I’ve been a bad communicator lately. I only initiated a real conversation maybe once or twice in a month where I wrote almost 3 hours worth of reading.
For NanoPoblano, I left over 1500 comments on participating blogs, and read every post that went along with them. Part of me wants to blame that for my withdrawal from the spoken world, but that wouldn’t really be fair.
I’m a person, not a jar of jellybeans in a long coat. I don’t run out of words. No, this reduction in extroversion has been a long time coming.
Once in the just-before spring, I tilled a small plot of land with my bare hands, fingers deep in the cold dirt. I found the root I was looking for, a small wild rose that had planted itself the year before and withered away. I gave it room, and soft soil.
When I say 🌸🌼🌺,
I mean, I hope your soil is soft. I hope you know that I see your bloom even when it is not a time of blossoming. I hope you know these hands aren’t scared of cold dirt, or hard stories, or you.
In a letter to my late husband from Orange County jail:
“The cops here told me to dial down my extroversion. Compared to most, I am chatty with other inmates. Cops say the others are dangerous. It’s hard to think of the women inside as the danger I am facing, when someone with a gun refuses to feed me if I won’t eat something that goes against a century of familial faith. The someone with the gun is who I do not want to talk to. The women are a refuge, a rainbow, peers. I feel like a fraction of myself, but no one really remembers the person I was before– before I was accused of a crime and our whole world changed. What am I supposed to say to a world that crumbles families and calls it justice? Am I supposed to keep acting like I know it? I don’t. I’m glad I still seem friendly. I am hungry.“
When I say ❤️,
I mean, I love you. I’m proud of you. I mean, right now, in this moment, I feel like I know you. Thank you for telling me about the land you’ve walked. I feel it beneath my feet. I remember my own walk. I remember that we’re all foot-tired. I wish you ease.
I received a fitness band for free after some customer service shenanigans. It measures my voice tone throughout the day. It doesn’t surprise me to know that most of my tone is friendly. It was interesting to realize I would almost never utilize disapproving or skeptical tones if I didn’t respond to news anchors and electronics. (Alexa, please stop.)
It was interesting to see that some days, I just sound sad. I know this, but seeing it charted in data was something else. I have seen it in my selfies, and trickled through in my writing. Some days I write about beautiful things, but a sad snow has fallen on every letter, dusted every crest with a frozen grief that will muddy its serifs.
We are all so foot-tired, even our words.
And more, more interesting than even that, was to realize how little I speak at all. To register 10 minutes of voice in an entire day. Quarantine has allowed a silencing that I think I’ve needed for some time.
I want to nest in it.
I hope I do not forget.
When I say 🙂,
I mean it tired-like, snail-slug-slow, head rested on your shoulder as the sun sets. I mean we’re good, and I’d like to make you tea or coffee or hot cocoa, or even– if you think you can handle it– chai or atole.
I think I would love to watch you sip these drinks. The thick paradise of atole coating your tongue, and flavors of chai dancing in your mouth. A mouth is a chamber that can take one anywhere in space or time.
Mine is getting dusty.
I am stuck here.
I no longer want to speak myself into a bridge, to bend my back and stretch myself just so people can walk over without ever having to think about how to find another way through, without ever having to own where they are.
My chords don’t know how to sing anything but bridge, though. Like a siren for land, like a person whose feet walked so far they became song. What is foot-tired when you have lifed your feet away?
I don’t know what to say about anything anymore. Not in real time conversation. I hide from Zooms and Lives and everything else. I drop a message in the DMs or email and melt away. A friend from Australia asks how it is to be in America right now, and I say bizarre.
It’s bizarre. There are so many Americas.
Across the street, there is no plague and they march for accountability to close the closures. By my favorite body of water, we do not have a new president. In my birth state, prisoners move the bodies of those killed by the disease. On my street, a new president is celebrated and his inevitable policies are preemptively protested. The TV says that we lose an American every minute, and the restaurant down the way says that those ones are expendable, and some of the same people horrified from this language support expanding jails, which means they don’t have a problem with the idea of expendable people, they just want control over who we mark as such. The clerk at my hospital says the idea of racism has been boogey-man’d into something larger than it ever was. Inside, a South Asian doctor from the other side always checks my prescriptions and treatments before I go, to make sure I am safe. I am his daughter’s age. She was assigned male at birth, and died too young. There is a whole America that does not care, and I live there, too. There is a whole America that packages up food for the houseless, and tips 100%. I live there, too.
I’m unsure what dialect anyone speaks. I have been surprised too many times this year to guess.
When I drop the food I make off to the houseless person by me, I tell them the truth. I say, I don’t know how to speak anymore. Not from the gut. Not from the heart.
They nod, and I know they know.
When I say 🎉🎉🎉 ,
I mean, I celebrate you. No world is dark that has light such as this. No world is cold that has warmth such as this. I mean, I believe in you and keep going, and keep living, and thank you for being here and blossoming.
I mean, I think you might be a wild rose.
And I see you.
I see you,
and though silent, and though it might seem like I just past by,
I think of you often.