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  • Nathalie Guilbeault

Blueprint Made Of Man

Published in the Wingless Dreamer Anthology, The Power of Hope - August 2023

I understand nothing will be normal again, because normalcy—most of it, has left me. The genesis of me is gone. In its place, another one, one that tells me humanity is still alive inside humans. One that tells me I need one human to be more than any previous love I have ever had. I deserve it, I tell myself. Like I deserve warm rain and moonlit breezes and quiet silences. And I will need to believe him—in him. And yes, it is challenging. I see the hazel of his eyes waver a little more when he hears my doubts. And when I doubt, I want to dig to that place where chaos makes me less than I am—that place where I sometimes live, so unknowing of myself.

The solace is far, but it is there.

I know abuse made me stronger than I was—stronger than ever. So no, I am not the weakest link here. I am a link, yes, but a strong, and so very unique one at that. I like to think that such a link, held by well-meaning hands—soft, supple, and firm––will help the chain steel itself even more. No gloves please.

There is no recovery blueprint to follow, either––find your own.

Search for it, find it, and define it. He is part of mine. In his name, the name of God flies. Inside men like him, who see the fullness of us, there is a deity—a form of divinity. And gratefulness, almost suffocating, guilt-filled.

Through abuse, authenticity made its nest, inside me, and now, inside of us. What now—now that this gateway has been crossed and pulled me into some new shaky puzzle; now that I have shared on a subject the world wants to hear me and others only whisper about, these whispers like emotional hiccups, uncontrolled and wished away because of the reminder living in its core: I am here and represent a section of the living that could have stopped being. Breathing. But I am here. Still. And breathing, I do, not alone anymore, most of the time, but not when, in the middle of the night, feeling assaulted by a panic that is so difficult to tame and see coming, a panic that rises somewhere in the gut and moves to the throat and stretches to the eye, where red rims are born to stay days on end, I crash into myself, incapable of moving, paralyzed by a pain I cannot explain. Sleep, so very far from me. Tears, like scars that decide to ooze, on their own. A spirit filled with—what? I seem to have no say. But then he wakes up, says nothing and just holds me. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. But tomorrow, I promise myself, I will do better, alone and ... not.

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