dig at the wound

February 26, 2013

sometimes the weight of my pen is heavy with fears and uncertainties
the cramping in my hand makes it difficult to write clearly; if at all.
so i scribble a little only to put the pen down because quite honestly, i’m tired.

life is happening.

all its wretched. all its beauty.

why is it that sometimes we turn away from the thing that helps us the most?
i mean, for me writing is healing. why am i not taking my medicine?

it is because sometimes to heal something you must first injure it more. go deeper
into the wounds to really get at it. and that’ just it. that part is the hardest in writing.
putting the pretty poetry aside or the warm reflections off to write through some of the things
i always have a hard time writing about.

my fears. my uncertainties. my elephant in the room. my anger (which i tend to keep in check because
i’ve been told it doesn’t “suit” me).

i haven’t even written it down in the pages i don’t publish for fear they may be discovered.
what can possibly have taken me to that place where i feel i can’t write my story down on a page
that will not be seen?

i will write. my story must be told,
even if it’s just to my self.

i must dig at the wound to really heal. so must you. so must all.

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reflection: year five

November 29, 2012

in a week it will be five years since my hysterectomy.

fact: i haven’t healed.

accepted truth: it will be a lifelong process.

renewed hope: i will still be a Mami.

the following is a part of a much longer monologue. i’ve learned that i can “give birth” in so many other ways. i write to heal myself and others who can connect to my story. this is my medicine. here’s to continued healing.

My Uterus used to live here.

Right around here.

The uterus is the major female reproductive organ.  The main function of the uterus is to accept a fertilized ovum which becomes implanted into the endometrium.  The fertilized ovum becomes an embryo, develops into a fetus and gestates until childbirth.

I miss my uterus.

I DO NOT miss my periods… but I do miss my uterus.

You see I had plans for it.  It was going to be the proud womb of two beautiful children.  Who already had names and would one day become artist, activists and writers.  And my womb was going to be a vehicle for change.

My girl was going to be named Sarahí Elis.

My boy, Diego Rafael.

I like strong Latino names.

They were both carried out full-term.  Fairly uncomplicated pregnancies; with the exception of morning sickness the first two months and my enormously huge breasts.  Sarahí Elis was tiny at birth.  She weighed almost 6 lbs.  But she was healthy.  And she slept soundly.  She loved to sleep on my chest.  We would fall asleep on the couch together watching Yankee games on mute.

She would be lulled by the rise and fall of my chest.  And I would sing to her, “Contigo Aprendí, a ver la luz del otro lado de la luna.  Contigo aprendí, que tu presencia no la cambio por ninguna.”  She loved when I sang to her.

Diego was strong on his way out.  The little guy was not so little.  He had a big head.  And he put me through some hours.  And when he came out, he came out roaring.  Screaming and yelling like he was mad at the world.  At home, he would only go to sleep if he was between both of his moms.

They would learn to speak Spanish first.  They would know their history and their herstory.   They would be culturally conscious humans.  My little boy was going to look just like his father (my friend Hamlet had already volunteered to help the cause) AND Diego would have my father’s heart: BIG with unconditional love pouring out of him.  My little girl was going to be JUST like me, in every single possible way.

And I was going to nurture their every minute-lasting dream of being a famous singer in the morning and changing that to a veterinarian by mid-day.

I had already seen their first Christmas.  I hoped Los Reyes were able to get them all the toys on their wish list.  I saw them open Tio David’s gift and say, “What the hell is this?”  I was their first kiss on New Year’s Day, their first hug on Valentines; they loved Easter chocolate bunnies but didn’t care much for egg hunts.  They made the BEST mother’s day cards.  They never forgot our anniversary or our birthdays.

I washed their little clothes in the gentle cycle.  I stood in awe when they grew two shoe sizes in less than 3-months.  I helped them clean their rooms, do their homework and tie their shoe laces.  We went on walks together.  We talked about everything.  We played hide-and-seek every day.

I wondered what our house would look like with their smiling faces hanging from picture frames in our living room and their report cards on the refrigerator with that oddly gigantic magnet they made for us in pre-school.  They loved when I made my famous Dominican chicken.  I saw them in their favorite torn-up sweatshirts and those tired jeans -that on their own could make it all the way home.

I told them to get off the phone ‘cause it was too late.  I told them to call their grandma every day.  I taught them about family; about keeping in touch and never forgetting to call each other.

