The Underbelly of This Seam

Robert has such a way with words. I love reading what he has to offer the WordPress community. I cannot imagine anyone not following him, but if you are a fan of in-depth and insightful poetry, you truly should check him out.

The Underbelly of This Seam Slides beneath your gaze, unnoticed, but the joining satisfies that particular urge, combining two separates into one whole, creating this new piece. I thumb the string on every fourth beat, anchor the cloth, pull it taut, and stitch. What better material than air and silence? Yesterday’s tune, tomorrow’s silk? […]

The Underbelly of This Seam

You Can’t Run Away From Yourself

I know. I’ve tried.

November 2018, post-wisdom tooth removal. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

It wasn’t self-hate. I wasn’t trying to torture myself or beat myself into non-existence. I just wanted a break away from who I was, the things that happened to me, and the success that I couldn’t seem to attain. I wanted to fade away, to leap into the body and mind of someone else other than me. I wanted my freedom — to be unhinged and removed from the only person I knew better than anyone else. But guess what? Here I am. Here is where I’ll always be.

“And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” — Confucius

During my pre-therapy days, approximately two years ago, I would soak myself in negative thoughts. Sure, I could drum up positive feedback, words of affirmation, terms of endearment, and spread love to others —at my core, I was rotting — wasting away. I didn’t have the energy nor did I want to salvage the me hidden deep within.

Much of my adult life has been riddled with me trying to outdo my previous accomplishments then shaming myself when I couldn’t.

I left home when I was eighteen years old. My parents had been divorced since I was twelve and my stepfather wasn’t my favorite person. My mom wasn’t either — not at that time. During those years and several prior, she’d been on drugs and a violent alcoholic. So when college called, I went running toward it.

When someone you love deeply threatens to chop off any of your usable limbs while holding a machete simply because you stepped in to initiate peace between them and their spouse, it’s time to go. My mother became the person I ran away from first.

I wanted to fade away, to leap into the body and mind of someone else other than me.

The one person I loved the most, regardless of how quickly and viciously she changed, was the person who physically abused me, stole from me, left our home for days on end to be with other people (forget the fact her own children were at home, fending for themselves), called me various unsettling and belittling names, and said on more than one occasion “I just want to have fun” was the one person I begged to see me — please see me and love me. She couldn’t. Not during those days. Not without help.


Smiling Baby Tre, 1981. Photo of a photo.

Running away from my mom meant, in a sense, that I was also running away from myself. And I would do so for at least another fifteen years. Whether you want to believe it or not, there are pieces of you you’ve inherited from your parents and some of those pieces are the remnants of them you hate the most.

Anger built up in me. I was pessimistic. I had a condescending remark or rebuttal for everything. People lost interest in being around me. In all honesty, when I think back on those times, I don’t blame them.

Some well-respected and beloved relationships had been severed. There was no going back. I could only move forward.

I didn’t have the energy nor did I want to salvage the me hidden deep within.

According to Jon Jaehnig in Better Help:

Inherited behaviors are behaviors that are passed down genetically. Our genes control things like our hair type and color, our eye color, and our height—but we don’t usually think of them controlling our behavior. That’s partly because most of our behaviors are learned, rather than inherited.

No one tells you when you’re a teenager you will probably go through a phase in early adulthood where you recognize the hated behaviors of your parents and what’s worse, by yourself, you cannot get rid of them.

I was blooming into the person I couldn’t stomach and the world around me silently judged me for it.

As I grew older, I was able to point out the behaviors that needed changing and focus on how to do that. Genetically, there was and is no changing me, but various actions, those could be altered, finessed . . . they could be poked and prodded and shaped into better actions.

Mark Manson strongly believes in this method. He posits — a person cannot change who they are, it’s impossible, but that person can change their actions.

You can’t change. Like a thirsty man in a desert chasing a mirage, or a fat man peering into an empty fridge—there’s nothing there. So stop chasing it. Go do something else instead.

