… I know that I can’t leave any regrets behind in this year. I need to say everything that’s in my heart, or at least make it available to be heard. I need to do everything I feel like I need to do. It’s better to regret doing something than regret not doing something. (at least, in most cases) If I walk into next year and find myself still alone, I need to know that I did everything I could do. I need to know it’s not my fault. I need to know that if there was even a sliver of a chance, that I took it. I can’t be confident in myself any other way. I can’t leave it to God and try to find my dreams again without that.

Does this scare me? Heck yes. Heck. Yes.

But in the end, my fear doesn’t matter. What I do, does.

Do I want to walk into this next year alone? Um, heck no. Do I want to find connection again? Do I want to hold tight to this big hope and not let go? It’s all I’ve been able to think about for the last year. And whether or not anything changes before the year’s end, I’m still going to carry that hope with me into the next year, along with my memories. No matter what happens. That hope, those memories, are part of who I am. I’ll just walk into January with the resolve that this year, I won’t let them crush me. No matter if seeds turn into saplings, or if the ground stays hard and cold. I won’t die with them, even as I carry the prayer of growth along with me. I’m done feeling dead.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t wish that I could return to that moment, and hear those words change… ‘we are okay.’

I’m scared to open my heart and reveal everything that’s inside. That’s scary no matter the situation. But, in a bittersweet way, I don’t have anything to lose anymore. I’m jumping off the edge. Either someone will catch me, or I’ll fly solo. But either way, this barren cliff won’t be my home anymore.

My Mom once told me, “God won’t let you lose true home.” That rings true. No matter where I want true home to be, no matter where I think it is, no matter who I think it is, God won’t let me lose it. And as I step into the unknown, that is something I can count on.

snapshot from a Monday afternoon

I’m driving from the museum and there’s this guy standing on the median. young, with a beard and floppy longish brown hair. and a sign. he’s holding a piece of cardboard that says something like, $1 for a burger. there’s nothing unusual about this; I see a lot of people like him driving  to and from work in the city. but he’s probably not much older than me. and he could be anybody. he could be somebody I know. or could have known. and he’s probably got something to be sad about too.

something inside me constricts, and before I know it a crinkled piece of green moves from my hand to his through the window. his hair is a little greasy and his nails a tad bit too long and his thank-you sounds sincere. I want to ask his name, feel a need to know it, but don’t or can’t, I’m not sure which, the desire gets stuck halfway up before it has the chance to turn into words. and the light changes and the car moves and all of a sudden I’m crying and I don’t know why. that in itself is not unusual for me. but often it has nothing to do with other people. usually it’s about the pain I keep bottled up inside and buried where it’s the hardest for me to see it until my body says that’s it. and this moment is about that. and it isn’t.

usually, pain isolates. at least, that’s what it does to me. it wraps me in an atmosphere of alone and helplessness and misunderstanding and I can’t–or won’t–reach through and no one else can, or I won’t let them. but I’m either a nonfunctioning rain puddle on a gray day or a vibrating mess of scribbles on a forgotten sticky note or a hard, hard shell of armor that’s as brittle and unfeeling as a bone found in the woods in last year’s leaves. but no matter what it feels like, my pain isolates. because it’s somehow too much to deal with and so my heart kicks into emergency protocol–stop feeling for other people. better yet, don’t feel at all.

that’s just how it is.


but I’m becoming aware that perhaps there exists these other moments. ones where, instead of drawing me inward, folding me into myself, pain suddenly flips my insides out, throwing off my plodding mental equilibrium, and all of a sudden it is the opposite–

I’m feeling for the whole world.

the whole beautiful, terrible world.

and it’s saying, everything hurts.

but then after a blinding second everything collapses down again and I am just left with myself, my own world, my own missing, my own hole that I can’t seem to fill, and I wonder, maybe I just imagined it. maybe I just wanted to feel connected to something other than myself again. because in the end, myself is simply not enough.

the moon says to me

longing for you

tries to split my body open

parting down the middle like a string bean

struggling out of my skin

like an animal scrabbling with blunted claws

what is it, what is it

my heart heaves, it cries

tell me what it is

this terrible thing burning me away from the inside

love, comes the answer from far away

white,  bright, full

looking down from high window

hush, my darling, hush

it is love

and there is nothing you can do

but endure

and my tears prick me

like a dagger to the chest

some nights, always.

some nights, sadness dribbles down on me like rain on a roof.

some nights, it is a hot, wet blanket, heavy and suffocating.

some nights, it is nothingness. but as real as the air I breathe.

but always… there is missing you.

always, I wish I could lie next to you. look at the stars. try to match your breathing.

always, I wish I could hear you. talk about anything. everything. I’ll just sit and listen.

always, I wish I could reach out and touch you again. feel like we’re going to be okay.

I would be happy if I could have you some nights, for always.

and so on these nights, I am somehow, always, missing you.

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