Photo by Amy Muhoro
We lose people.
I don't mean those who we lose by death, but those who we lose when we can still see them, those we lose while they stand before us, breathing, smiling, moving.
I mean those we lose while we have their numbers on our phones still, those whose voices we can still hear, if they would let us, and even if they won't.
I mean those we lose because we have been selfish, or we have been unseeing, or even because we have been unselfish, and seeing. I am talking about when friendships end, and lovers go.
As a person so radically reliant on my people, I find that I crumble when I lose.
I find that, in my interpersonal relationships, I rarely know how to measure what is in my hands now, what it is that I am being offered; I am too busy studying it, studying it so that I know how to appreciate it, often until I cannot have it any more because those I am studying lose their patience in their waiting to be loved.
Or put it this way.
I know when I do not want, but I do not know when I want.
At least not until I have asked, probed, touched, felt.
I do not know when I want because I am lost in the questioning, I am lost in the fundamental "is this right, is this proper, is this what it should be", lost in the "what about more", holding the 500,000,000 shilling deal at bay hoping for 500,000,050.
Hoping for so little more.
And so, I stare, open-mouthed at those who come before me, those who speak of love, speak of tenderness, and sometimes I know that I do not want, and then other times I do not know that I want.
I stare, open-mouthed, watching them, as if floating before me. I only watch because I do not understand this thing called wanting, but want to. But I'm learning that perhaps this is the journey I might always have to take in decision making, and that if I lose in the meantime, at least I have been true to myself.
I might have chosen the 500,000,000 after all, finding something in it appealing, but usually I do not have time to deliberate before people lose their patience.
And I lose.
I lose the 500,000,000, have no foreseeable hope of 500,000,050, but I have not lied.
I am broken, I can be a mess in the head, but I have not lied.
I'm learning - because I don't think the lesson is over - that pride, in its negative sense, should not come near us when we come before our choices. When we are putting ourselves before lover, friend, career, finances, we should lay our pride down and choose the thing that our hearts yearn for, the things that agree with our hearts, and that this may take time to discern.
I'm learning that keeping up appearances will kill us, and we might do well to surrender to freedom, to make the painful decision to say and do our truth, learning that truth gets easier in time, that truth is a habit.
I'm learning that we must not fear being alone, or lament it too often, and that we must stay away from those who fear, disrespect our solitude. Solitude can be beautiful but it can also be painful. I'm learning that I might have to reconcile myself with that pain, as part of my truth, as part of the agreement between reality and my heart, between reality and that little thing in me that guides me, stubborn as hell, that little thing that draws me to and from other things. Solitude is teacher, and I am to sit and listen to what is going on within me. Appreciate it to appreciate who people are to me.
I am learning that solitude is nothing to be ashamed of, that it is truth. In the moments that I am held in solitude, in the moments in which I am wrapped in it, it is truth, and I might as well stop fighting it, and rest in what it might prove to be.
I am always tempted to reach over the line that divides me and the lost, to reach over and pull them back in, against myself. It is nicer when everyone is in, after all. It is safer. Or so I think. However, I am learning that sometimes it is fine that there is a line that divides, and that we each learn what we might in the respective halves of the world that we find ourselves occupying when we have lost. I am learning that we might do well not to shush solitude so quickly by running back to those we are losing, but in watching, understanding, what it feels like to see them go, learning what we might do to ensure that we have learned from the loss, because loss is lesson.
Certainly, we must do all we can to maintain relationships, but when one chooses to go, to abandon the work of building and maintenance, it might be instructive to watch how they go and understand that almost all things carry nuance, to just watch for a while what is happening in their leaving - not to be so quick to act. It is important to note, too, how we react to their leaving, what happens within us, and if we, too, needed their leaving.
Loss is hard and painful a lot of the time, but as Yrsa Daley-Ward says, this will give us poetry.