Before Mr. PNU, I thought I knew who I was, found myself firmly grounded in that skin.
If trauma splits the self then how many compartments are threaded along the line of personhood? And how does one gather them back in?
In my youth I felt I carried three women inside my body; the girl, the woman, the hag. I often imagined myself in the twilight of life—white hair pulled back, a lose shift brushing my knees dirt-covered from kneeling in my garden around a quiet porch. In the end I see myself alone. And as the day sinks behind the western horizon, all lights and selves I carry dim with it.
But I can't find the hag's contentedness in me now, her body's gentle resignation. I can't find my self. Only the outline of the skin's baggage. Memories of past selves are a clutter of competing voices; the vacuum, a swirl of lacking definition. I hunger for clean lines and absolutes. Emotion all in a row.
I spent most of my childhood alone with words, and art, and music; talked to myself more than I did other people. I learned about myself as defined with a deep sense of separateness or disbelonging. I don't believe I didn't want love, but that I never learned how it is formulated, and so perhaps I've spent my life as both pursuant and combatant. And perhaps why as an adult I've been so unsettled each time romance happens. Frenetic. Companionships are made, if not fabricated like imaginary playmates. Love is a creative act. The comfort of leaving the self to meet the other comes about as an unholy risk. I stumble in, make art, stumble out. Return to the quiet. Remember the surrender of control in belonging and dance back. My skin becomes a bag for tumult. How does the lonely child learn to be settled in herself? She further splits, fragments, disarticulates from one state of continuity to another. And here I am: fractured again.
For my loss, I don't weep often enough.
I don't weep often enough.
Not nearly often enough.
I hardly weep.