Three Things Thursday {Explore}

by Cassie

{Inspiration from the inspirational Isabel Abbott:}    
1. Food. How much, what kind, when, how little, who says it’s okay and who says it isn’t. Calorie counting an avocado, a cup of chickpeas, two handfuls of kale. Binge eating an entire sleeve of Thin Mints. My insides turning inside out, a spin cycle of shame, and I think even if I only thought about food twenty minutes of every day since I was twelve years old, that’s still almost three thousand hours of my life, and I know damn well there’s a lot of days I bypass the twenty minute mark by lunchtime. Sometimes by breakfast. Sometimes before I even get out of bed. Food is a reward, a punishment, a pick-me-up, a tear-me-down. It is the constant companion to the part of me that insists on a world controlled by measurements — pounds, inches, grams, ounces. Food eats me up, hollows me out, nibbles around all the necessary parts and leaves irregular shapes and borders. Then somewhere, on the subway of my subconscious, common sense sits down next to my self-loathing, nervously bumping knees, and smiles the kind smile of the concerned stranger, the kind smile of someone who understands you instinctively without ever exchanging a word, and a change is born deep down in my cells, burning up through my blood and escaping through my pores to write love letters to me on the tendrils of steam rising from skin that feels both new and entirely familiar. I see the simple shape of this thing: food is life. It is not the enemy. It is not at war with me. It does not possess animosity or generosity, it does not extend a hand nor raise a fist. It asks nothing of me. For over half a lifetime, I have shoved my own inadequacies in between bread, scraped my own insecurities off the inside of a mountain of Oreos, layered a hundred misguided attempts at feeling good over double cheese pizzas; for over half a lifetime, I have used food as a mirror, a jailer, an excuse, a confidante, a set of open arms that both welcome and oppress me. It is exhausting. I am exhausted. But here, now, that candle of change throws light into old shadows, and I know that there will come a time when I can sit with myself and allow my body nothing but nourishment, that there exists a place where I can simply eat. It won’t happen tomorrow. But I am going to make it happen. The next three thousand hours are my own.    
2. Full circles. Fairy tales. Staring straight up into the sweet face of the fullest moon and catching the scent of wolves on the wind. The red head of a goddess with a half-ruined face, holding space for me somewhere in the place I once called home, the place I always call home, the place that calls me home; dreaming of low clouds that crown my head with mist that smells of green hills and sheep shearing and his skin fresh from the shower, of forests full of stories thirty steps beyond broken swings, of fleeing deer a flash of brown from the corner of eyes full of tears from the sheer stupid beauty of it all. Perfume oils from the wildness of Alaska, snow anointing the hollow of my throat, fire burning between my breasts, raven’s wings below the hair on the back of my neck. Walking and seeing and watching her face as she takes in her first flights of starlings, the way she turns to me and laughs with the exhilaration of their movements, how they sweep up and over and around the tops of trees with tiny points of ice still shimmering in the face of the setting sun. Every day magic, making an effort, marking it down, remembering how I once held sunbeams in my eyelashes and rainbows in my fingers, remembering it wasn’t always the way I let it get, remembering to remember. Picking the dried petals of two dozen roses, making woodland kings and daffodil queens, gulping down stories that leave me drunk with a hundred different desires, falling asleep with my hand on his thigh and waking up to it in the same place. Falling in love with everything, forgetting how terrifying that is but doing it anyway, because what is life if not love, and desire, and magic, and stories.    
3. Oh, that love. Twelve years and it swings back around with the force of a runaway wrecking ball. He grew a beard and I read a book and somewhere in there I remembered hearing him for the first time, afraid I wouldn’t understand him through the accent, all the hours with the phone to my ear, to my mouth, words tumbling across an ocean, a tumbleweed of whispered promises and dares to hang up first, of silent breathing because one of us fell asleep and the other wouldn’t hang up, imagining that warm breath inhabiting our bed, desire like a lighthouse. Lying in darkness punctuated by soft squares of light, legs tangled like fallen towers, ear to his heart, seashell skin, hearing the tide rolling in and out on the steady beating of his heart; tasting salt in the corner of my mouth, a surprising dampness, gentle weeping for the goodness in my life, for the ways I don’t deserve it and the ways I surely do. Counting freckles instead of sheep, dreaming with an arm draped across the soft swell of his side. Kisses that scratch, hair the color of wet cinnamon, March snow, shucked corn in the middle of summer; wintergreen lingering on my lips, hot ice on swollen skin, tender with contentment. Knowing the way the pendulum swings, that there are years of plenty and years of want; wrapping the immensity around me, a tangle of love and limbs, a Celtic knot to ward off the loss of this particular moment, this very specific sweet spot, this overwhelming love that sings out at the sight of his face, the sound of his voice, the touch of his hand on mine in passing. This love.