It feels like a play today. Whistle, or like a shard of the future has lodged itself in my shoulder.

~ Lisa Olstein, To the Left of Boom

Things are shaking again. Moving. Maybe it’s the season? Are you feeling like this? Like ripping it up—tearing through patterns, and behaviors, and expectations, and comfortable illusions, and the soft, gummy gauze of memory?


Nothing holds for me anymore—are you feeling like that too? Maybe a little? I used to be the one who did it all as prescribed. But now… well, I haven’t had my teeth cleaned in over two years. And I keep blowing up my idea of the future. I’ll make a plan, and then I’ll destroy it. Kali is stomping tonight.

Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction. She destroys unreality and brings down liberation. Far from some fearsome specter of death, I think of Kali as the remedy for an out-picturing of belief. It’s the belief we hold in permanence where none exists. Permanence of the body. Of life as we know it. Kali, the great force of change.

Kali knows how to rip it.

I’m questioning everything again, and everything is questioning me. My relationship is under scrutiny, our long-term plans. Are we even compatible? we ask one another. Do we want the same things?

You see, we were so busy falling in love, and being for one another the one who has fallen in love, that we put all the rest of it aside. And I’d been so busy redecorating her house after I moved in that I stopped looking into the interior of this thing between us, the bones.

Kali wears a necklace of skulls (or heads, depending on artistic liberty). Macabre? Maybe. But she is the representation of a death to what is no longer needed, so this makes sense. This is also why she is liberation.

This death and rebirth cycle is our touchstone. It’s the way we understand regeneration. Something has to die for something else to be born, right? It’s this way in nature—the process of decay fertilizing new life. And we see it this way with all change. We have to die to our old lives to be born anew.

Move to a new city—change careers—leave your lover—slip from one life to another as a child is born. Or when you graduate from school. Or when age asks you to pay the piper.

I have been trying to talk myself into a new position on all this change business. I’ve been trying to argue with Kali, or bargain with her. Can’t I take some of it with me as you storm through? Can’t I prescribe your path just a little? Take our pain, Kali, but don’t take the lovely new downstairs rugs. The safety we feel in one another’s arms. You can have our fantastical dreams if you want them, the ones that we were maybe never going to chase. But leave us our evenings twined up together on the sofa. The deep, warm trust in her eyes.

The truth is I don’t know what will remain. Except the truth. The truth stays, no matter what, and at the cost of everything else.

And maybe this death stuff isn’t an end game. Maybe it’s an assumption into the next. Matter is never destroyed, right? It merely changes form.

So, what if our relationship is just changing form? It might look nothing like what it has been, but it won’t disappear. It will be held in the new—more than memory, and more than what we had. And it may even inform the rest of our lives as the old is released and we give one another permission to move.