BY COURTNEY QUINLAN HOLY FIRE

I Lost Myself In Fear & Found Myself In Tragedy: How To Move With The Missing Pieces

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BY COURTNEY QUINLAN

Part I:

I’ve always enjoyed getting lost, in the physical sense… as an adult.

In that moment where time freezes and you are in the deep unfamiliar. Like the first time you saw what color midnight was. A magnetic calling, some chance awaits.

Maybe this time it’s a new city, or a spontaneous camping trip on top of a mountain during a meteor shower with your secret lover. Or a subway, headed down the wrong track in Brooklyn and you’re horrible at using maps.

Suspended animation.

Out of body, out of mind, like the feeling of being lost in orgasm, neither here nor there.

Yet, you experience them both.

I lose myself in the forest. I’ve told you before. It’s such a gift to be alone, by the riverbank, scrawling words or listening to birds, crickets at night. The crows scattering from the trees is a dark, sailing cloud. Their presence, they let it be known.

You aren’t lost, you are home. This is where your heart resides and tells you tales of your true self. Away from power lines, bars on a phone, and the humming of the computer screen.

Here I find life — not part of the machine, a world outside of that. A world beyond money and beauty and forever keeping a rapid pace. I choose to be here, lost in the patch of wilderness I can walk to, drowning out the purring of cars and flashes of people fleeting by.

How can you lose yourself when every time you are honestly coming home?

Part II:

I get lost.

In thought,
In love,
On a back country road,
Driving my car alone,
A joint glowing in my left hand.
Music filling that void,

Pushing me on through the still of that autumn night.
Some may say I was lost.
Somehow I lost my way.
Stop.
Perhaps I lost your way instead.

Part III:

I lost patience. The patience to love him or you or them or myself.
I lost love (over and over).
I lost my childhood and no matter where I search, I can’t find it.
A perpetual game of hide and seek.
I lost moments in time I’ll never look for.
Maybe those pieces were meant to be left behind.
Maybe those days or minutes or years were my chrysalis.
A shell of my former self.

Part IV:

I’ve lost control.
I’ve lost breath.
I’ve lost love.
I’ve lost words.

Say it with me,

“We’ve lost words
and poems
and paintings or sketches we worked for months on.”

Accidental donations to disappearance…

I’ve lost photographs of a girl I barely recognize. Like a story or a lie, you tell yourself again and again, until you believe it. Until you see it in your mind. Until you speak it to me or others, until you repeat it out loud, until it sounds familiar.

I’ve lost myself in thought or in dreams.
I’ve lost my mind, I’ll say it. They did. He did. She did.
Maybe they were right.

Part V:

What if I realize there is no such thing as lost? I could tell myself I would always find my way. It could take hours, or minutes, or a day. But eventually, I’d come back around. Bringing me back to myself. Coaxing me away. It’s a paradox of sorts.

Every time, my internal compass spins me around again. Dial readjusts. Aligns me with the axis and the orbit of the earth.

Who do I find? I’ve lost this scared, learning-to-survive little girl.

Inside this body of a…
Inside this mind of a…
Lost myself in fear and found myself in tragedy.
Lost my will and I got up anyway.
Because you can move with missing pieces,
you lost and found woman.
Because no one,
No one,
is walking around whole.

For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith.

Sip a little more:

Unleash The Depth Of Your Inner Wild {A Trilogy}

Truths Spoken By My Holy Body

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Courtney Quinlan

Courtney Quinlan is a lover of words and how you can craft them together, piece by piece and build a story, or a moment in time that speaks to someone. She lives in Vermont, as a single parent, with her son who is on the autism spectrum and advocates fiercely for him and others with disabilities. She volunteers as a parent advocate and editor for The Urban Howl and Wild Heart Writers and is a contributing author of poetry and prose. She can generally be found lost in a whirlwind of creative thought, she is unfiltered and fairly transparent. She is passionate about empowering women and social justice issues. She likes to get crafty, making beaded jewelry and crafts and photography inspired by the natural world around her. She is a sarcastic lover of humor and is blessed to be able to laugh at herself and find the irony in stressful situations. Rarely embarrassed and often clumsy she is practicing the art of vulnerability and can be found just throwing her whole self out there!

  1. Robin Langston

    Absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Almost as beautiful as the woman who wrote it! ❤️

  2. Cynthia Speckman

    my god, this is beautiful

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