by Francesca Zelnick

Since I’ve Been Gone


It has not been a lack of inspiration that has kept me away. There has been plenty to write about. There has been a lot of sadness, and some happiness, and some overwhelming feelings that have yet to be given a name. There has been loss and there has been growth. There has been the most tender and uncertain of hopes. There has been so much to say and so little strength to speak. There has been too much silence in the places I should have been filling with sound.

I went years and years without crying. Not without sadness, but without tears. There were times I considered there was something wrong with me, some physical malfunction that kept my eyes from welling up, that locked everything inside. It was unnatural and unhealthy and a weakness. I recognized that. I hated myself for it.

My body was failing me. I needed it to express the things I couldn’t put into words. I needed it to say all of the things I couldn’t. I needed tears to fill the place of silence.

Instead there was only silence, and the desperate longing to be capable of things I knew I was incapable of. There is no suffering like the desire for the impossible.

And then one day, not so long ago and for little reason at all, I felt a tear on the side of my nose. And I laughed, because I thought of Pinocchio, and I knew how silly that thought was to think.

But I also understood more fully than ever what it felt like to become real. I understood what it meant to wish for something and have it come true, the incomparable beauty of the moment when the seemingly impossible becomes possible. I understood how being alive is enough of a dream for anyone. I understood the quests we all make in pursuit of becoming real. I understood the sacrifices. I understood the risks. I understood why. And there is nothing silly about it.

That single tear rolled down my cheek as though it were a key. It opened every cell in my skin. My body hummed. More tears came. Years of tears. Years of joys and sorrows and things that had been stored within me without my consent or knowledge. Years of feelings that have yet to be given a name. They flooded me. They poured from me. They filled the many silences of my life.

And for the past few months, I have been crying – over books and movies and “real world” circumstances. Every feeling has made my eyes well with tears. There has been a lot of sadness, and some happiness, and some loss, and growth, and hope. There has been a lot of change, and a lot of moments so big and so small that I can hardly find words to contain them.

But I will try. Because that’s part of my quest. Because that’s part of what makes me real. Because it is not only possible, but absolutely necessary, to try and create beauty out of the things that make us weep.

Comments on: "Since I’ve Been Gone" (18)

  1. looking forward to honoring your many stories….

  2. B. M. Wells said:

    I like your style!

  3. My dear beloved Francesca. I knew in my heart your absence was incubating something so incredible in your soul that when you returned to share your discovery I would smile and weep with you in your courage and bravery to just GO THERE and sit with it. I am silently sending out a prayer of thanks to God for the gift of tears, emotions, laughter, fear, hurt, joy. What a miracle they are…especially when what was seemingly lost has returned. Your tears and words flood us all with hope and celebration. Who we are IS enough…exactly where we are.

  4. Stirring and eloquently said…

  5. Bows graciously at your return…

  6. Have missed you, beautiful Francesca…thank you for sharing so much.

  7. Oh Francesca, you are absolutely amazing! Thank you for sharing. Also, I can SO relate to the other post that’s no longer showing. Without ‘outing’ you, I have a very similar relationship. We had a reconciliation for a few years. It was miraculous, but then it crashed and burned again. I hope yours continues to build and heal. Much love.

  8. Worth the wait. For us. For you. I am amazed by how with all of your growth and change as I have been reading your blog, you continue to become more of who you are. Love to you my dear friend. xoxo

  9. Tears have such purity….
    A gift few understand


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