I talked to Sarahi Elis’ teacher about her chattiness in class.  “She’s just very excited about life,” I would say in her defense.  I never got complaints about Diego; as much noise as he made on the way out, he was pretty quiet growing up.  I attended all of their activities.  Diego was into martial arts and playing the bass and Sarahi Elis was all about softball and writing poetry.

I wondered what their moods would be like… I could see them playing with each other one minute and then fighting the next.  I saw them play with our old dog and get excited about the new puppy.  I saw them with their cousins on vacations.  And listened to their countless stories about eve-ry-thing-they-did.

Diego was going to be strong …but gentle.  I was going to teach him how to be a true gentleman.  And Sarahi Elis, well… she was going to be very much like me. Stubbornness included. That is how life was going to show me what it was like to raise me.

I saw them off to their first day of school and cried with them.  I cried with them when they scraped their knees.  I cried with them when they fell off the monkey bars.  I cried with them when they lost their first tooth …when they lost their first love.

I tucked them in… snugged like little bugs in rugs. They jumped into our bed when it thundered.  We hung dream catchers on their windows to keep the nightmares away and left a night light on to keep “el cuco” out of the closet (yes, he too is gay).

I took them everywhere.  We did museums, amusement parks, beach trips, baseball games and movies.  I flew them to Dominican Republic to meet Papote.  I took them to Puerto Rico to meet abuela.  My mother was crazy about them… especially about Sarahi Elis.  And Diego was my sister’s favorite nephew.  My brothers were going to take them on the weekends to play with their kids (who am I kidding; I’d probably end up with all of them).

I saw them graduate from high school.

I helped them with their college applications and got excited with them when they were accepted to their first choice.  I balled my eyes out every time I brought them to their dorms.  We went to visit them when they studied abroad.

I knew they would grow up to want to save the world.  I saw them graduate college.  I saw them fall in love and surely one of them would make an abuela out of me.

I wanted to see my children grow up to be just like me.  I wanted them to be warriors.

…because only a warrior survives a hysterectomy at the age of 29.

On December 7th, 2007 between the hours of 8am and 3pm, Sarahí and Diego’s crib was removed.

The surgery took about seven hours.

They removed my uterus, my cervix and my ovaries.

Once the gynecologist was done… the urologist came in and reimplanted my ureters which had been damaged… he had to cut my bladder, extend it to the top part of the ureters and reconnect them.

I woke up around 4:30pm.

I remember waking up, moving my hands to touch my stomach.  And I felt the gauze pad covering my entire pelvic area.  And I asked if everything went ok and if I could see my gynecologist (who was also a friend of the family); but she had already left.

And I couldn’t see my family yet… so I was alone with an empty crib, thinking about Sarahí Elis and Diego Rafael and with a million questions for God or anyone who could answer them.

I rubbed my abdomen gently… and I talked to them as if they were there.  And I apologized,

I am sorry.  I am so sorry. 

I am sorry I didn’t have you sooner.  I am sorry I had set a date for your arrival.  I am sorry I was so selfish when I was younger and thought that waiting might have helped me provide a better life for you both.  I am sorry we never had the chance to meet, to play… to laugh.

I am sorry I won’t make it to your karate tournament or your softball game.  Sorry that I couldn’t make your recital, that I had to cancel the trip to DR, that the movie is sold out.  Sorry that your Christmas stockings won’t hang from our fireplace and that I am left with a memory that never took place.

But what I am most sorry for… is that I never got to hold you in my arms.

And still, you weigh so heavy in my heart.

The nurse walked in and saw me crying.  She asked on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 meaning no pain, 10 meaning it’s unbearable) how much pain are you in?  I looked at her and said, “100.”  She looked at me and said, “All you have to do is hit this button.  You can hit it every five minutes and it will give you a dose of morphine.  This will alleviate your pain.

I hit the button… and drifted.  Hoping I would forget everything… hoping this was all a dream.  The pain of not being able to see Sarahí Elis and Diego did not go away with Morphine.  In fact, five years later, time hasn’t healed it either… it is something that will be A PART of me and APART from me, for my lifetime.

