Today, deconstruction feels like searching for safety amid gentle knocks on locked doors by well-meaning lovers, reverberating through the dim, stale hallways of the labyrinthine fortress I created.
I pick at the rusted locks wanting to let them in, insomnia and nightmares in my patient, scratching despair. None of the locks have keys or combinations. The terrorized adolescent that made them never designed them to open.
It was all supposed to make sense someday. The logic of my body was built on the fear of certain destruction, as the empire intended.
Was there something very wrong with me, I wonder, that I played its game so well?
Unless I numb myself,
with work, exhaustion, dissociative social media scrolling,
I will have to face the open wilderness of me.
How deeply loneliness wounded me.
How much of me I cut off, silenced, and contorted trying to become easier to tolerate.
How broken and ugly and unworthy of connection I feel in its wake,
inhibiting my ability to embrace the affection that has entered my life.
I survived my twenties by riding an endless river of “somedays”: academics, rough drafts, the religious promises of heaven.
I found safety in a perpetual state of becoming, in devaluing my present for an idealized future I would never have to prove or fail.
Now that I have regained some sensation, “someday” has become a bitter black hole.
I am no longer interested in “someday.”
A/N: I turned twenty-nine a couple weeks ago, and, naturally, had an identity crisis. My life is changing a lot, and I’m attempting to take it day-by-day, to be worthy of the good things, and to hold grace toward the hard things.
to welcome the soft animal of my body back into my life.
In a culture that punishes limits and demands an increasingly lethal level of productivity, I learned to live in shame that I could never be good enough. I learned to believe there was something wrong with me because this sickness never felt like home.
I learned to fear the myth of my soft animal, the inner demon. Yet when I crept to the hollow tree where she lives to meet her for myself, I was surprised to learn she doesn’t want laziness and destruction.
Mostly, she wants vegetables. She wants exercise that excites and interests her. She wants play and novelty and safety, companionship and sunlight.
And I realize these desires are offensive. To the industrialized machinations of our culture. To the systems that we were groomed, but never built, to serve.
It has taken me a long time to learn that those things that are offensive to power, in fact, point toward freedom.
It’s still hard to imagine any of this working.
I have always been surrounded by walls, always trying to purge the weak parts of myself and distill away my humanity in order to be accepted. An automaton who performs virtues and mimics life, but who never truly feels alive.
I make movements for positive change, toward health and life, yet the emotional flashbacks of isolation, rejection, and repression drag me down like tar. I have made progress so tangible I can measure it, but holding onto this awareness is ephemeral when I’m suddenly rocketing back to earth. To the painful, incremental sum of a hundred small things and a hundred small rebellions against the way things have been.
I have never not been what I am, but all I know is I can’t be like this anymore.
Change is a small, hopeful candle flame flickering in the dark. There are more candles than there used to be. Maybe someday, there will be enough for my heart to be considered light.