Only now
do I understand
“difficult but necessary.”
During childhood, I thought
nature was the natural guide.
Things grow, or die. There is no
tempered middle. There is no
choice.
There is no
decision. Nature just does.
But I did not. The answers
did not bloom for me.

I thought perhaps,
it was a lack of effort – ah,
the immigrant mentality – ah,
the woman fool, taught
that compromise can keep
your life an unrocked boat, an even sea.
Nobody tells you
that for compromise to break even,
you cannot give too much away.
You cannot become shell,
and welcome him in.
You will fill,
but not with yourself,
not with joy,
not with the thrill
of seeing his shirts hang gently on the hangers
beside yours. Instead, you’ll fill
with thoughts of laundry.

A tree will stop growing
if the soil is better for the other,
surrounding trees.
It cannot choose to water itself.

I can.
I should.
I must.

I know
what it is to walk away
from a love that is not serving you —
that is not growing you,
despite you wanting it to grow —
and live.
And blossom.
And survive.

It is an aching living,
to be sure,
to choose yourself.
To choose yourself, over love
at any cost,
you are choosing a
woman’s greatest sin.
It will not be delicious
until after the ache,
and even then…
But, soon, someday,
you will gorge on your freedom
like your eyes feasting
on the open immensity, opportunity of
the Canadian shield,
the rolling hills, the rust belt,
the rich, mineral air. You will
breathe deeply,
serve yourself selfishly, and
allow yourself a shred of humanity.

Be aching,
and true,
and alive.

Photo credit: Kim Smith-Miller on Flickr

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