I sail my little boat over black waters at the moment. Old wounds in me suppurate, old rage is fresh again. I find myself grappling with new questions – how to be wounded in community? Where do I take this pain? If I hide it all I build a wall between my heart and the people I love. I live alone with it, in a cold place where love does not reach me. If I share it all, I spread it, like a disease. There’s so much loss in the lives of those I love, so many bad stories waiting in the shadows. I want to bring love, not fall like dominoes. I find myself tangled in dilemmas of ethics and honesty and respect. I know how to grieve, and I know how to suffer alone. I don’t know how to place my friendships. There’s a terror and a brutal loneliness in psychosis for me that hasn’t entirely gone. There’s gaps between my friends who grieve Amanda and those who didn’t know her I’m struggling to connect. I find myself struggling to move between sarah-in-community and sarah-alone, between the peer worker and the friend, one who offers and one who likewise needs.
Last night Rose visited. We were both fragile, we arranged; no heavy conversations, no reaching into that pain. Just companionship. Like boats rocking over black water, we knew but did not need to speak of it. I found poems to read her to sleep. She stroked my back, touch grounding me, writing me back into being. We were careful with each other’s brokenness, held our limitations gently in our hands.
There was no screaming spiral of pain that sings to pain, destruction unknitting all that we are, souls seared by scars. There was tenderness, acceptance, closeness. We didn’t ask of each other more than we could give. Somehow, instead of loneliness, there was love. There was love.
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