I remember reading these lines from Audre Lorde years ago, in a letter she once wrote to a friend, that it is ‘out of chaos that new worlds are born.’ For the past two years, I have been moving past so many boundaries I once set for myself through words. Of course the pandemic was to blame, as well as homeschooling, being a new mom to my baby boy, while losing my nephew in his sleep 2 days after we welcomed my son. My world was indeed chaotic. I was also exhausted.
In the middle of feeling an intense weight of so many barriers blocking paths that would lead to any space of fulfillment, I began to write something to keep. At first it was haphazard, and new and even frightening to bear witness to my life experience on a blog for all to see. At the same time I knew the work was urgent, and so I prepared to showcase all of me for the world to see. What became as a side hobby, has grown into a a full blown exploration of myself as stories, a clarification too of how what lies within affects all that I do. What’ll keep has become a life anthem for me, teaching too what matters, and creating something new, for me, my legacy even out of chaos. I decided to draft this piece in recognition and celebration of this moment where I continue to meet myself eye to eye, as Audre Lorde herself would want, so you to find the courage within yourself to start doing the necessary work of finding bits and pieces of you to keep.
I am learning to love myself, to touch my innermost tender spots, so that I reach you and we both speak truth to each other. Do you know what you’ll keep?
Are you prepared to sleep with the certainty that death will one day surely come! And when it does, will you be prepared to greet even death, tenderly, in love?
To dare to see each other, without dismissal or fear, but total surrender to the love you both share. Even death, loves you still.
It wants to tell your story for you, relive everything about you, even if for a wakeful moment, or until shots signal your journey from this world to the next. To die well, is also to live well. Knowing what you’ll keep, everything, both the good and the bad, is the beginning of wisdom, a precondition for living and dying to a life more precious than any diamond.
I am turning my ear and opening my heart to understanding what I’ll keep these days. I am laying to rest all that makes me fearful, and weak and timid, and instead using the gifts of power and love to protect and support what is useful to keep.
All the things that matter to me, more fully and deeply. I am bearing witness to bits and pieces of all that matter and keeping it in a space, as a testimony to my interpretation of a life lived fully well, endlessly too, on my terms.
I am falling in love with making something out of nothing, sustained too by other people’s testimony, solitude, anything they share that allows me to walk in the spirit.
To be in sweet communion with words, to nurture my inner life through words I choose to keep, is to know love. Do you know what you’ll keep?
To reclaim whatever life brings your way. To meet yourself, eye to eye. To become one with yourself. To marvel too at all you are becoming. All I am becoming too. To examine and savor every aspect of your being, including what it means to be permanently connected to you.
To dream too of what to keep, to do so for myself, ourselves is to live life out loud with you, endlessly. I am living life endlessly, my way, not conformed to the world and it’s ways.
To understand that piece of myself which remains hard to hold, to put it into words for me, for you, is the beginning of wisdom, this necessary legacy work I build for you, for me, in love. I am in love with loving myself and ourselves. In love with knowing, what I’ll keep.
These days, I want to sleep and wake up next to all the things that make life sweet. Next to love, and all things I cherish.
To hear it greet me, tenderly with each passing day. To love in light as well as in darkness.
To establish authority over my own, our definition of us, is the beginning too of affirming our worth. The beginning of a rigorous pursuit of the possible in us.
I want to lie in bed, with my arms around all those I love, all things possible and worthy of keeping. To drift in and out of sleep with them, quiet the noise that invades our dreams, while falling deeply in love with each other.
Writing daily, anything to keep, has become what Audre Lord once described as the ‘beginning of an essentially uncharted and insecure journey.
There are no prototypes, no models, no body of evidence other than a commitment to ourselves to keep the specifics of our lives, however we meet them.’
These are the things that keep me in love, not like a stolen pleasure or a wild treat, but more like the air we breathe, day after day.
These are the words that burn away chaos, that give me strength, that help me find a solid ground from which peace can flow from within, like a might stream.
What will you keep?
For me, till my last breathe, everything.
Happy Birthday Audre Lorde!