Petrichor (An Open Letter to my Soulmate) - words by Phenix Noire
Some people want success, money, power, and will stop at nothing till they get it. I’ve had people ask me what I want. I’ve always struggled to put it into words.
This. This is what I want. This is what I work tirelessly to achieve. It won’t be perfect, nor will it be easy but I have unfailing faith in that it will get here one day; and when it does, I’ll be ready to grab it with both hands.
So Soulmate - where ever you are, I’m waiting, working, dreaming. Hurry up and get here already, huh? The good times are waiting to roll….
Feet pounding out a rhythm on the blacktop. Sounding out a cadence that my heart knows so well. Dissolving into the night, becoming one of its shadows. I’m bleeding out my thoughts as I pass through the air, feeling the past slither off my skin, peeling off in opalescent shimmers, trailing me like a comet’s tail. Breath sliding in and out, effortlessly; muscles heating, feet keeping time with the beat of a wild heart. The city knows Me, I’m one of her nighttime secrets. I run her paths, dodging neon spotlights, and matching her heartbeat. I seek redemption and rebirth somewhere down her darkened alleys and shadowed streets. Mostly I just find enough peace to make it to another sunrise. I doesn’t matter - it’s all She can give and it’s enough for me.
“Rage, Rage against the dying of the light”
I am tired. I can’t rage anymore. I have fought hard my whole life. The same kind of fight that can be found in the heart of a wild Mustang being threatened with a bridle and a breaking. I’m exhausted. This fight isn’t for some temporary freedom. It makes no sense. I’m left feeling empty and wasted inside. Tasting the bitterness of a victory gone to ash in my mouth.
Why must everything in my life come down to how much heart I have? Why must everything be a god-damned fight. Why must I dig in and throw my shoulder against the overwhelming weight of “No” and gain inch by torturous inch - a “Yes”.
I’m so damned tired of fighting. Of scraping a victory from my torn and bloodied knees every time life knocks me down. I am angry that I’ve always had to grit my teeth and drop my head down and fuckingpush with all I have just to gain every little thing I’ve ever won for myself.
Damn it, I am tired and pushed to my almost-limits. If only life worked on the safe word system. My signale could fall with the barest whisper of sound, shattering the air around it like fractured glass; falling into that dark, pregnant pause right before everything stops.
You asked me once why my heart couldn’t belong completely to you. Your seafoam eyes searched mine in a moment of rare sincerity, your eyes were always green when you were riding the edge of emotion.
I don’t think I’d ever seen you crack open your hard exterior like that. You only did it when pushed to your limits, otherwise you’d maintain an icy distance from everyone - even me, the woman who supposedly shared your life.
I had shrugged back then, a fluid rising motion, hunching sinew and skin against a bitter truth; not really knowing how to explain that my heart knew you wouldn’t take care of it, even if my brain hadn’t made that jump yet. That’s not true - my head just didn’t want to acknowledge that it had to stop fighting the inevitable. Something in me knew that you weren’t where I was meant to end up.
That’s a chilling sentence to write, mostly because I realize as I push the keys a little too sharply into motion, listening to their staccato gunshot report as I type; that it’s a painful truth, one I’ve been hiding from myself for months, possibly years now. Even my fingers are angry with me for taking so long to figure it out. They chatter away, tapping I-told-you-so’s. It’s disappointing to realize that I’ve wasted all this time on something that, in the end, just slipped away.
Somewhere, deep down but rising fast - I feel the need for loving hands on my skin. Hands that will tenderly brush away the stains that have been marring my psyche after the water shakes them loose and makes them rise to the surface.
Stitches (words by Phenix-noire)
She always collected little threads and small pieces of shimmering fabric whenever they crossed her path. She was constantly picking things up and putting them in her pockets as she walked to work, back from the market, to the post office, or from returning a book to the library. Her pockets were always full of interesting things - brilliantly coloured threads, stones that looked like pieces of the sky, the occasional scrap of a wind-torn scarf, a small piece of bright glass, a bluebird’s feather, even spider silk woven by the spider outside the library door. They would all end up in jars and baskets that she kept in her sparse room. People always wondered at her jackdaw interest in bright things, simply writing her off as “Odd, that one …”
One night when the time felt right, she sat down at her sewing machine. The crescent moon began to make its climb up the sky, scattering bits of itself into her window and onto her floor as she sat and contemplated all the cast-offs that she’d painstakingly collected. She pulled all the scraps of torn cloth and little threads to her, letting them lie in brilliant abandon on her lap. She began stitching them together and slowly, miraculously; wings began to come together.
