finally seen the light
When I was a kid, I had a list of things I wouldn’t do or say. It was a naïve thing, but I was naïve. I would never say the word fuck. I would never lie. And I would always follow my heart.
Wellllll, 14 year old self? Things change. As things change, we change. If we don’t, we die. Not literally, but figuratively and emotionally. Everyone always says what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – but that doesn’t account for the fact that there’s more than one way to die. (No, I’m not referencing la petite morte, here. Although…) There are always things that may be worse than actually dying. There are also small ways that we die, like papercuts to the heart. These things hurt, but they don’t kill us. They don’t make us stronger, either. It’s not as if pain endured equals strength. It just means you’ve bled and lived. But you’ve changed, too. Not always in a good way.
Sometimes, I am the farthest thing from a lady. I am okay with that, because I’m never just one thing. I can say fuck, and then go drink tea with my pinkie out and quote from Shakespeare. This isn’t a bad thing. Granted, I do not habitually lie. I do not like it. And the last time I did it, it was a split second reaction of panic. What do you want from me? –I don’t know. (Folks, for those who didn’t stay awake during psych 101, I don’t know almost always means I don’t want to tell you. Keep that in mind during your next conversation.) I didn’t answer the question, because I couldn’t. I am not sure I wanted the answer out into the world, although not saying is rather like closing your eyes and pretending the world has vanished. Plath may have thought life worked that way, but rest assured: everything is still present and accounted for, even when it’s not verbalized.
I do always follow my heart. This is a strength. Sure, it may leave me feeling like I’ve just swallowed razor blades chased by molten lava – but being strong doesn’t mean there is no pain. It just means the pain the less important than the alternative. There are times when the best choice is to offer up your throat to the wolves. To step onto the train tracks and close your eyes. To lay everything out in the open and be as vulnerable as you can. That, right there, is a kind of death. Because from that moment on, nothing is ever the same again.
There is no running away. This life should never be lived in a glass house. And there are things more holy than reason. I no longer make lists of things I’ll never do or say or feel. That is a foolish thing. I am not naïve anymore, at least not in that way. But I have limitless faith in the things that I believe. Nothing is impossible. We would all do well to remember that, especially when we doubt ourselves – especially when we question the depths of our hearts. As Zelda Fitzgerald said, “Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.”