real love gets everywhere.

there you are!

i have been searching all over for you!

where have you been, and why is your heart in pieces on the floor?

all the edges sharp and hungry.

there is a lazy, late afternoon sun outside, and listen—a little boy is laughing, riding his bicycle in happy circles freedom at last!

and if you look up, you will see that the sky is porcelain blue—the exact shade of joy, and a
blackbird is singing in the wildest corner of the garden, but here you are—away from it all trying to find the numbers on the broken pieces that make up all that you are.

how to put yourself back together again—that’s what you want to know, isn’t it?

so tell me—is this really about love?

and did you finally allow yourself to fall back into someone’s heart?

how terrifyingly beautiful!

and yes, i see what’s happened.

you kicked off your shoes, and dipped your toes into the cool of the water pooling unexpectedly on the hidden side of your life—the part that you had completely forgotten about, until you stumbled upon it early one evening, just after you knew your old life wasn’t breathing anymore, and then—there it was—a little pond in the middle of your nowhere.

a secret place.

nobody could find you there and and it was a place where you could heal—could show your real skin and speak with your very first voice, the one from when you were still real, and it was good.

and that little pond was full of all the things you hadn’t seen in such a long time and your skin needed to feel that coolness too, that thing that you were too scared to crave, but you were desperate for, weren’t you, and so you threw it off—all the caution you had hanging around your neck in the shape of a key, and that key was so good at keeping things locked, but it was so heavy with fear and disappointment, wasn’t it?

and so you did a big, brave thing and you threw it all to the wind as a gift, and you stepped into love.

but here’s the thing, beautiful one, you love with a heart that remembers things, and you don’t know how to let this new love hold you close without feeling afraid.

that you are not enough.
that you are too much.


that another will come along
and shine brighter than you.

i know what that feels like, and it’s hard to find the right words
to put into your lover’s hands—to explain why you want to run away.

want to hide, before they might, just perhaps in the right light, see that you are not who they want.

and you have been there before, haven’t you?

and you know better than most, that words need to be undressed—completely naked, so that they can talk with their own voice and that is a terrifying thing, isn’t it?

because not everybody likes naked words, some people only know how to run from them.

and in trying to find those words, and in trying to listen to the quiet voice of all the women within you—somehow you don’t know what you are hearing—is it the old ripples of your once-broken heart, or the truth from a thousand women before you, saying ‘please, please be careful…tread lightly’.

and now you don’t know what to do, because you want to be loved and oh, how you want to love, but you don’t know how to put trust together into its proper shape with only the bits of string and the six rusty nails that you have inherited.

i don’t know what to say to you.

for once i have no advice, no words to rub into your fear, other than, ‘give it time’.

your heart will know soon enough—trust its wisdom.

and if it is love—real, live, breathing, hoping, holding, protecting, respecting, carrying, choosing-only-you-over-and-over-love, then your pieces will find their way back carried by another’s hands—if it is love, then this is what will happen.

so here, let’s have some tea together, sweet and strong and in the best cups.

sit here with me—see how the light falls onto the floor and finds its way into the cracks?

it’s like liquid gold.

it gets everywhere.

you can’t stop it if you tried.

if it’s love—real love—that’s precisely what will happen.

to you.
to them.

all the cracks—yours and theirs, will be filled to the brim with each other’s light.

and it will fall from your face and your eyes and your mouth and your words will be birds singing in the light.

you will see.


if it’s love, you can’t stop it even if you tried.