Aurora (words by Phenix-noire)
The older I get, the more I reflect that my ideas about growing up were so childish. They were made through the rose-colored glasses of expecting everything to be wonderful. If you had asked my 13 year old self what life would be like for me, her reply would have surely included a White Knight coming to carry her away to a shining ever-after. My white Knight came, he carried me away.
What that little idealist could never have anticipated was that ever-after didn’t last as long as we’d hoped it would. I say “we” because somewhere, deep down, I still want to believe in the dreams of my childhood. I want to have the white veil covering my face, I want to walk down the aisle to my Hero, my Champion. My eyes clinging to his during that moment - the moment when I know all my other moments in life will stem from. I want the happy house, smelling of fresh baked bread, surrounded in all my flowers, filled with the sound of laughing children and barking dogs, a large wooden table set with food and the feel of a soft kiss brushing my cheek. I want those dreams. I’m going to stop at nothing till I get them.
It’s been a long road. Happily-Ever-After came and went without me, while I stayed, naively hoping that it would return; but like a bird with a mended wing, Happily-Ever-After flew off to find another life to turn into a fairy tale. For a long time, my life has felt like a slog through a dark forest. I’ve been holding onto hope like it was my one tiny candle; burning bravely against the utter darkness, fighting off despair. I’ve put one foot in front of another, I’ve fought my way through brambles and mud, through poison ivy and tangles of branches. It’s been emotionally exhausting to find one more shred of hope as I moved forward, away from a life that might-have-been. There have been more times than I care to count where I just wanted to stop fighting, stop moving forward only to fall back, just give up.
I don’t know what’s kept me going. Perhaps, pure stubbornness? Maybe inner strength (although it makes me snort to think I’m strong). You either move forward in life or lay down and die. I’ve never been one to lay down so my only choice was to keep going, tears and all. I’m hoping my sunrise is coming. I’m hoping that the dawn approaches soon. I think I can see a brush of color staining my horizon, Oh God, please let it be a sunrise. I’ve waited a long time for the Sun. I’ve fought my way through endless night to watch it crest over the land and fall full on my face again. Here’s to hoping that dawn brings with it all the dreams my 13 year old self was so sure were coming. Here’s to Happily Ever After. Here’s to hope. Here’s to braving all on just the hope that happiness lies just a little further off…
The Message (words by Phenix-noire)
She’d been waiting to hear from him all day. Regretting the harsh words that had been spoken during the rush of high emotion last night. They hadn’t been too bad as far as things go, but for a new relationship - the first argument was always telling. Some relationships just couldn’t handle the stress that came from words spoken without the filter of careful thought. She must have picked up her phone and started typing the apology at least twenty times throughout the day but each time she’d type the text, the words just sounded wrong. Inept. Poor representatives of how badly she was regretting what she’d said. She was walking up the stairs to her apartment when her text message alert sounded and she’d paused, halfway up the stairs to check. It was from him. What she read left her legs unsteady in an uprush of pained emotion, she leaned against the railing. The text message contained only four words: I just can’t anymore. How quickly the world came crashing down.
#4 - The solution to most of (my) Life’s problems can be found when making a homemade Roast chicken and Crème brûlée. Something about the process of kitchen witchery lets my brain solve the more complex things while I focus on peeling potatoes and chopping parsley.
We were working on building a house, you and I. There were rings and a wedding dress to prove it. Invitations with little blue ribbons, scattered across the floor like the straw that lay strewn across the patio that time I tried to stuff a Halloween scarecrow. Stamps with little bells on them. Tiffany blue boxes (300 of them) that I meticulously folded, ribbons cut to fit with the words “Eat, Drink, and Be Married” on them. White shoes, my grandmother’s pearls, hopes and dreams I carried in my chest.
Somehow you just couldn’t find it in you to be excited to be my husband. You finally asked me to marry you after your mother asked you (in front of me, no less) “So, what’s next now that you’re done with school?” Man, you didn’t waste any time once Mama pointed it out that you’d waited so long. Two weeks later and that diamond was glittering away on my finger. But all those years that I waited? All those gentle coaxing moments where you knew I was waiting for you to tell me you wanted me to be yours? Yeah, I guess they didn’t matter.
It’s funny how after all that time I waited, wanting something nebulous - once it arrived, you still weren’t excited. Did you really think I would have married someone who didn’t need me as badly as I needed them in my life?
