The haze moves swiftly in… it follows her. The smoke settles all around, holding her as its own. Each step distracts her eyes from the horrors behind. Each sound she hears drowns out her own mourning. So she runs and listens with all she has.
Years of unanswered questions barricade the colors within. A lifetime of being lost in the swirl has caused her resolve to melt. Instead of fighting, wading, straining… she is now grounded, stagnant… looking upward, wondering what deities or forces of nature chose her to perform in their strange circus of irony.
A little girl looks up at the faces around her, hoping to catch a glimpse of love. What she sees is worry; she sees absence; she sees emptiness; she sees dark souls. She buries herself in mountains of blame and abandonment to meet them there. She pushes away the warmth that she feels; she leaves herself to seek them out.
And the little girl grew up. But the little girl still remains, always searching for that gem. The treasure of a pair of eyes who peers back into her soul with the same intensity… The wondrous discovery of a deep, dark, purple haze that fills the expanse between herself and the rest of the world – an offering – a bridge into what others call life.
For pearls are only pearls to those who know their value. A pearl is just a stone to the lot who have not experienced its lush magnificence. Will a pearl still be a pearl in the hand of one who cannot accept its beauty or hold it close?
Does such a hand turn a pearl dark and dusty? And when such a pearl loses its shine, does that same hand banish it… casting it away into the night, with no purpose remaining, only for another brighter soul to stumble upon it and turn it clear with warm affection?
There is a shadowed figure, standing alone in the depths of night. The cityscape around him has been forsaken, leaving him alone in the silence. He is slouching, overcome by the weight of a life spent fighting. Every moment, he has used his mind, body, and soul to sling what ammunition he could muster at the beast of life’s evil and hardship. Most people who know him do not know the fights he has fought for himself or the ones he fought on their behalf.
There were many times he could not sleep, so he fought other people’s demons through the night, leaving them feeling lighter the next morning with no apparent cause for their joy – simply the joy itself. They never attributed their happiness to the scars hidden under his hood the next day, and he never wanted them to… he never wanted anyone to feel the way he felt. He knew that not everyone was born to be a fighter. If all were asked to fight their own battles as he had been trained to do, not many could do so and stay alive, let alone stay good. All his life, he had no choice but to fight for himself. Every day, he fought to be better. He fought to be whole. He fought to stay alive. He fought to build a better life. He fought for his future. And every day, he got stronger. Until fighting a battle for someone else felt like crushing a daffodil. But his own battles… these never got easier. They always got harder – it was as if each battle he faced was only preparation for the next. He never celebrated his victories because if he did, the next one would come suddenly and find him unprepared. There was no time for rest.
Someone once asked him, why don’t you retire? Give up on the bruises and the beatings – take it easy and learn to enjoy life. What they failed to recognize is that without fighting, he had no purpose. He was not a Man who fought; he was a Fighter who happened to be a man.
He would rather die fighting than to abandon himself.
To anyone and everyone who finds themselves in the daily struggle of fighting off fiends like PTSD, depression, or anxiety – this one’s for you. We will make it home.
Some days, I just can’t seem to make myself live in the present. The heaviness of my soul overwhelms the demands of my reality.
Curse my past and its gripping fears! Why must my identity and existence be always shaped, controlled, and bound by another person’s assaults? Why is it that some days, it takes all the strength I can muster to speak a normal word to another person? The ‘how are you’ and the ‘look at this weather’ only serve to frustrate and undermine the hopelessness I feel inside. And yet, I do it anyway. Because that’s what ‘normal people’ do.
All this ‘not-normal person’ wants to do is run away… to find a field and revel in the seamless marriage of blue skies with green pastures. I want to bask in the sunshine until my mentality is forced into alignment with the present. I’m told the world around me is real; it is touchable. I want to experience it in every way imaginable. And yet, my experience seems wholly inside of my own head, entrapped by a past and present of things I do not and cannot understand. Every day, I attempt to tame a beast, but any violence or aggression toward that beast lends itself to my recognizing that the beast is a part of me. To beat and force it into submission is only to assault my own anxious heart.
So I wait. And I try to be gentle with myself. And I fight the dark with everything I have left, hoping that one day, this soldier of a heart will arrive home to find faces who love me and the safety to rest.