E Pluribus unum

by MB


Earlier this evening I sat reticent on the couch. My head perched on the soft skin of my boyfriend's right arm, the tears from  my face pooling neatly into the soft cartilage where his forearm and bicep meet.

Between sobs of happiness and chokes of fear, my chest heaved for the simplicity of rivalry, for Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who reminded us that purity and passion have the power to bind our world beyond rackets and crowds and cheering and the perfect slice. 

I cry - I wallow - residual tears from the fight my boyfriend and I had earlier today. Our first real fight. The one where we said things we meant but never intended to say to each other, as if the permanence and not the words were what truly offended us. My chest heaves for the moment we found ourselves caught in - the space where our boundless capacity for selfishness and selflessness collided. 

I cry because I am lonely but not alone. Because I am thousands of kilometers and frequent flier points away from my family. From my country whose passport I carry proudly, but for which I weep behind closed doors of follow non-American aliens abroad. 

I cry for the platform I have been granted but  fear I do not deserve. For the time I've spent wallowing in bed, preoccupied with love and sex and eating disorders and recovery and what it means to be a woman in the world, but for the paltry action I've taken to strengthen the roots which bore these identities. 

I cry because I feel helpless and hopeless and disconnected. Because I love my boyfriend and my life with him and the person I have created from the ashes of my former self. For Lady Lazarus and the battles she waged, and for the apathy burdening my soul.

I cry for the fear of what tomorrow brings and for the selfishness with which such fear burdens me, as though the future were a vessel unto itself, uncontaminated from the realities which give it sustenece. 

I cry because my life is as perfect as it might ever be. Because I am loved and safe and comfortable in my body - things which I once took for granted and often forget to be grateful for and proud of. 

I cry for my friends in Washington and New York and Alaska and Cleveland, for my fellow expats who have no one to cry for and for whom crying is a sign of weakness. I cry because I have the best friends and allies and advocates, and I shudder at the realisation that I cannot be with them in spirit and in body.

I cry because I shoulder the guilt of having a story that I am too afraid to tell - my selfishness denying others the feeling that change my own life - acceptance.