"You are strong, but you seem dissatisfied."
On some days I feel like the small and frail Bontenmaru, but I know that I'll take my place as The Captain when the time is right.
For as long as I can remember, I've had to fight. This is not a unique condition for a life, as life itself is a great, great walk, but also a great great battle. But I cannot help but think that it's only the grace [upon grace upon grace] that has kept me alive.
Last week, someone I love lost a friend of theirs. They took their own life. Life was too much. I always wonder what it took for these people to break so deeply that death would be solace to them. Our first thought is always 'how could this be?'. Then I realize that I already know the answer. I've felt the answer in the past. It saddens me how we go from drawing caterpillars and reading picture books to putting our hands over our eyes and having our hearts physically shake from the fear, the pain, the anxiety.
I wish I could go to my 10 year old self and tell her, "Get ready, 'cause you're going to have one hell of a story to tell." And these words ring true. However my nights are filled with the question of 'Why?' and a deep, deep hunger for mystery.
You cannot just ignore the rage that builds in your chest. And your calls full of saying "If there is nothing of purpose on this earth for me to do, then relieve me." don't seem to contain the response you wished. And the word that is "Father" contains mixed emotions and mixed definitions both of lies, instability, and honor. I do not give in to disease, I do not break my bones easily. But my mind, my emotions-- [often scarred to ribbons], love to bleed. Anger seems to be the emotion of this season. And defense the task. Restlessness too. I hate it and I love it, and I despise that I embrace it. [Remember- I was an emotional alcoholic, and sadness was my wine of choice.]
I am being redeemed. No longer "Little and Bitter" but "Prophet, Defender, Servant and friend".
I was born as Bontenmaru was. I was born from distress, I was born 'little and bitter' [though that was the old me]. I've been fought for and summoned by both darkness and light, and their servants want me to join their cause. I feel their pulls--
but I know better.
I know that despite the constant courting that the darkness sends me; I was born to be a captain, I was born to etch a verse inside this mysterious body that is 'O life'.
I know I was born to serve. And I have tried to become on my own strength. I have tried. I have failed.
Why is it every lovely thing that feels less than whole? What is it about "Hurt" and its spiky filth that we love to crawl in? These months I have cried like a child [which are not fitting words, for I still am a child] but I lack the ability to be content with where I am. I lack the ability to ride through life without a fight to know.
No, I crave "The More". I crave to know why I am, who I am, and where "I am" lies. I crave the vulnerable embraces, a whisper in my ear, the fields, clangs of sword and shield, and to partake in the lifestyle of pursuing justice and defending those who cannot yet defend themselves. So many times I've been beaten down by giants and agents of darkness. So many times my face bled as they held my head in between their palms. So many times did I return to my pillow only to find it still damp from the tears of days and nights before. I've lost limbs and bones and eyes in the anxious nights, and I wake up to find they've returned.
Sometimes I think about heroes. The heroes that never believed that they were heroes. What is it about them? How can I do what's right too?
Am I older? I feel 20 years older. Not in weariness, but in the number of battles won, fought, lost. I moved from the town of my childhood a little over a year ago, and yet I see those faces and places as if they were of 20 years ago.
If you ever see me on the cool streets during the fall, and I give you a smirk and a nod-- do not let the
bright eyes fool you. There's a seasoned soul behind them.
And yet, I am young. I have not reached two decades of life yet, and sometimes that
astounds me. For I do not believe it is good for such a young person to feel hopelessness and intensity at such a young age. I don't believe it is for everyone to battle the invisible and internal battles at so young. The soldiers are getting younger and younger. And the battles grow relentless. There is so much that should not be.
I serve and I fight, for my life on some nights, for the lives of others on most. And I could do this all day. God would come sooner than I would willingly give up. I might stay a day, maybe two on the ground. But I promise you.
I Promise you.
I'll get up.
It's 2003. My younger self is 8 years old. She's probably drawing, watching The Muppets, reading picture books and trying to draw a "kader-piller" the way she likes it. Simple life, but she doesn't know that in a few years-- she'll learn about what an emotion like anger can do to you. She doesn't know that she was marked for this time. She'll feel a lot of pain and will bleed for it. She'll be introduced to a home full of tension. She'll trade the multicolored Crayola crayons for the dark, relentless shade of a deeply rooted pencil. She'll learn a lot of things the hard way.
I'll see a way to find her, to talk to her. I'll retreat from the decay of present days, and find the key under the flower pot, where it always is.
I'll start with a gentle "hey.." and she'll look up with those greenish-blueish eyes of hers. She won't look quite like me. She's blonder, lighter; and her hair is long. She won't have the tracks of all the tears that will etch her face. She'll probably be thrilled at seeing such a raggedy and muddy girl [as she is always thrilled by that sort of thing] and perhaps I'll not find the words to say right away.
I thought to kneel down, to meet her face-to-face-- and let her know of a few things.
...And all I'm asking you to do is to remember. To hold on ever so tightly onto your optimism, your far-flung hopes and improbable dreams. Don't be afraid. And don't you hide. Grow close to your sister. Somedays, that will be all you have.
.. And all I'm asking is that you, pretend that you see who you were before all this earth eroded you. I'm asking that you pretend that you are that 5, 6, 7 year old girl or boy. And tell them what you would. Tell them your stories. Tell them that every time you've said 'I'm not going to make it', you were wrong.