S is for Smoke & Mirrors.

art, kusaka, prose, smoke and mirrors


“If you aren’t who I thought, it will break my heart.”

I waited for a miracle but when it finally came, I knew life for me would never be the same. They say, “when you see it you’ll just know.” But I was so captured by the mirror that I did not recognize the smoke. Surrounded by clouds of haze, I drew closer to a picture that I selfishly tried to change. Assimilating my life for a person who would never fully reciprocate. Sometimes, we are sold on fantasies of people that are not based in reality. Pledging allegiance to our idea of who and what this person could be. Loving someone, however, requires more than our subjective thoughts, conditional promises and fluctuating beliefs. Love demands commitment, stability and consistency. All things my mirror projected, while smoke masked the fact that this person was not truly FOR me. In the process of breaking my own heart, I fought for a relationship that my partner did not want. Crumbling from the pain of my loss, I was forced to recover my senses and stand back up. I was not called to stumble or remain stagnant under the weight of repeated mistakes. But I am required to learn this lesson and forgiveness is the first thing I have to embrace. The hardest part of this journey is realizing that I drove my heart forward without the secure foundation of my feet. If I am going to blame anyone, that person might as well be me. For trying to love from an empty well and negotiating my ultimate value. And forgetting that in the pursuit of love, smoke and mirrors will only hide the truth.



Q is for Quiet.

quiet, kusaka, relationships

I am not your enemy. But we have been on opposing sides of the battle for so long that this is difficult, if not impossible to believe. In the recent past, I have tried to give my full attention to erasing your memory. Tearing down any reminders or mementos from our ill-begotten history. What we shared is now scattered across the graveyard of suppressed regret. Still, I wander into new situations and try to hope for the best. I know I usually recover quickly–know that all this pain will fade eventually. As long as I can pull myself out of this bubble. This life was meant to be shared. We give our time and energy to others who we chose to be there. Unfortunately, confusion persists in my heart because the love I thought was mine has no concept of commitment or consistency. Now, I question if what I had was ever meant for me. But thinking about what I lost does not help me to carry on. It is better to release the weight. Quit fighting for someone who did not try to stay. In time, clarity will wash over the devastation that I feel. I sit in quiet and listen to the mess of my emotions which demands my full attention. It is in the midst of this silence that we allow ourselves to accept our reality. And it is this dark night that I can finally see – you were the one who never chose me.

O is for Opportunity.

kusaka, art, life, inspiration, codependency

“There is nothing wrong with being alone.” I repeat this phrase silently until I am willing to accept its reality. For awhile now, I have tried to hold on to the idea of having an additional presence in my life. The one who took on part of my load and chose to share theirs equally with mine. But it is not easy eliminating parts of your narrative and allowing another person to write a combined present with you. It is difficult for me to eliminate the belief that I do not deserve happiness. Sometimes, I would rather be the only one carrying my baggage–unable to trust that another will take the time to unpack things properly with me. It is much more likely that I will be left behind. I have lived with this perspective for so long that even if someone tries to prove me wrong I sometimes self-fulfill this prophecy. Today however, I do not question if I am worthy. I question my own actions and the “why” of my tendency to sit with broken thoughts that do not help anyone–much less me. I wonder what it will take for me to feel safe enough to tell the truth honestly. But I am also wounded by my last attempts at understanding. I am aware of my contributions to this codependent cycle. Aware of the toxic environment I created that thrust me back into the pit of my undoing. But there is so much more to this than the hurt I inflicted because of the past I did not fully deal with. More to commitment than rejecting mistakes or giving up on someone when they push you away. More to the feelings of disappointment that cross the line between hating someone and loving them in spite of their shortcomings. Sometimes a person cannot give any more once their well is empty. And sometimes no matter how much you ask for their forgiveness, you may never be given the opportunity.