I wasn’t about to throw away all the years of my life on something that you didn’t want. That you couldn’t be excited about. That was chasing disaster. Chasing divorce. You won’t forgive me for expecting to be loved by the man I’ll call my Husband. Just thinking about those memories makes me feel like I’m staring at a broken down, destroyed shell of a house. It might have been a Home, once upon a time, but now we’ll never know, will we? You kicked the lintel post out, Happiness can’t hang from it. Laughter doesn’t hide under the dining room table and there is no place for waltzing, on the kitchen floor.
I’m taking my hopes and dreams and packing them into my patchwork bag. Like Mary Poppins, it’s time for me to pack up and pop open my umbrella for distant places. You had your chance, you threw it away (twice). You don’t expect me to kick around this popsicle stand forever, do you? What a waste of 12 years. Damn it.
Indelible (Words by Phenix-noire)
I wear my experiences on my skin. They are stained onto me, a map of all the places I’ve been. Some places have been good to me and I wish I could return, others have left a sour taste in my mouth; places where I’ve lost pieces of myself, left parts of my broken heart, or eddies where I’ve lain still for a while and stitched together my pieces. It’s been a challenging journey so far. I find myself reflecting that even as I wish life would be gentler with me, I’m glad it hasn’t been. I’ve become a fighter because of all the things I’ve gone through. I’ve learned how to pick myself up and dust myself off. I’ve learned that I can count on myself to save ME. I don’t need anyone else to hold me up, that I’m capable of doing it all by my lonesome. It’s a good feeling to know that you can do something. Despite the scars that life and its disappointments have left on me, that I somehow remain optimistic. That I can still turn my prow toward the horizon with a happy and eager heart and strike out for new skies dotted with foreign constellations. So, come on Life, give me scars, give me tears, give me heartache - let me live so that when I finally taste the honeyed sweet taste of happiness, I’ll appreciate it all the more. Until then? I’ll take the experiences tracking my skin. Make me live.
The scent of lily of the valley on my skin reconsecrates me after the damage your careless fingertips left.
Walking Out - (Words by Phenix-noire)
How do you even begin to find the way out of a Living Hell? Or a better question - how does one arrive at a personal nightmare without even knowing? When does the slide down that slippery slope to despair begin? Are there signposts along the way that warn the naive to “Turn Back Now” ? - - The answer is No.
Allow me to elaborate. Heretofore, I’ve been silent, private. Let me hold up a candle into the vast darkness that I once called Home. Abuse doesn’t always mean beatings and bruises. Sometimes it’s as simple as unending neglect. Other times it’s words that break you down or actions that scream louder than any violent act ever could.
It can destroy the spirit. It can spiral you down into a place in your subconscious where you become your own worst enemy, convinced that a love so twisted and warped is the way it should be. You forget how to be yourself - you become a shadow of your former self. You alienate yourself from those that love you: friends, family. You become numb and casually accept events that should be raising your little red warning flags.
Finding the strength to break free isn’t easy. It strips you down to the barest shade of yourself. It takes all of you and then some to find the courage to dream of a different life. Can it be done? YES. Is it easy? No. You’ll back slide. You’ll cry. You’ll hurt so bad you think you’ll never make it. Hold fast to the promise of what could be. Hold ON.
BUT I promise you, there will come a time when you make it to the top of that horrible climb and you’ll feel the sun on your face again. When you’ll breathe the clean air. When your skin will be yours again. When you do? Make sure you leave signposts for your fellow sisters who are making the climb. To those of you out there who might read this and think: ” Oh god…that’s me.” I’ve been where you are. I’ve made the climb. I’m almost out. You can do this. Break free, darling. You can. I can tell you - the air has never tasted sweeter than it did when I tasted freedom.
In the Midwest there is a story of a Medicine Woman called La Loba: the She-Wolf. She can’t be found unless she wants to be. Sometimes she can be seen wandering the desert and searching the arroyos for the bleached bones of animals that are lost in the desert sands. She collects them, slowly, one at a time; all kinds of bones – lizard, wolf, deer. When she has a full wolf skeleton, she goes out to the desert and arranges the skeleton. She builds a fire and carefully contemplates the skeleton. Once the correct moment arrives, she beings to sing to the bones and the bones? They answer. The flesh reforms: muscles, tendons, wolf skin; and suddenly from one moment to the next there is a wolf running free under the moonlight. Dancing through the arroyos, howling at the moon, pads of its feet striking strong and sure against the desert ground. In the blink of an eye, the wolf is transformed and there is a laughing woman running, magnificent and wild. The moral? Women need to collect their “bones” and decide which songs they sing to them when the time for rebirth comes.
