All too well
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
- Pablo Neruda
|The Dish at sunrise, while morning run in Sept, 2023|
I had a dream of him last night. It has been 10 months, I thought, it should be over. But it's not over (yet). As Taylor's lyrics goes: "And I might be okay, but I'm not fine at all". It was a spacious cafe with the old style decor from seventies. Vintage furniture, classy bar table, high ceiling, big windows, lots of sunlight. It reminded me of that downtown cafe in Cairo I went for breakfast few years back. As I came in, unexpectedly, he was there. The strange thing is that before coming to that cafe, in my dream, there was some sort of a plan for us to meet later. But here we are, at this cafe. It felt exciting. And he was surprised as well. We ordered hot chocolate and I secretly asked waiter for rose macaroon. But he figured out it. Smart, as always...
The poetry, it has so much power. After we broke up, I started to write poems. For the first few months, I'd write, and cry. Then read it to myself, over and over, many times, until tears stop flowing like a river. Crying can be a therapeutic way to release pent-up emotions and stress. It provides relief from overwhelming feelings, and it can be a natural part of processing emotions. It's really good for mental health. It balances you. As much as meditation. Both crying and writing a poetry is like a therapy. My friends mostly don't get my poetry. But it works for me. One day hopefully I can write, so it relates more to others, like Pablo Neruda does it.
In February I was on Bali. It happened that a university friend Kien was there too and recommended this spa place, which I went to try out - mainly a combo of dry, steam saunas and hot/cold pools which you rotate every 10-15 min or so.
|The Istana Spa, Bali|
It was a rainy warm day. I was standing there, outside closer to the edge of the cliff (but with safe distance), tears mixed with rain drops flowing down my cheeks, and recited lines of my poetry like a mantra:
As sun comes after rain
One day we find love
and Love will find us again
These are the final lines from "Without Saying Anything to Anyone" is one of my favorite poems I've written to date. After reading it multiple times to myself, eventually I sensed a separation. I lost a sense of "me" in those lines, and begun to view it as an external reader. Or more like an experience that I no longer choose to identify with. It's about me and my experience, but, at the same time, it's not about me anymore. That's what "letting go" means. And I am immensely grateful for finding poetry as a vehicle to process the grief.
It made me wonder about the choice of narrative. We narrate our stories, every day, verbally and inside of our head. That story narrative is a life story. But it made me more aware of the narrative I present and choose. Thus I asked:
How much do I want to be associated with this narrative?
The narrative is my life, but it isn't. I missed my ex "like a thirsty man in the midst of desert misses water, oh water". My sister speculated that amount of poetry I have written will be sufficient for publication in form of a book. However, shortly after we finally broken up, Carrie asked: "Do you guys try to get back together?", the instinctual response was: "Gods, no!":
You can love a person deeply, miss them desperately, but at the same time be accepting that they are no longer in your life.
Loving someone does not necessarily imply relating to them. The old ways of relating to each other no longer worked. The new ways we could not figure out. A part of me wanted to be out of that relationship, another part wanted to stay in. And this part that wanted to stay in the relationship writes all that poetry. That's the magic of being human: having all these conflicting ideas and feelings, when we can love and hate at the same time. The question is how to integrate those inner conflicting narratives and make a choice as a whole self. I accept and compromise, while trying not to pick sides that makes me feel comfortable. It's easy to set a blame, but blame is the way to discharge pain and discomfort. And I am not up for an easy path. At the end, it was mutual, we both came to the conclusion that it was not working despite us trying.
Maybe we tried too hard to resurrect what was dead long before we both finally admitted it.
It's easy to kill the relationship, but it's hard to kill love. I did not realise how big and deep my love was (and remain is) for him. Huge. Like to no one before. A part of me liked to think that separating was for the better, however:
...and [I] wish you well with whoever you choose to be
It is alright that this person isn’t me.
It's not for the better, neither for the worse that we are no longer together, it's rather alright.
And yet this love is allowed to stay. There is no reason to banish it. He is always allowed to matter so much to me. And more people can matter that much as well. It's like living in the feeling of abundance. I tried to convey that through the piece of poetry "This love is allowed to stay":