— real love gets everwhere.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Olga Serjantu.
Unsplash.

this is for you if your heart remembers how things hurt before and you are standing with your feet in new love, but you are afraid.

this is for you if you don’t know how to trust because you can still feel those old ripples from the other times when you went in too deep and nearly drowned.

this is for you if you are not sure whether what you are hearing is the shadow of your old fears, or the old wisdom of your intuition.

if it’s love it will fill up all the cracks, just like late afternoon light on an old wooden floor, and you won’t be able to stop it even if you tried.

liezel

whatever is still to come (and) things that we hold in our hands

whatever is now, whatever

is still to introduce

itself to me

as i soften, grow fuller

in the years to come

from all the life that has found me, and

that wrote itself on my skin

this greying, this growing

wiser i hope, and

perhaps there are things

formed, things

sharp and uncertain,

not altogether unfamiliar,

a heart does grow tired of stretching

learning to let go of control,

the safety of knowing how things will look

one day

when we are old,

yet

you are there, somehow

you

found

me, and

were you searching?

wandering into my life

you are love

on soft footsteps

as if you have always been there.

familiar.

so wanted.

the earth beneath me.

i hope that you never grow tired of this, of

holding us in your hands.

— whatever is still to come (and) things that we hold in our hands

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Nathan Dumlao.

Unsplash.

i will find you where the two paths meet in the woods.

i hope that you give yourself permission to become who you want to be.

i hope that you learn to discern whose voice you are speaking with, especially if it says things to you that are unkind.

unloving.

untrue.

if it forces you back, holds you down, keeps you hungry…

…and you know exactly what i mean, don’t you?

one of the hardest parts of healing the hurt child within you, is learning how to say ‘no’.

…learning to disagree with the lies that speak with the same voice as your father, or your mother, your grandfather, or your grandmother, because here’s the truth—if they never learned how to soften, how to speak truth to themselves?

then their pain, is also your pain.

and your scars might look different, but hurt goes by many names.

and you might disagree, this is ok, but healing doesn’t look for blame, only.

healing doesn’t look for forgiveness, only.

healing looks for the truth.

searches for it with light in her fingers and when she finds it, she sees the thread that runs all the way back, because your pain is connected to every mother and every father that didn’t know how to heal themselves.

and if the voices who held you and shaped you into the heart that you are today, left only kindness in your bones, then breathe a deep sigh of thanks.

you are a field of quiet strength.

but not everyone has been given this gift and unlearning is a fierce rebellion and it goes by many names and none of them will call to you.

and it might be hard to understand sometimes, hard to see someone you love get up and fall.

get up.
fall.

over and over again.

they are learning how to use their legs.

learning how to stand.

learning how to walk away.

and we who are learning how to say ‘no’, need you for your ‘yes’—need you for the gentleness that you know
how to own.

please be patient with us.

perhaps we will find each other further along the road where the two paths meet in the wood and we will tell you how we climbed a mountain and you—you will show us the blue sky that you have behind your eyes, the green of the meadow underneath our feet.

we are undoing.

please, wait for us.

— i will find you where the two paths meet in the woods.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Jens Lelie.
Unsplash.

for those who are learning how to say ‘no’ and for those who love them through that journey as they climb that mountain.

liezel

love, will not make you search for it.

you shouldn’t have to look for love in the long grass,

you shouldn’t have to search
for it

hungrily, living

from crumb to crumb,

map faded,
edges torn

trying to remember
where you last saw it,

when you were last allowed
to sit next to it

for a little while,
until.

sometimes it is what it is

and
not

what you want it to be.

you have to open your eyes

when you kiss, and
keep them unclosed
long after.

love,
if it is real

is a tree that spreads,
shields and

shelters.

you never have to search for it.

it is always there
right before your eyes, and

every time you fall to your knees

in the moss
of the green softness that
covers the roots of the thing

that holds you,

you
will
know
this

and not forget.

— love will not make you search for it.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Annie Spratt.

this is for you,

if you need reminding that love, does not leave you hungry, does not make you search for it in the long grass of your life.

liezel

your drought is almost over.

how many years have you spent pulling on clothes that do not fit—forcing on shoes that pinch and make you fall over your own feet?

how many different hats have you worn and each one more wrong than the other?

how long have you wandered from room to room searching for your own breath?

your fingers in the holes in the walls and all you want is earth under your feet, wide open sky above your head, soft rain to ease the drought in your heart, to hear each blade of grass as it moves in the breeze—some holy books call it a spacious place—you call it home.