No one tells you that Life is hard, real damn hard. So hard that there are days when you’ll wonder if you’re meant to do this. When those days start to run into each other and go on for far too long, you start thinking of foolish things sometimes, you start looking for the rip-cord on your parachute, the escape hatch, the way out. What do you do when you decide that you don’t want to be a train wreck? You don’t want the easy way out and find yourself thinking: Well what the hell am I supposed to do now, then?
OK. So now that you’ve judged me (I don’t give a damn) – get it out of your system and sit down and listen.
There are places in this world where leftover creation magic still hides. Where, if you’re open to it, you can find what you’re looking for. Where it’s possible to be reborn, reshaped, permanently changed. But you have to be open.
I needed a place like that, so I struck out, headed West. I’ve always felt that the desert would be good to me, that it would help me somehow. So when life pushed me to the breaking point, when I found myself thinking about that rip-cord, I booked a ticket instead. The night before I found my answer I had the strangest dream. A mountain talked to me. A mountain talked. To me. At the time, I woke up wondering what it was all about. The sound of its voice was slow, gravely, like rocks crushing together. I had to really pay attention to catch what it said: “You have to be broken, to be reborn. It will hurt.” I woke up with the simultaneous feeling of wonder and the words “What the hell??” running through my head. I would learn later in the day, the dream was message.
When you need it the most, the Universe provides you with what you need. In my case, it was a 98*F degree day, hot breezes blowing, and a damn big mountain. An ancient holy site. I stood there at the bottom of it: hot, dehydrated, emotionally exhausted by life, overwhelmed, and have I mentioned I’m scared of heights?
No challenge can ever be overcome by just staring at it. You’ll never know what you can do till you try. To my credit, I never once questioned if I could make it when I was staring up from the bottom. Did I question it once I started the climb? Oh hell yes. I kept telling myself that reaching the top would be worth it, that I would learn something from the mountain in the attempt. Sometimes you have to be broken to be reborn. Break me. Break me. Break me.
So I started to climb. It was hard. Halfway up the ridiculous grade my breath started fighting me, it burned in my throat, I just couldn’t seem to catch it. So I would stop, rest, try and catch my breath. Feel the sweat pouring down off of me, drenching me, and then burning off in the light of a relentless sun before it could do anything to cool me. I struggled. I wanted to cry. I wouldn’t give up. I was going to make it to the top of that mountain if I had to crawl, nails broken and bloodied, but I was going to make it to the top.
I did it one step at a time. One fragile little step in front of another. One burning aching breath. And then another. And another. I could have quit. Oh God, I could have stopped, and it would have felt good to stop struggling. But I refused, something in me just doesn’t know when to quit. I will meet the challenges set in front of me, damn it. And I made it.
The top was bare. Nothing but empty stretches of rock and a dead tree. Some flowers struggling for life. Holes filled with water that were swarming with mosquito larvae. And then I stood there and listened. I heard my heartbeat pounding, a steady rhythm, drumbeats. I heard in my head the sound of ancient drums, faint voices chanting, and I felt the sky press down on me, heavy, on my head. I could have cried. Something in me shifted in that moment, its edges sharp against my soft, vulnerable parts. It scraped me raw, broke me open, let the parts of me that had been hurting for so long breathe.
I don’t profess to be perfect, in fact - Hell, I know I’m not. I’ve made my mistakes and I’ve paid dearly for each and every one of them. I want to believe in the promise of redemption and rebirth that those ancient drums and faintly echoing chants whispered to my soul.
Sometimes it comes time to step out of our comfort zone. Sometimes we aren’t ready to do it. Other times we are chomping at the bit, ready to go. There are moments that define us.
This is one of them for me.
I find myself in a place I’ve never been before - stretching untried wings, obsessively fluttering all the feathers into place, feeling the fear beat behind my breastbone as I step to The Edge.
I always become reflective in moments like this. I always think about everything that happens, assess my actions, reactions, everything. Overthinking. But today? Today I did something different. I took all those quotes that I post to heart. As hard as it is to squash the fear or ignore it, I’ve decided that I am going to live with Intention, walk to the Edge, and if there happens to be a demon grinning back at me when I look over - I’m going to show that bastard my teeth and say “Give me what’s MINE.”
It’s time for change. Alright Universe, let’s see what you got.