you are loved, in the active voice.

I don’t remember learning how to love, originally.  I only remember the origins of little love-habits.

I remember holding onto my stuffed elephant, tucked safely in my right arm always– a light grey beast with pink-tinted ears. He must’ve been a foot tall, if he could have stood on his own, but he couldn’t.

He needed me.

His fur was worn down, paper thin, from all the hugs.

“If you sneeze too hard, you’ll knock his stuffing out,” my big brother would say, so I learned to sneeze into the crook of my left arm.

Obviously I learned to love before that memory, or, why else would the cloth been so loved that my poor little elephant literally wore its insides on its out? Why else would I remember my brother the way I do? Magical, certainly, immortal, maybe.

I dropped that elephant in the mud one day, when my big brother finally, finally, finally came home from college, because I had to run as fast as I could toward him and I would not allow a single thing to slow me down.

I knew the difference then, between some types of love.
I had a habit of love then, already– no less permanent than my habit of sneezing.

Eventually I’d stop holding a stuffed animal in my right arm.  Eventually I’d find a hundred other types of love, some I ran towards, some I left behind.

I’m still learning, but that’s the way of many of the big things in life.  The learning never stops, and sometimes it’s hard to remember how it all got started.

I don’t remember learning how to write.

I remember lettering, of course.  The almost-religious importance of a straight T and a dotted lower case i.  I was painstakingly slow, as I am with most things that depend on the invisible thread between my mind and my hand.  I remember the large paper and the lines that run across the sheet, a solid blue, a dashed blue, a solid pink.

Who decides these things?
Not me.

I don’t make the rules of school paper design, or life, or love, or writing.  I just learn them.

In the 7th grade, I memorized prepositional phrases, employed onomatopoeia, practiced hyperbole.

Around the bridge, over the bridge, under the bridge…

The bird squeaks, the bridge creaks, the wind rustles them both the same.

The little girl scratches her pencil, across the paper, until she can ink her way into bigger classrooms, until she can type her way into deeper laugh wrinkles.

I remember typing my first story into a word processor, and letting it grade my work.  It was riddled with flaws– too many emdashes, too short of paragraphs. Fragments.  Passive voice.

All the feathers
on the bird
sparkled.
And– oh! —
what joy it brought
to the sun,
to see another
shine
so
bright.

It’s passive if I intend for focus to be on the bird, but of course I don’t.  That is a story about the sun, about a feather, about a friendship.  That is a story about love.

I don’t remember learning how to love, but there are tiny love-habits that stitch into  my skin like feathers.  They fly away from me sometimes– but then, joyfully, every so often, I grow a new one.

I don’t remember learning how to write, but I notice my habits, the way the sun sees the light of the bird, the way a good listener can see how the wind speaks to everyone just the same. A sentence fragment here.  Passive voice there.  This sparkles, that doesn’t.

I don’t remember learning how to write or love, originally, but I know that I am still learning.  I am still loving, and I am still holding my loves oh-so-tightly in my strongest arm.

That’s where you are– my readers, my teachers, my friends.

And you are loved.
You are loved.
You are loved.

That sentence is in the passive voice, if you want to believe it is about me.  But of course it’s not.

It’s about all the many beginnings we live even after we forget our first beginnings.  It’s about what we want to remember when we can’t really remember anything at all.  It is about the stuffing that stays inside of us, no matter how hard anyone sneezes, and the feathers that sparkle on us, even when the sun closes her eyes.  It’s about the love that drops us in the mud, and the love that pulls us out.

It’s about why we keep learning,
why we keep writing,
why we bother to keep loving at all.

So, for me, for always–
it’s about you.

I hope you remember it.

56 Comments

  1. Your writing is beautiful and soul touching. I have missed reading your words. It has been so long since I have written and it so good to see you still are writing and beautifully.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re always welcome to share anything I write, I’ve had a policy of Yes around these parts since the very beginning. Thank you for sharing, and thank you for your kind words. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ” It is about the stuffing that stays inside of us, no matter how hard anyone sneezes, and the feathers that sparkle on us, even when the sun closes her eyes. It’s about the love that drops us in the mud, and the love that pulls us out.”

    Perfection. To say you have a way with words is a sincere understatement. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. RaRa,

    Yeah…when did you learn how to write? You’ve been somewhat sneaky about it lately. I think you’ve always known, but in some strange fashion, your heart is a little freer…a little lighter and something has shifted in your world.

    Whatever it is, it’s in your bones…it’s distinctly yours…you can hold it tightly or let it go.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, RR, so much has shifted in my world. I’m trying to find a new way of writing, something in between all the different areas I have been. It’s a bit messy right now, still, but I think I’m improving. 🙂 Thank you for your thoughts, they make me feel that I might be on the right track. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  4. You’ve got me thinking. I must have learned loving things before I learned how to love. I must have known how to do it a little, before I knew I knew how to do it. I was just afraid because it made me such a target.

    Stuffed toys though…you can love them forever without being victimised by them. Unless they lose an eye one day and stop being favourites because they’re marred and different, and you realise how heartless you really are.

    This piece got under my skin.

    Glad you have such good loves to share though, and I like reading them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Lizzi. I love my stuffed animals till there’s quite literally nothing but a memory left to love, a missing eye is just a memory of the adventures we had. But I do get your point, love can be a scary thing, even a dangerous one. *hugs* Thank you for reading.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. 🙂 Thank you, I feel like I’m just kinda practicing again lately. Trying not to just write about prison or widowhood… It still feels a little sloppy, but I feel that I am getting closer to sharp writing. I am thankful for your readership as I figure it all out. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this. I don’t remember learning to write either, and though I don’t write like you…I do enjoy a good turn of phrase…like the “type her way into deeper laugh wrinkles.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love is one of the divine gifts that makes us human. We are born with it or at least a spark of it. If we cultivate it, we realize our true nature—and change the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t remember when I learned how to write, although I learned how to read at about the age I learned how to walk. Reading and walking are just the experiencing of the story before your eyes, everyday. But I do remember when I learned how to love. It came so late, and the memory of it will now forever be like breathing . You love and you write like most people breathe. You don’t even realize you’re doing it, because each of them are, to you, as natural as the inhale and the exhale. Inseparable. Interchangeable. And even now, you get better at it everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Absolutely beautiful post. Your writing is an as amazing as always. I’m glad you have so many memories because we can all benefit from them.

    I am also amazed at how early your talents were visible to the world; your talent for love and your talent for writing. The world is a better place because you are in it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Warm, contemplative, and gentle – minus a button eye. 🙂 How we love and let go. Who made the papers on the lines that trained us, where we practiced? Who assigned those colors? One solid pink…
    Learning to love is a lot like letting go, like listening really closely and listening to the wind.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi, Ra!

    I am so glad that I found your little corner of the internet and was able to read through the beautiful words you crafted. Expressing yourself in such a raw way and exposing your emotions and experiences so openly and in a way so vivid that make others feel like they were right there with you — making them picture the colors of the grass and of the sky, the wind, the sounds around you — it’s a true gift. I, too, have been writing since I can remember. Short stories, school competitions, longer stories (mostly to myself) and to, finally, deciding to have one (or many) blogs… It is in my nature, it is my way of processing things, and it certainly is a powerful tool in moments where life seems overwhelming. It breaks down those emotions, it gives me insight, and it teaches me. And I would 100% agree that we are never done learning — not loving, not writing, not communicating, not reaching out to others to make life as beautiful as we can in our own ways.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences, thank you for making me want to read each single word.

    Liked by 1 person

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