and you have seen it behind your eyes just before you fall asleep, and the birds that sing in that garden wake you, just before you open your eyes every morning.

and you know it’s there.
somewhere.

and perhaps you thought it was tied to a promise, but see here’s the thing, sometimes things break and even words don’t hold their weight and it is difficult for me to say this, because of how much i love words.

but words break too, even ones given as a gift.

anything can break, can fracture, a hairline crack at first and then a slow end into i-cannot-go-back and inbetween being the glue that holds others together, and not remembering the sound of your own name, you wake up one morning and your hands are empty and the first thing you want to do, is ball your fists, curl yourself up from the hunger that has eaten its way through your bones, and all the things that you have used to fill that ache, no longer work, because you have been a cardboard cutout—a paper doll dressed up by the hands of others and you have called this ‘a life’ and sometimes even, ‘my life’, thinking that if you could only possess it with a small pronoun, then it would be ok, be enough, but it isn’t.

is it?

and you see others, carrying their lives in their arms and they seem happy with the weight of what they have been given, so why can’t you be the same—wear the same shade of happiness on your lips every morning?

and in your dreams the moon has called you, wooed you with a song that somewhere deep inside of you, you can still remember from lifetimes ago, and now?

now you find yourself standing outside the lines, knees scuffed from climbing outside the box, wrists bruised from breaking the ropes that held you to the life that belonged to your father and your mother and your father’s father and your mother’s mother and all of those who lived their lives before you, and maybe even with you, but see?

this is the secret—their life was never your life to live, even if they said so and there are many ‘theys’ in your life and sometimes the bravest thing you can do, is to turn your back on a hand-me-down-life and leave it behind.

and you have lived a hungry life trying to make sure that your colours don’t bleed all over other people, so thoughtful you have been.

and now?

now you are on the other side of the fence.
finally.

but you are all alone.

and you are scared.

where to now?
where is home?
where do you belong?
perhaps that two-sizes-too-small-coat wasn’t so bad after all?
you could live smaller—lose the weight of your dreams and then perhaps you will fit into
that life?

no. no. no.
don’t you dare!

let those questions come.

you can’t leave without a hundred hungry questions following you, anyway.

it’s ok.
there are answers for most of them.
the others will die from lack of fear.

eventually.

but until then, this is what you do—you breathe… breathe free for the first time and call it what it is—you are on your own, but you are not alone!

open your hands.
uncurl your fingers.
you cannot receive anything if your hands are full of fear.

breathe.

see the wide open sky above your head?
it is all yours.
see the clouds building up in the east?
smell the dampness in the air.
your drought is almost over.

and there’s more.
so much more.

take off that coat, that dress, shapewear?
what on earth for?
you have always been the perfect shape!
no more of this… that hat? those shoes?

kick them off.
throw them away.

feel the air on your face and look! see how your skin fits perfectly… stretched just right over your bones, and this is what you have wanted—hungered for, isn’t it?

this freedom to be what they told you, you couldn’t.

naked.
enough.

here you are.

you’ve come this far and i know that it’s scary—terrifying really, but you can’t turn back now, not again.

open your eyes.
look up.
breathe.
hold out your hands.

the rain is coming.

— your drought is almost over.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Kourosh Qaffari

read them in the night, or in the early morning just before light breaks over your fear.

i hope that they help.

liezel

it is ok if you fall | to forgive yourself.

this is the day after the one
in which i stumbled
over my own
life,

broke myself
with my own hands.

today,

i shake off my feathers,
step into the light,
try again.

— it is ok if you fall | to forgive yourself.

© Liezel Graham 2020.

Image by Pelle Asplund.
Unsplash.

For you who fell hard over your own life, found yourself face-to-face with old enemies that know you by name, losing a battle you thought you’d never have to fight again.

You might be broken.
You will heal, again.
You might feel like a failure.
You are not your failures.
You might feel like giving up.
Please, please don’t.

Here’s some truth…

You get to try again.

x

Image by Pelle Asplund.