Susan Smith CC
"One wonders at the survival of tendrils and filaments of life in the unlived, almost invisible good in depths of desolation... Birth goes on all life long, yet we remain born-unborn, with the sense that our life is an incomplete moment. There are ways notions of "complete", "total", "whole" can be persecutory. There are many pleasures in a semi-born life, even if one is partly stuck in stone." -Michael Eigen
I can only hope what we have built of this place over the years feels like a safe, intentional and healing space; like an old friend, when you're hurting, with his or her chair drawn close to yours. To mend is the destination. Yet contrary to the easiest of definitions; healing hurts. We don't always go from a state of broken to a place of whole. In fact many of us often find that we can go for decades without even feeling the pain of our many fractures. We disassociate like a first nature from the origin of our hurt, and find that discovering the locus of that pain can be, not just world shattering, but utterly disembodying.
We need these bodies to make sense. And shutting out what we cannot digest is the only way of loving and of living sometimes. But we pay a price for putting off what we fail to feel authentically for a tomorrow that never comes.
We have more moving parts than we know what to do with. Sometimes a capacity turns into an incapacity, what was just a moment ago brightly lit suddenly goes dark and vice a versa.
The darkest measure of our lives finds its weird little dance partner in stuff we didn't always know much about; tenderness, love, mercy; not just words we had heard about but never really trusted, actual spaces we move in and out of. The whole aching deal is that it must all go together, what fits and what doesn't.
A space can be terrifying when you don't know every corner of it, comforting when you think you do. We inhabit our bodies like stories, so sure that we've heard this one before, but, maybe not this chapter. We work through long periods of frustration before we can call forth from our great divide muted glimpses of what has been calling out to us all these years.
We eventually feel understood not through grand gestures but through small happenings. The work that people most often bring us is just this; fragments of healing mixed with a whole lot of hurt. And so a space is always a bit of both; terror and comfort.
This month our contributors broached the difficult topic of addiction and recovery in an abundance of courage and resolve. Some entrusted us with the first poems they had ever shared with anyone about growing up in dysfunctional, alcoholic households. Others with the very first poems they've ever showed anyone, period. That the space we've cultivated here has felt, not just safe, but like an invitation to share the most vulnerable stories, and to trust that these are in good hands, is not ever something I take lightly. I am continuously awed by what you've shown us of your difficult, necessary worlds.
We began our project here at Anti-Heroin Chic with a rather difficult question; why the pain? Those that can still answer that, even in the form of a scream, are warriors of all that did not destroy them. Not that parts of us didn't in fact die along the way, but that more parts got through than we sometimes know what to do with. So many, many parts.
As an intentional space I often feel we are practicing at the margins, yet everyone here contributes from the inside. Outside/inside. We're all here, together, in this space, for a moment. Sometimes a moment is enough.
Creativity often means waiting for unknown emotional reality to build and to bud. We can be so brutal, to ourselves and to others, when we think we know. Including when we think we know what a space is. Or a body or a heart.
What I have found most true in therapy I have found most true as an editor; that listening, holding space, is a sacred and risky endeavor. And when I think of what I gained from those who held those difficult spaces for me, I can only hope it is what those who've shared their work here might have found also; something essential in them believed.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.