clanged back the doors.

by Adelaide Crapsey

With swift
Great sweep of her
Magnificent arm my pain
Clanged back the doors that shut my soul
From life.

(You are all fired as my friends for not introducing me to Adelaide Crapsey before. This poem took my breath away.)

When I took the Glen Workshop last summer, one of the things that Lauren Winner said (and this is a paraphrase) was that if you find yourself writing around something, you should probably take some time to examine what that thing is and push into it to see what you are avoiding. Because that painful thing you are stepping around? That’s where the story is. Her words resonated with me because I have the tendency to want to smooth things out. I want stories to tie up with nice neat bows.

Of course, real life is nothing like that. There are frayed and raggedy edges everywhere. Broken relationships and faltering forgiveness and loneliness and patience worn thin. There is no instagram filter for unfulfilled dreams, misunderstandings, painful memories.

There is only the truth: that it hurts.

This year, part of what I have been saying yes to is the truth. That wasn’t part of the plan, but challenging myself to try new things to do has led me to be honest with myself in new ways.

I believe it is powerful to name things for what they are, and as I have admitted to myself some unresolved feelings about certain events or arguments or words or relationships, I have felt the freedom that the truth brings. I have pushed into that disappointment and despair and the doors have not clanged open, but I can see the sunshine and feel the breeze.

This is real life, and it is broken and beautiful.

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