Writings

i've moved

Hello!
Thank you, so much, for reading with me here these past almost three years.
It has been a beautiful place to call home and to gather with so many of you.

I've moved, which means I won't be here these days but you can find me and keep reading. 
Come say hello HERE

With gratitude and love,
Isabel

salt + honey

sign up to receive updates and fun things on the book birth of salt + honey,
including when the shop is open for pre-orders. 
and thank you, for being here with me in the messy and beautiful things.

Name *
Name

cancer and two years later, love for the scarred and wonderful

to you, love. to me. to what this day in gray january is, wet and cold, scarred and wonderful.

all day yesterday, i kept feeling the pull back, tugging at the sharp parts of my body. 
all day today i have stood here, opened like a hymnal spilling sounds i know without knowing, tumbling through the skin's memory, traveling reckless and gossamer veins. 

two years ago yesterday, i was preparing to go in for surgery, the first surgery, for the second cancer.
two year ago today i was going to the hospital, walking into the fire. two years ago today i had cancer in my body and inside it felt like things were breaking apart, a door not just unlocked or opened but altogether unhinged and the sound of my own heart beats were muffled and thudding like listening to the world above while submerged underwater. 

i didn't know then how things would shake out and go down. i didn't know the grooves i would wear down deep in the road of my survival into living.

was it really only two years, so recent? was it really already two years, so long ago and far away?

how does time happen? what am i to do with all the other lives i feel like i am living somewhere else, parallel and intimate and veiled? do we become beautifully more bare as we age, gathering great losses until we have let go and had torn from us so much that we are diaphanous, transparent, slipping through all the times? or do we become more, richer, a kind of feast on everything we were forced to survive and were fortunate enough to have born witness to, that we swim in the tides of years blended into years? or is it both, together, merged and submerged in the living?

somehow, it has been two years today that i went into the cold room at the hospital and closed my eyes and waited to wake to something ending and beginning. and i want to cry. and i want to kiss things. and i want to smash my face into belovedness. i want to stand under running water for a long time, and i want to call up that which built the bridge that carried me to the other side and say thank you, and don't let us forget how horrifying and smeared with aliveness it was, it is. and i love you. love sent out ricocheting into the cold sky.

it is sometimes easy to love that which comes later. there was so much glory in the relief and the clear scans and the stars written on charts like successful treatment was a moral achievement and not blunt luck. there was so much that felt like the rush of life that came in with the luxury of purple flowers and beginnings. and dear god. it was so fucking beautiful. and how sometimes it can come to feel that what is valued is the after. the pretty pictures made long after the fact, when we use the words brave as if there was something noble in having suffered and survived and we want with desperation to know it will be ok in the end.

and so there will be no big statements about what anything means. because if there is meaning to be had, it has not yet to come find me. i just know it was brutal and bruised, and in its taking it left me altered, marks and memory which are mine now, belonging to me. i just know that at night i map out jacob's ladder, wrap paper wings around it, climb up and down again. i just know that it is true, that we cannot control what we pretend we do, that we cannot predict what we want to, and that being here alive in this body of mine is still the best thing i've ever known.

so today, is a love letter to being in the living. 
i'm loving the one who didn't know what would come next, and who was tired to be here all over again, and who felt dark and light inside, a mouth learning to swallow the moon. the me sitting it in a hospital gown feeling skin stick to white paper waiting for the oncologist to walk in the room. i am loving the defiance and the discontent and the soft. letting the moment be what it was in its raw bite and vice and beauty. and how sometimes another can see us here, choose to not look away, and this a life raft that lets us save ourselves.

how do we make it?
how do we survive?
how we do we keep making art and meaning and love and revolution?
i want some smart answer, some clear concise page to pull from the volumes that tell us all where the promise sinks teeth into the disbelieving. 
but i don't have something so lovely. i have this. only this. 
everything is always dying and something, someone, somewhere is being born.
in all this, a thing so wildly vast, you are like no other that has ever existed. 
how stunning. how magnificent. how much, you matter.
i love you. i love you. i love you.

love,
me