N is for Nothing.

art, blog, kusaka, life, nothing, love

From the moment I knew I needed to let go, I resisted. Generally speaking–I am queen of holding on to things beyond their expiration date. I glue myself to ideal fixations–willing (to the point of coercion) someone to become something I know will eventually break. It takes an unprecedented amount of energy to give of yourself to the point of your undoing. Sacrifice is a word of caution for those who have been previously scarred. In hindsight, he told me that it did not have to be so hard. The truth is nothing is quite as difficult as loving a person completely and giving them access to your heart. After you inevitably show someone your full ugly, it is up to them to decide if they want to remain in your life. One person chooses to start running, while the other continues to fight. Maybe we initiate conflict because deep down we know that something is not right. Maybe love is about a whole lot more than trusting if someone will stand strong and stay by your side. I was never more convinced of a dead end than when I was walking with a person who disappeared in the shadows while I was at the height of my light. And nothing is as hard as accepting that they were never meant to be the forever of my life.

M is for Memories.

art, codependency, kusaka, blog, memories

I have a desire to be honest but the truth will make me appear vulnerable. So I choose to bury my feelings deep in my subconscious where they cannot hurt me anymore. The hope is that what lies dormant will eventually fade away. Or that there will come a time when I am able to embrace the necessity of change. After all, it is the heart that is most resistant. It fights in the midst of our self-inflicted pain and throws itself back into the fire over and over again. Right now it is fighting for me. Now, my heart fights against the fantasy it was sold. It grieves the lie of a happy ending. Now, it is working to protect the most precious thing I have remaining–my belief. I feel caught up in a bitter loop of broken memories. Trying desperately to suppress these thoughts that no longer serve me. I remember the last time I wandered towards the cusp of a permanent heartbreak. Numbing my emotions with spirits and physical interactions for which my soul will ultimately pay. Forgiveness still lingers in the atmosphere begging me to release that which I am struggling to forget. But the hardest truth we sometimes face with painful memories, is the fact that they are not done with you yet.

L is for Lucid.

lucid, blog, art, kusaka

It costs too much sacrificing my peace just to gain another person’s trust and understanding. At the center of things, the problem is my willingness to choose someone or anyone other than me. I ran this race before and it always seems to end exactly the same. “Love” walking determinedly out the door, while my heart slowly breaks. The difference today is that I am awake. But being lucid does not mean the truth will be any easier to take. I will admit that I am not battered or beaten or in a progressive state of mourning. I am not waiting for this ugly cycle to start over again. I am better than fickle desires or suitors who can fall out of love without warning. I am not tied to anyone who does not want to be with me. I am a fighter. A notion of passion and perseverance that most people cannot even begin to embrace. There may be hints of dysfunction, but once I choose someone–my love for them is nearly impossible to erase. Love being the overused word when lust seems to be the honest answer for every feeling. Sometimes, we are forced to let go of those we truly love because they were not the right one from the beginning. And then there are moments when we throw them away because we are afraid and unable to see that we are making a mistake. Sometimes, we are so broken that love is the first thing we are willing to sacrifice when it feels like our life is going up in flames.

And sometimes, we fail to realize when this means we are being saved.

K is for Kindred.

art, alone, kindred

The world will not end when you will it. Truth is, it will keep spinning in spite of your protests. But knowing what I know now, I can guarantee that you will still not want to start over again. It is easy to say we will forgive someone when they hurt us deeply. But the actual practice is much more difficult to employ. I am tired of saying that I will do better and then predictably failing in the last place I was tested. Tired of giving up at the exact moment that I need to fight. But I also know that just because a person is sorry, does not mean you have to give them another chance to get it right. How many times have we made promises we knew we could not keep? How many times have our mistakes pushed us down to our knees? I have wounded others because I refused to admit that I was wrong. I allowed my ego to tell me what I needed, instead of taking inventory of the junk in my heart. I am missing my kindred spirit–the one who was scarred and battered similarly to me. At this new level of distance, I wonder if that person is even still listening. I imagine silence tells us what we need to know faster than any words could ever portray. But the only thing I wish I could change right now, is the fact that I pushed you away.