My dad says that life requires perseverance and willpower and that we can do anything given time and resources. When push comes to shove, our bodies will react and protect us because it’s written in our DNA. Fight-or-flight. We will not fall.
So where was all of that when my very being was pulled apart and mocked? When all the things I stood for and loved become the enemy’s instrument of torture? Where was all of that when my face met dirt? When I screamed to the heavens to give me strength but there I lay broken and battered? Where was all of that when I walked into a room full of people wishing for my death? When it dawned on me that perhaps it’d be better if I found a dark corner and vanished?
If anything was possible, wouldn’t I have shouted the predators away? If anything was possible, wouldn’t I have broke free from their hands around my neck? If anything was possible, wouldn’t I have grown wings and flew away?
Certainly, I wouldn’t have lost my sense of purpose. Certainly, I wouldn’t have become a spectator of my own life. Certainly, I wouldn’t have learned to tear myself apart for sport. It’s funny how things happen sometimes; I never imagined I’d die before my parents, but there I was grieving over the girl I used to be.
I still have the drawings I made when I ran out of words and the poems I wrote when I couldn’t sleep at night; they’re burned into my skull. You know what else was burned into my skull? The ability to change my mind.
My brother used to get so upset with me for constantly changing my mind about things. I’d tell him I wanted to play and, a half hour later, I’d change my mind. Well, changing my mind saved my bloody life!
I was a shambling corpse by the time I graduated middle school. I had no path in life, questionable self-esteem, and more reasons to run and hide from new experiences than live them. During freshman year, that’s exactly what I did. Then, I started sophomore year and met a very special woman who encouraged me to change my mind. She’s my favorite teacher to this day.
That year, I began experimenting with the idea of not being afraid. It was better than I could have ever imagined and I fell in love with the happiness it brought me so I decided to keep going.
That’s why I say, sometimes, the ability to do anything requires something other than willpower and perseverance. It requires an open mind. Descartes wasn’t kidding when he said “I think therefore I am.” When I was bullied, I thought I was powerless, so I was. After sophomore year, I thought I was boundless and so I became. (Hint hint, wink wink, nudge nudge.)
I’m not ashamed to be who I am now. I laugh at inappropriate times, especially when dark humor is involved, I talk to myself in my head all the time, I share my point of view in philosophy class even when nobody else holds it, I sit alone at lunch most days listening to KPOP and my level of s**t given = 0, I admitted to my parents last weekend that I like girls better than boys (though I refuse to use a label for my sexuality when I’m unclear on it myself,) and I accept compliments with a gracious “thank you” instead of clamming up. (Shout-out to shimmerwithinher for teaching me how to do this!)
I draw love, not hate, on my arms now. Literally and metaphorically.
I dare to fail then redeem myself now. Best example of this would be how I’m choosing to re-take Finite Math next quarter but, in the meantime, read around the subject as much as possible to give myself a better chance at passing.
This is why showing others how much power we have over ourselves and, as a result, our lives is so important to me. I could have chosen to live in a graveyard my whole life but it was getting chilly in my soul, so I burned my tombstone and ran.
The same goes for you lovelies this lovely Monday morning; you can stay in bed reading this…or leap out of that insidiously warm and cozy pillow fort to seize the day. Just don’t forget to let me know what you think of this post! 😉
P.S. If you liked what you read, don’t forget to check out my blog for more like it!