Rocky Coast of Unknowing. 2018. Topography of Safety.
In the beginning, where did you go, that person you were – the flowing, loving child in the prim clothes? Quiet, intelligent, dreaming of great things to be done. The gentle child who with much confidence in the world sat in deep regard for all that was possible. She wondered at all the colors to be arranged and made to work. She stared out the window in the twilight hours when no one was there, looking at snow as it circled and dipped and danced. She wrote stories and drew pictures and was happy. Where did she go, that creature of all possibilities?
Storms hovered betting on landfall. Sharp harpies lurked behind thin walls. There was some moment when grey tentacles of slander and restriction grabbed her arms and held her down, forcing grim ideas about selfhood. Voices blared nightly in the arena of degradation. The howling of family harsh, as torrential tides rained with thick pelts. The bruising was unbearable. The betrayal daunting. She let them snuff her out. She closed the curtains and hid in the body of another for decades. The other with anger so vast it wiped the slate clean. It made her into the amalgamation of all that was wrong. The suffering made her heartless, so she wasted all that was good about her person until very little could be done to retrieve a life.
What exactly happened, and why, can never be surmised but know this. With barely a heartbeat left, and with a broken compass, she sailed through every harrowing bastion of disgust and bad tidings to re-emerge on the shore of nothing. Far, far, far away from the sores of youth. Not completely away from the sins of men and women but distant enough to find a plain of comfort. She had no idea she would survive it all – the violence, the indifference, the cruelty, the judgments, the humiliations. She did though and when the others, long since dead were but vague ghosts, a little joy returned. She forgot happiness thinking the sky was always falling. Within the confines of such things she created beauty. How is this possible? She will never know but a piece of that child exists somewhere, the spirit almost intact. It is the child that triumphed, not those who think they know and beckon toward hell. It is the elementary person after being ripped from herself remained available to rebuild a life.
Here she stands near the end. Resurrected at last. Gambling on safety. Hoping for an even chance. Startled, afraid and often encouraged. After a war, after a baptism, after the worst of the worst took her tongue she stood up with fair warning and something to say. In the early morning silence, she can hear her heartbeat and trust in the approaching day after a lifetime of falling off every corner. In the cursory hours when nothing means anything, all can be endured and made to appear miraculous. Here is rebirth.
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