And so all I can do now, is give birth to these words…

a place to heal

October 8, 2012

i wish i could gather all the stars tonight
and place them around your neck,
so that they may frame
the full moon of your eyes.

i wish i could gather all the shells
in the ocean, place them around your hips
so that they may serve as wave breakers
for the ocean of worries in your days.

i wish i could gather all the mortar and stone
in the world, build you a fort that’s impenetrable.
that you may be protected always.

but i am just your Titi Feisty
and the only powers i posses are
Love and Faith…

so i ask the Universe to protect you,
to send any worries you may have to me
if only it will make that beautiful smile brighter-
your walk, a bit lighter.

you are growing up so quickly.
life has a way of speeding up the process.
and in that mile per hour highway
you are so amazing.
i marvel at your courage.
i see your patience and care with your little sister,
how you put up with your older brother’s wisecracks
and i know you are growing up beautifully.

so when the days become heavy (and they will)
bring your beautiful hands
to that place that is sacred to you.
turn to music, turn to writing
turn to express your Self in artistry
-it’s the most amazing place to heal.

i am so proud of you my little Love.
your spirit is contagious.
your laughter has the sweetest melody.

Emelyn… you are one of my six favorite songs.

i had a meeting with a life coach last week. it was nothing like what i was expecting. but i will write about that at some other point. i want to share part of the homework i was given -or as she called it “soul work.”

the assignment was to write every day for ten minutes from the flow consciousness of little Sarahí (five-years-old to be exact). i couldn’t edit. i couldn’t go back and move anything. it was just ten minutes of non-stop writing as if little Sarahí had been given a crayon and told to go at the walls with confidence.

i’ve always been a good student. so i did my assignments. though i don’t have to submit it. this was just for me. this was tough. a lot harder than i thought. i mean, i am a writer. it’s what i do when i am not working for that job that pays the rent. so i thought this would be “simple.”

so i wrote. and i cried. and i wrote some more. and i cried. i was angry. i laughed. a lot. recalling and reliving moments that reminded me that i had a horrific and beautiful fifth year. and i laughed. and cried.

if we can look at a part of our life for ten minutes and put ourselves in that exact moment, you can savor bitter sweet events. you can smell the air of the times. hear the sounds like classics. you can see smiles. faces. clothes colors. but the only thing you can’t do is touch.

i couldn’t touch little Sarahí. that was the most difficult part of this assignment. i couldn’t hold her. i wanted to hug her. to tell her that everything would be so much different at thirty-three. that the moment was just a moment. but i couldn’t. and the truth is the moment isn’t just a moment. because little Sarahí remains a five-year-old in that time and space for an eternity.

so instead i did what i always do to heal… i wrote to her:

Dear Little Sarahí,

I am sorry that the first thing you think about in this five-year-old moment is that day. I am sorry you carry it in your backpack like it was essential for your walk. None of it was your fault. Not a single part. Let it go little Love. Set your Self free.

I wish you could see your brightness.

Your spirit shines much brighter than the darkness of that day. I wish you knew that when you walk into a room, darkness dissipates. What a beautiful brilliant child you are! Abuela always told you that your light would win the world over; she’s right. It’s your “golden ticket.”

Remember sunny days. Randall’s Island. Night pool. Handball. Softball. Best cousins ever. Church. Sleepovahs’. Central Park. Third Ave. Summers with Manny and David. Dinners with abuela. Christmas. Great Adventure. Action Park. Pigtails. Bofi. Castle Greyskull… surely these days weigh so much more than that day.

You have an amazing ability to recall so much and you will use it when you get older to heal and tell your story. But keep smiling and shining. You are so much light to the infinite power.

Love,
Big Sarahí

it is difficult to forgive a time and space you didn’t have control of. it is even more difficult when you feel at fault for that something. but to begin the healing process we must first give the event light, forgive the Self for being hard on the Self, and then let it go. often times we hold on to something so hard, we think it’s holding on to us. we think it’s holding us hostage. when the reality is, we’ve been holding it hostage.

there’s a freedom in freeing your Self from yourself.

