BY THE SKIN OF THESE WORDS


This work is a memoir too many years in the making. 

Our personal stories of survival are deeply intwined with the massive atrocities of politics and economics. 

Our private terrors and the intimate violence we experience in our families is part of the much larger story of culture; of our collective history steeped in dangers too numerous and too dark to name all at once.

Our travels across the territory of memory and connection are fraught with loss, with intangible desires. 

If we are strong and if we are lucky, these travels bring us to a place where only joy can save us. If we are lucky our travels bring us to a cliff where only the choice to become who we most want to become can heal us.

If we are strong and if we are lucky, our travels bring us to a place where we make a choice to put our hands out to all the others who know the terror, who know the wound. If we are strong and if we are lucky we become someone necessary. 

When you cross dark territory because you must, remember this: I know you and I love you. Remember: the wounded are everywhere and we know you and we love you and we need you.

The dark story matters. Survival is complicated and healing is not something we do once, it is something we do over and over and over again. 

Disappointing as it may be to find ourselves in the darkness again, we heal anyway. We heal again and again. 

We do it because we are strong. We do it because we have made ourselves necessary. We do it because we are stubborn and beautiful. We do it because we are unwilling to leave here without knowing we did everything we could to reach the others. We do it because it matters. 

We do it for each other.

I traveled with my own stories, telling them over and over to whomever needed to hear them. And what I learned from all of you hurt my heart and expanded my resolve.

What I learned from all of you is that traumatic experience is the standard and not the exception.

I remain devastated by this truth. 

I remain vigilant in my stance that you have every reason and right to be as angry as you feel for as long as it takes. And you may become angry all over again whenever you need, whenever that is what erupts within. 

I remain vigilant in telling you that forgiveness is a choice and even when you choose it, you will have to choose it again and again and again.

Like love and like honor, like courage and like generosity, forgiveness is a choice we make over and over and over.

It is precisely this action of choice, again and again, this action of choice is what makes forgiveness our own. Like courage, like honor, like love, it is our choice that makes it ours.

I will do more work on these stories as my healing and hurting continues to flow.

For those of you who have been present for these transformations: I thank you.

For those of you still in crossing: I burn bright fires on the other side of the darkest territory you cross. Your path is most beautiful and I know because my longing for you makes it so.

xxo


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