Three letters with the power to destroy, to annihilate, to burn everything down.
These three letters can throw the scale off balance, topple the house of cards, bring the whole damn thing down. You shake your head; I see you disagree with me. Bear with me, stay with me for a moment.
Let me start with this:
Too large, too big, too heavy
The weight of my grief, of all the sad stories that I carry hang on my soul, just as my rolls of soft, stretched flesh hang on my bones. Countless times I wanted to cut off parts of my body, my soft stomach, my jiggly thighs, my sagging breast. In my mind, I take a pair of scissors and slice off the “too-much” parts of me. They lay like slices of raw meat on a platter (sacrificial offerings!) Then I slice off all the sad stories — stories of daughter-grief, of violence and trauma, and — the heaviest one of all — shame. They bleed down my arms, between my ribs, my thighs (and you avert your eyes.)
I remember the first time someone told me that my body was too heavy. I can still recall the shock and disbelief, followed by shame. My seven-year-old mind could not comprehend how this glorious body could be wrong. But the ground opened up and swallowed me, my shame swallowed me, and — though I’m trying — I still haven’t found the way back to that gloriousness.
Too nice, too good, too quiet
Regrets lie next to me like a constant companion, like shadows tied to your feet. Maybe that’s why I run, all the time. But it’s not enough. Even after twenty or thirty miles, I still can’t outrun myself. I see now that I was the too-good mother, the too-nice mother when I should have been the fucking fire-breathing dragon mother — I should have burned that shit down for you. And I should have burned that shit down for me too.
Older now, I understand that regrets, like trauma, are passed down from woman to woman. Like a bloody heirloom, a red-stained family crest. The regrets of my grandmothers, my aunts, my mothers, my sisters — we were all too nice, too good, too quiet when we should have owned our words; worn the loud, tight clothes; claimed our space with flung out hips and our hair thrown back. And we should’ve been loved for it. What a legacy that would have been.
Too sad, too much, too long
People whisper, is she still depressed? She’s so sad. It’s been over a year now, it’s been too long. Those people don’t understand that the days are long and short at the same time. It feels like no-time and forever in the same breath. So I write. I write about my should-have-lived child, I write all the words that my younger self wanted to say, but didn’t know how. My words anchor me to the living, they give me a way to move through the now, to braid joy and sorrow even as I carry this absence, these traumas.
My secret solace is twilight. Twilight is when sacred words float up to my hands, my mouth. As often as I can, I walk the shore of the lake as the sun sets. I pick up stone, after stone — holding them in my hand, blessing these smooth, river stones. Then I put them back — these words warmed by my hand and by the fading sun.
So I ask you this — who decided this? Who gets to throw this word at us, carelessly, leaving wreckage in its wake? Who says we are too much? That we take up too much space? That we’ve cried too long for a dead daughter?
Fuck them. Let’s burn this shit down. Let’s make a motherloving glorious bonfire.