Splitting Wood by Claire Guerreso
I can’t sleep. So here I am,
Here I am.
Looking for the answers
on the blanks of your pages.
Have you ever noticed how when you’re in a relationship, you lose yourself?
Maybe not completely, and certainly not all at once. But parts of you get lost
in moments of compromise and apologies and sacrifice. Parts become pieces
that are yielded to expectations of the title you hold.
Girlfriend. Boyfriend. Husband. Wife.
Moments turn into days, and days turn to weeks, and years pass by unapologetically, scraping away aspects of yourself you didn’t realize were gone.
You used to love to bake, but he is a diabetic. You used to read avidly, but she is a movie aficionado. You love the big city, but his dream job landed you in a small town. You have always lived with pets, but she is allergic. He wants a big family, but you have always feared children.
The things you love, become the things you were willing to give up. For him. For her. For us.
Any maybe the fact that we lose ourselves is a big part of why we end up losing each other. Break ups. Separation. Divorce. She is not who you fell in love with. He is but a shadow of who you used to know.
We change, we grow, we shed our skin over and over again.We live a thousand lives in a million different frames of mind.
But maybe my focus is misplaced. Maybe it is not the losing that matters. But rather, that which you gain from the loss.
Maybe our bodies are making room for a better version of ourselves. A version that is more of who we are than who we have ever been before. Because of you. Because of me. Because of us. Together.
It’s okay to mourn the loss of our past selves. The parts of ourselves that are no longer deep within us. Just as it is okay to fear this loss, to fear what it means, and to be afraid of who we are now becoming. To be unsure of how this shift will effect your life. The life of not only her, but him. And both of you together.
We are human. Therefore, most things in life are inevitable. Emotion. Feeling. Experience. The beginning. The middle. The end.
We can not measure who we are in regards to who we have been, just as we can not measure love or sorrow or pain.
All we can do is be aware of the ways in which we change. In relationships. In marriage. In life. In love. The ways in which he has changed you. The ways in which she has inspired you. The way in which somehow, after all this time, you have both become one.
One love existing in two different bodies. And maybe, that is the biggest miracle, and the biggest loss of all.
I like him.
The way his arms are sculpted, how his glasses illuminate the color of his eyes.
They way he lets his beard grow too long as if; he doesn’t have anyone in the world taking care of him.
I like his southern drawl, and the arc of his back.
The way his smile makes my heart flutter, and fly, and drop.
But most of all, I like that he isn’t you.
I shed pieces of myself
everywhere I go.
Every new city that opens my eyes, every small town
that widens my heart, every old friend
who increases my understanding, every
new acquaintance who tests my loyalty,
every stranger depending on my empathy, every love
sustained by my vulnerability.
All I am is pieces.
Pieces put together, delicate and complex, that will inevitably fall away.
And I am afraid
I will give this world every last piece,
until I have nothing left of myself, not even a hollow shell.
Casey Kim Photography.