959: On Earth

959: On Earth

959: On Earth


I’m Major Jackson and this is The Slowdown

Isn’t getting your heart broke the best? Yes, I jest. Suddenly, you’re on an involuntary diet, as you have no appetite, or you suddenly want to eat everything around you. Your best friends, previously occupied in their own lives, check in frequently; one may even bring over a rare bottle of Barolo or a pint of chocolate ice cream to jolt your senses out of hibernation. 

You suddenly want to buy everything that comes across your computer screen like those killer Bottega Veneta sneakers you sent back after getting your credit card bill, and if you happen to drive by a Jeep or Harley dealership, you’re at risk of making a big-ticket purchase to compensate for the depth of pain you feel. 

Heartbreak is not fun; and that pang of grief that won’t leave you for months  flows out of you as a reaction to loneliness, it makes you vulnerable in every possible way, unlike any moment in your life. Close the Tinder account or you’ll put to shame your reckless days in college with a new brand of recklessness. And, although heartbreak will send you down the hallowed halls of doubt and uncertainty, the upside is eventually you face those insecurities like a boss, having brushed yourself off and considered truly what you want, not out of a partner but more importantly, out of life. 

After my last heartbreak, before I even tried to enter into a new relationship, my friend Victoria noted how she and I never give up on love, which we both know is not found in any one person, but an aspirational state two people can achieve when they partner on an authentic journey together. Although the insidious and unprocessed hurts from past relationships threaten to work their way into our daily interactions, a new love is an invitation to get it right in this lifetime.

Today’s deeply relatable poem understands the delicate place we find ourselves when we attempt to once again cultivate a loving heart; the poem is compassionate and makes room for forgiveness of self as a revival of  the inner energy that makes us whole again.

On Earth
by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum

If the dead don’t know how on earth to live, 
How on earth can the living? Mistakes stack up 
Like nights. We get in over our heads whether 
Or not we truly love the ones we’re with. 
No one asks to be dropped onto the glass like this
And though we do not rehearse our deliveries, 
We find ourselves delivered nonetheless into these 
Thin-skinned vessels we call the Self in which 
We love and lose and love and lose again 
And again, and must learn to trust the stars are fixed 
In the ether despite our first fevers, our mothers 
Either wringing their hands over us in our cribs 
Through the night or trusting our illness burns 
Brightly, yes, but nowhere near as brightly as us.

"On Earth" by Andrew McFadyen-Ketchum. Used by permission of the poet.