trauma: hippostarfish

Do you know the story of hippo? How he has to open his mouth wide every few minutes to show Papa God that he hasn’t eaten any of the most favored fishies?

I feel like a similar fate has fallen upon me. Like every few months, I have to shake out my hands until Papa God is sure that I have held onto nothing.

That I understand I have to be willing to let everything go.

If I don’t, the world does the shaking for me, and in that crumble I seem to lose more than I ever consciously had.

I am always starting over, and I’m tired of it.

If we were having coffee, I’d probably tell you about starfish. How they regenerate their arms.  How some even cut off their limbs preemptively.

I wouldn’t explain why I was thinking about this. I wouldn’t explain how, right now, I look at everything in my life as a very temporary thing. How I throw things away, so I don’t have to when it’s time for the shaking later.

I would ask you if you think the starfish would use the same name, even after more than half of it was replaced with something new. I’d ask about identity, and how many regenerations it can withstand.

I would ask about your arms.
The oldest one.

I’m fascinated by the people who have been allowed to keep.  Tell me how it feels to hold something so long it tires you.

If we were having coffee, I might yawn. I’m not bored with you– I could never be bored with you.

I just tire easily now.  I yawn because I can’t have caffeine anymore. I yawn because I’m healing and my body is borrowing breath. 

I yawn because I didn’t eat any favored fish, and I want to open wide– and make sure Papa God knows.

I want him to trust me, so I can stop having everything shaken out of my heart.  I lost my walk that way. My freedom, once. My name, a few times. I lost a husband and a father and a village too big to list.

I lost my ability to read.

But I have a new cadence now– a new cane and a steady limp.  I am far away from caged.  I have a boyfriend, a kind one, who lifts me up even when I am holding the weight of ghosts.

If we were having coffee, I’d read the menu without help. I can do that now.

Slowly. Oh so slowly. But I can.
I can read.

I might point it out, but I might not. I’m terrified I’ll lose it again if I hold it cherished.

It’s been years of shaking. I’m terrified of holding anything.

15 thoughts on “trauma: hippostarfish

  1. Poor starfish β€” they can’t blog about their limblessness. (Limblessness is a very strange word!) Maybe your previous blogs, books, etc. are your safety net, holding all those shaken-off dinosaur scales forever?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Life is about shaking. Life is about loss, gain, hope, hopelessness, joy, anger, laughter, tears (from loss, gain, hope, hopelessness, joy, anger). If it’s not us doing the shaking or being shook, it’s others, shaking or being shook because they’ve lost us.

    Look to what steadies you.

    There’s always something.

    The starfish might lose all its limbs over the course of its life, but it’s when it loses its center that it is actually … lost.

    Your center is there. It may be different — as all centers are after loss, gain, hope, hopelessness, joy, anger, laughter, tears — but it’s there. Meaning you are there. You are here. Meaning the shaking hasn’t changed the fundamental and phenomenal you that we love.

    That Papa God loves.

    That those you’ve lost love.

    That those you have and will gain will love.

    Your center might be a dino that after loss, gain, hope, hopelessness, joy, anger, laughter, tears … has learned it can also fly. Or perform telekinesis. Or tell really incredible jokes. Or give the best hugs. Or all of the above.

    And all that is fabulous.


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  3. I would like to give you a mirror . . so you can hold it close and breathe on it and see the good fog that says YOU ARE ALIVE. Then you could hold it away and see the person we all care about. Not a hippo. Not a starfish. A mighty poet who roars.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s funny how clingy we get to things after so many losses, isn’t it? You’d think we’d get used to the losses and stop clinging, but no. We cling all the harder to the little we have left. I am tired of starting over too. So let’s be tired of starting over together, and take the next first step, again. ❀ *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d love to have coffee with you, but I’m afraid you’d start shaking, and I’d disappear… 😬😊 But just before I did, I’d tell you your posts are wonderful. I thought the line “Tell me how it feels to hold something so long it tires you” was especially provocative. Courage. Onward!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I haven’t lost much in life, I haven’t the major lifelines (yet), but I still get that feeling of being shaken till the core. And almost every month feel the need to start over. And yes, I’m tired too, but I’m doing much better. There was a time in my life, where I let go of several things to grieve about one specific loss which I later realised wasn’t even that important. But I don’t regret it. I love the way you share, keep starting fresh. Love from me.

    Liked by 1 person


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