…and so begins my process.

poetic prayer

January 24, 2012

may my poetry only hurt
in the places that need healing,
as a gentle reminder
that i will be stronger
at the broken parts,
if i remain open
to the process.

may my words
suture the scars
of a little Sarahí.
may they mend
the hearts of those
i have injured.

may they bring me
to action and healing.

i pray…

that i use the sharpness of my pen
to stab at hatred.
that i use its soft felt tip
to write gently.

may i heal
through forgiveness
of Self.
may i be patient
with the wait…

hands

November 9, 2011

i look at my hands
and i see yours.

new lines on them every day
reminding me that time is passing
and our bodies begin to show
the contour lines of life.

i see your face every morning,
as the mirror’s reflection stares:

i am your daughter.

i have your eyes, your smile,
your eyebrows, your nose,
even your long toes.

then i look within…
i am so much of you.
an extension, almost continuation
of all that you are.

there was a time when i disliked
the image… there was a time
i wanted to deny the reflection.

the wonder years can lack so much wonder.

but today…

i am proud to be the daughter
of the strongest woman in the world.
proud to be an extension of a Love
that is infinite. proud to be an offspring
of a spirit that does not give up and a soul
that has never given in.

you have been through so much
and remain faithful.
you have lost everything
and remain thankful.

your words of advice
are unlike any other.

i looked at my hands
this morning… they look exactly like yours for a reason:
to remind me of my own strength.

sentence

October 17, 2011

there was a crime
committed against you.
so horrible, its got you thinking
you are guilty.

you’ve locked yourself up
in a prison of silence.

don’t sentence yourself
to life behind fears.

i will stand here
until you realize
you are free.

and then,
…we can walk out together.

~Sarahí Yajaira, 2011

let go

October 14, 2011

my wish for you
is that you let go
of the pen you keep
writing with.

it bleeds hate and anger.

~Sarahí Yajaira, 2011

reflection: healing love

October 14, 2011

a little over year ago i was told one of the most heartbreaking news of my life. it had to do with an intimate relationship. we were engaged to be married. but that would not happen.

the news seemed to freeze my senses. as she spoke, silent tears streamed down my face. the once sweet sound of her voice pierced my ears.  and at that moment, i stopped believing. faith dissipated. my spirit broke into fragments. and i was left to pick up each sharp edge with my bare hands.

the process of healing…

a years worth of days have brought a range of emotions, adventures, missteps, anger, laughter and frustrations. i became jaded. lost myself in the process. forcing circles into squares.

it takes a long time to digest swallowed pain.

i thought it could never make sense again. i felt as though the concept of love had evolved for me. it was no longer what i believed it was. it was morphing into something that i had yet to really experience.

i am a poet. we are hopeless romantics. we believe in Love even when it stops believing in us. we make Love fall in love with us. and when all of this is challenged and you are left naked and vulnerable you feel as though nothing will ever be the same.

and it isn’t.

thank the universe for that.

love matures. you emerge healed with a new sense of purpose for love. it is not love that hurts us, it is people. they do so because they are human. and fear can lead us to do…well… stupid things.

i have healed. and allowed my self to welcome someone new. and while hesitant to step, i don’t fear it. i simply walk slower.

in the moment of direct impact, that feeling of pain lasts for what seems to be eternal, we feel as though the world will end and we will never stop hurting. we shut down. we default to auto-defense. but as we continue to walk through the days…

we heal. we regenerate. we recuperate. we grow stronger.

and we realize… we are capable of loving and being loved again.

~Sarahí Yajaira, 2011

trickery

September 15, 2011

mira…

if you go to stuckonstupiddotcom
you’ll find a picture of me.
and if you look closely into my eyes
you’ll see her silhouette
shufflin’ in my pupils.

she drives me crazy.

that kinda’ crazy that has me wondering
if i might be having some stalker-like behaviors.

she got me
counting hours ‘til i see her again.
i check and recheck my phone
to see if i might’ve missed her text
between now…
and the time i put it back in my pocket.

when she touches me,
i can feel it in the toes
of my next life.

when she speaks to me,
i get hooked
on the phonics of her lips.
i’ve been diagnosed
with attention deficit disorder
but she’s got
my complete attention.

she’s got this smile…

and when she laughs,
her entire face lights up.
and i’m looking at her light
walking towards it without fear
’cause if it’s death
…bring it.

she makes me laugh.
that ‘hood laugh.
(you know that laugh)

the one that got you standing-up-
running-slowly-clapping your hands-
shit-is-so-funny-your-stomach-hurts-
kinda’ laugh.

mira…

she drives me crazy.

the kinda’ crazy that got me wondering
if i should be in a straight-jacket
‘cause i wanna’ run into the walls
of her body and just crash into her.

she. is. so. good.
she’s got me thinking i’m free falling
and when i look around
i realize, i’ve been lying on her floor
for a minute.

…that’s some trickery.

~Sarahí Yajaira, 2011 ©