Everything is on Fire (and That’s Okay)

It’s been over three weeks since I’ve written anything that is both personal and publishable. I keep opening the page, seeing the white box and the blinking cursor and drawing  a blank.

How do I put down what it means to systematically dismantle a life?

Not in an overly-dramatic way. Unlike my early twenties, it lacks the flair of simply setting the thing on fire and watching the flames dance in the sky. No, this has been a slow, methodical sort of burn. It’s the kind you chose to set aflame to save everything else.

It’s understanding that you need to set down your armor– there is no fight to win now. It’s removing and reimagining the parts of yourself you were so sure you knew, then realized had become foreign when you looked in the mirror. It’s knowing that you can’t use tape and glue anymore, you simply have to appreciate what was built and move on. It’s seeing that everything is on fire, but maybe that’s okay. Sometimes you have to let things burn so new things can grow.

What does it mean to rebuild a body?

How do I explain what it signified to stand alone in my room and hear only my own heartbeat? Is there a name for the tension that exists at the corner of “absolutely terrified” and “utterly excited”? I haven’t yet found language to explain what it means to know that the next few steps of your life will be frightening and difficult, but that you don’t regret them for a moment. It’s unstitching the parts of yourself you were sure were dead, only to find there is still life there and that it is blooming in spades.

There is a unique mixture of grief, fear, joy, terror, and wonder that comes from running your hands down your own body, grabbing the flesh of your hips beneath your own hands and being able to whisper, “This is mine now, only mine now,” in small, sanctified breaths; the prayer of your own newfound path ritually running through your mind.

How do you talk about rediscovery?

IMG_9688Not in the pop-queen-country-belle-diva sort of way, but within the small, undefined moments you had forgotten too. The moments where you realized  you were at the mercy of only your own whims; the simple, everyday decisions where you only have to ask, “What do I want?” I am searching for the couplets that could explain the simple pleasures of small choices. I am seeking stanzas that explain the joy of newfound agency.

The discovery is a montage, flashes of light shot through my heart: bursting into laughter on a hike, catching my breath in open ocean,  a heavy sigh of satisfied relief at the end of a long day; all the images reveal the mini-epiphany of, “Oh! That’s who I am!” and are full of a sense of wonder I thought I had lost long ago.

Is there a word for the moment between falling and flying?

I haven’t found one yet, something that properly captures the silver second where the sheer ridiculousness of what you are doing becomes perfectly clear. It’s elation and fear. It’s passionate and sensual and make-your-stomach-drop terrifying. It’s the silence in your ears before going down the big hill on a roller coaster; it’s sharp intake of breath before you hit the water from the cliff you just jumped off of.

It’s the knowledge that you cannot go back, that what lies forward is completely unknown, but that the horizon out there is full so much potential you can’t help but just start giggling like a kid seeing the ocean for the first time.

It is wild and unfettered and chaotic and perfect.

 

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