As I pressed forward into my mid-30s, various behaviors were noted, addressed, and have been and are being altered. I had to see myself for who I was in order to work on becoming better. I had to face myself, lure myself in, tackle the actions and pieces of me that broke through to the surface, and put in the work.


You will always be you. The parts of you you’ve avoided that need shifting or “finessing”, you will have to address. You will have to get knee-deep in the muck of who you are, dig for gold, and once it’s found, shine it to semi-perfection.

Attempting to run away from the very person you could always be may possibly lead to more damage. The weight of your very being is a hard one to carry but think about the outcome it could have if you run toward who you can become instead of running away from who you are (not genetically speaking).

I hope you will be able to give it a try, that is, if you are ready.

My mom also found her way to the person she was struggling to become. Her journey has been a long and arduous one — one I am grateful she had to experience in order to see the person she buried deep within herself decades ago. Ours is a story built on patience, strength, and forgiveness. We will always be working on us but it is much more beautiful now.

She’s a love I am happy to have.

I used to look in the mirror and see a woman I wanted to look away from. I now see a woman I want to run toward — I want to hug and hold her and settle into loving her forever. It was a long row to hoe and tilling my fields warranted a necessary harvest.

I am living in the abundance of that harvest.


Originally published in P. S. I Love You via Medium.

We Were Like That Lenny Kravitz Song Until We Were Finally Over

Rhythmic Prose

Photo by Jakayla Toney via Unsplash

Sometimes, I miss it. Sometimes, I don’t. You know . . . Us. It doesn’t hit me as hard as it used to when I was crawling through my twenties or attempting to climb my way through my thirties. But on those dreary, cold days where the wind is blowing harder than the predicted chill, I find myself lost in thoughts of you . . . of Us. And I do drift to a place where it’s not so easy to leave — the comfort of it can be damaging.

And who would blame me at this point? Good memories are hard to come by these days and I have enough stored up so I can pull from them at will. Isn’t that a blessing? Isn’t that something for which to be thankful? You would say so. I know this. You saw God in everything including the devil that wrapped himself up in us. You would call us golden if someone gave you the floor long enough to gloat.

I find myself lost in thoughts of you . . . of Us.

I didn’t mean to stray so far away but I was hungry — in search of other ways of getting fed and the easiest route was the one that led to strings being plucked by long, slender fingers and a voice like crème brûlée— sweet & smooth. I stuck to those things. Tangible and present. Different from what I had begun to see in you.

I could never deny the fire burning in us. We stoked it for years, poking at it with thick sticks, setting apart the embers. We had learned how to pull back just in time to save ourselves from becoming charred — scarred for life or disposable.

You saw God in everything including the devil that wrapped himself up in us.

We were music. Classical? Rhythm & Blues? Funk? Maybe we were jazz. The ease of each tune dancing across a room or a verse of scats uttered quickly by chocolate-covered lips. We lasted for hours on play. The B-side was the best side. The B-side was my best side.

Back and forth. Over and over. We had our best days and our worst days and some would say we were like that one Lenny Kravitz song until we were finally over. No more violins or bass riffs. No more snare taps or saxophone rips. No crooning or gyrating at the mic . . . We were — until we weren’t. We grew until we couldn’t.

I was hungry — in search of other ways of getting fed.

And it took so long to get to that place. What were we waiting for?

YouTube

Originally published on Medium.

Stop Using Love

What in you says you actually love when it doesn’t seem so? How is it you can say you love someone when you don’t call, text, write, or haven’t heard their voice in years? Why would you say you love people even though nothing about your actions suggest this is true? Love is action, what are you doing to prove you truly love someone?

What?! Do you know what love is? Do you know what it takes to love another? Can you even try?

It’s time to stop using a word you aren’t actually using. Be real about what you do and don’t do.

Be real about who you are to others. Get to know the person in the mirror staring back at you. Love doesn’t need you lying on or about it. Stop using love.