My Dear, It’s a Playground: The Many Lives You Live

Life is a playground
By Aimee Hansen

Love,

Do you remember it was the smallest thing, a cruelty between children, and the floor dropped out that day? You saw the stars in your niece’s seven year old eyes? And the salt in her tears?

How it reminded you of every hurt you’d ever felt?

How you wanted to breathe the pain in, take it all away from her, blow it into some box and lock it inside and protect her forever from the world? But you couldn’t.

Do you not realize, dear, that was living?

Do you remember when you were toiling away, haunting the streets on the weekends, restless at night, turning circles in your bed, selling your thoughts, drinking more than your share, finding it all too much, finding it all too little, pushing away while pulling closer, wondering if this was some grand joke, if the eyes that looked back at you felt like you did, if the emptiness existed inside of their hearts, if it narrated their dreams at night?

Do you not realize, dear, that too was living?

But then, do you also remember how you danced the city of labyrinths in tall black boots and scarves? When you knew the backstreets of the markets, and the streets between them, and how to prowl the blocks for the next carnival ride?

Remember when you took all the flights, and shoved everything in your pockets, all the songs, all the art, all the faces, all the corners, all the conversations, all the confetti, all the dirt, all the cafes, collecting days like marbles, each a world within itself? Pockets full of worlds.

Do you not realize, dear, that too was living?

Do you remember the relationships that were falling apart? And the relationships you fell into?

Do you remember when you tied yourself in and kept your eyes on the door? When you called yourself a serial monogamist? When you swore off monogamy, for all of two seconds? Do you remember how you were not ready, but you leaped?

Do you remember the lone hours when you were never lonely?

When your spirit was a fireball that blasted through the cosmos, traced circles around constellations, looked back and laughed at the sky?

Do you not realize, dear, that was too living?

Do you remember when you crossed borders and oceans? When you threw it all away and plunged into the traveler river, together?

When you searched for stars and the horizons and saw stars explode and horizons expand within?

When you chased yourself around the globe, as you ran around the world within you? When you agreed to let the entire world as you both knew it fall apart, so you could each put yourselves back together?

That’s how much love still lived there, that was the measure of your expansion.

Do you not realize, dear, that was too living?

Do you remember when the vault cracked opened over martinis, and everything fell out? Do you remember you took it as a permission slip?

When you said, well it’s a playground year. When you licked at life? When you asked all the questions and tried all the things? When you got naked, literally.

When you threw out the notions and invited the breaking open? When you asked for the seeing that could not be unseen? When you realized later nothing seen is static?

Remember when he asked you for the metaphor and you gave him a shred of red scarf.

Do you remember the gift of forgiving the things you never knew needed forgiving, and doing the same for yourself?

Do you not realize, dear, that too was living?

Do you remember how beautiful you were in love? How you found the six dots in her left eye and made stories about them? How you tickled the backsides of her ears with your fingers? How she remembered your smile, across oceans and years? How you were missed, even when you thought that you couldn’t be missed? And seen when you thought you were invisible?

How you were the court jester of the kitchen? How you had a hundred thirty second dances, and each was a language, and each was an energy whirling around the room?

Your play was never frivolous, you knew how to talk a million different languages you never need lay claim to. And it wasn’t just with her.

Do you not realize, dear, that too was living?

Do you remember when you found yourself tripping over your own feet, the pauses between what you called your path, the moments you declared wasted, when nothing was getting done, when nothing you did was enough, when nothing was happening despite what you did, when maybe it was all a fluke?

Do you remember when you stepped away to stand on the balcony, to dunk yourself in the lake, to drum to rocks and waterfalls and call for your gods to appear?

Do you not realize, dear, that too was living?

Do you remember when you circled back on yourself? Imagined you’d already led a thousand lives, wondered if you’d seen too much too young, wished yourself backwards, hurled yourself forwards? When you asked if your ignorance was better?

When life was all the moments, all the pieces, and you didn’t have the right kind of hands or net or vessel to gather them all together and make them whole? When you wondered where your wonder went, what part of you had you left behind, and would you ever get her back?

Were there any innocences left to lose?

Do you not realize, dear, that too was living?

Do you remember when you became curious again? When seeds sprouted. When groups gathered. When hearts opened? When voices shared?

I can promise you this dear. You will circle back on yourself. You will cycle through kinds of time. You will live a thousand lives. You will gather and you will scatter in millions of pieces. You will break your own heart, and then break it wide open. You will know hurt and so will everyone around you, but you will know more joy than your heart can hold.

You will take in more wonder than you can tell about, and you will take too much of it for granted too often. You will forget what matters, and then you’ll remember it and forget it again. It doesn’t mean it’s not there, waiting to be recognized.

My dear, it’s a playground – life.

You will be thrown loops you couldn’t foresee, and plans will both unravel and strangely fall into place, and everything will make sense and nothing will make any sense, and winks will come from the corner of the room.

Look everyone in the eyes, hon. Everyone, but most of all yourself.

And realize, dear, this too is living.

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Aimee Hansen
Aimee Hansen chases big questions with butterfly nets, only to set them free again. Words and perspective are her sort of playdough. Along with freelance writing, she writes children's stories, dabbles with poetry and is working on a non-fiction project. She is the creator and facilitator of Storyteller Within women's retreats, a gathering for women to explore our stories, stoke our soul voices and reclaim our unique sacred expression. She is inspired and humbled by witnessing how something raw and honest in the human spirit aches to open, when given the invitation. Connect with her at www.thestorytellerwithin.com
Aimee Hansen

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