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I try to sit down and write complicated classical prose or intricate spoken word performance pieces. I stare at the blank page and nothing comes out. I put on Bjork and listen to the poetry in her songs, and I’m reminded of how simple a poem is. “It’s not meant to be a strife. It’s not meant to be a struggle uphill,” she sings. And I wonder if she sits down on a nightly basis like I do and tries to write. Or maybe songs flow from her like they used to flow from me. I would write poems in the middle of English class in high school. But those poems came from such a negative place. I need to find that place that I can go to when I need to write, but I have to find it from the positive sources around me. And that’s hard. But I won’t accept that art is only yielded from pain, and I do have some proof otherwise.

My writing began and stemmed from a cold and dark place. But it’s warmer now. And when I try to lean into a poem or a prose piece I somehow struggle to draw from the sources around me. Do I need cold tiled floors, sharp metal objects and gowns and rubber gloves? But “it’s not meant to be a strife. It’s not meant to be a struggle uphill.” And I’m filled with gratitude. I will learn how to write a gratitude poem and a thank you poem and a poem letting go. I think that’s what it is. I think I’m just afraid to let go. I’m afraid to let my old self finally slip out of my fingers. I’m still trying to save him. I’m still wiping his tears and kissing his cheeks and trying to tell him it’s okay. I still try to assure him that it will be over soon, to just hold on a little while longer, to stop crying, to stop fighting, to stop cursing God. I’m afraid of the fact that it is too late to save him. And now I’m left with an empty canvas and a new paintbrush.

My father tells me that it’s the going, not the getting there, that’s good. It’s the going, not the getting there, that’s good. And for now I am going to trust him. And for now I can believe him. It’s the journey, he says, not the destination. It’s the path. So here I am, on the path, just taking steps, one at a time. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4, doing my dance to celebrate making it through another year. And here I stand, 25 years old, starting all over, again and again. And I guess I have to be glad that I get to start over. But there’s that part of me still—and I wonder if it will ever go away—that desperately wants yesterday’s pain to return. There’s a boy in me screaming. And I am the man who must ignore him. I have to take his letters and throw them in the fire. I have to drown his screaming with beautiful choruses singing, “it’s not meant to be a strife, it’s not meant to be a struggle uphill.” I have to let go. And these journal entries are my way of sewing together a quilt strong enough to wrap myself in this moment. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4. See me dance? Watch my feet now, light on my toes. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4. 1 and 2 and 3 and 4. Just like that. Just like that.

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