I see you, turning on the shower and standing under the hot spray, hoping that waterfall of sound is enough to muffle the signs of your tears from the children outside.
I see you, holding up the weight of the world and trying so very hard and knowing, in your bones, that it just won’t be enough to keep it all from crashing down.
I see you there; arms stretched in asana, the mantra of your heart beating steady onward – Stay true. Stay true. Stay true.
I see you, loving so good and strong. And losing it all anyway.
I see you, being judged and found wanting.
I see you looking at her. I see your naked desire. I see your relentless need.
I see you, flawed and humble and road weary and proud and still in spite of the deep ache, somehow sure you’ve done all you can.
I see all you feel but cannot speak. I see the way the words grow and swell, expanding your chest and pressing against the confines in your throat until they form the most unbearable pain, and the air around you so heavy with the weight of words unsaid.
I see the way your chest caves in and your shoulders curl around and your arms hold your knees so tight that you circle in upon yourself.
I see how in spite of this you are expanding, even though others wish you small and in spite of your own efforts to keep peace. I see that you are a wild thing, not meant for containment.
I see you setting that boundary. I see you marking that line and choosing a side and I see that steely resolve that means you have found your way back to yourself.
I see how you want and want and want. I see the unceasing swell of your desire. I see how you look in those spaces, small and large, where you begin to know that desire as holy.
I see you there, in the moment that last burning ember of hope died. I see your face then, the way it went blank for a moment and the pain that flashed in your eyes. And then I see you pull it back together, because there is laundry to do and children to care for and a family that needs you – and what else is there to do but continue?
I see how you always continue. How survival is in your bones. How thriving is what you were born for. How you were meant to rise.
I see you rising, you beautiful phoenix. I see your wise heart. I see your hot tears. I see your bruised knees. I see your prayers rising like poems around you in the cold night air.
I see you in your spiraling doubt and I see you weaving in and out of the shadows and the demons and the ghosts of those gone but not forgotten. I see you dancing there, and it is beautiful.
I see your knowing and your not wanting to know and I see the way every plea you make sounds like that one name you’ll never stop calling out in your sleep.
I see you on your good days and I see you on your bad days. And I see what lives there, just beneath your skin, on the days when you know for sure that very few pay close enough attention to tell the difference.
I see you, in your fierce insistence on living as true as you can, in spite of all the breaking.
I see you, by the light of so many candles and the unmistakable glow of grief. I see you folding and refolding that handwritten note that once held the promise of all things.
I see the way you live every breath as redemption.
I see you in your grace and in your grit and in the way they meet in the very center of things.
I see you there, searching for that just sad enough song song that will release all that is bottled inside. I see you let it go and I see you go to ground with the sobs that look as if they will break you into pieces.
I see you take that breath. And inhale again. And I see your resolve settle in your bones. I see you rise again, still broken, and somehow always whole.
I see you, beneath the surface. I see your untamable wild. I see your billowing heart. I see your unshed tears and your not yet dreams and your devotion to spirit. I see you howl at the moon and call the ocean home and ground to earth and grow taller than the trees.
I see you.
You are not alone. You are not invisible.
You are seen. You are seen. You are seen.
And my god, you are beautiful.