I am like fire and tar, burnt out and stuck to the pavement. I’m leftover and left out and everything in between.
But you see, there’s a strange culture here, a community, an entire ecosystem where the world thrives around me, and I wither away.
I was planted here, but my roots don’t grow. My face to the sun but not an inch to the left.
And all I can see are starbursts, the fourth of July remnants blinding out the edges of everything I once held dear.
But I still love you, you know. Even though I sit on one side of heaven, you on another. I still love you although your eyes aren’t blind and your roots are so deep not even Samson could pull you out.
I still love you, and I think often about the science behind it. How all the world can be different inside of another person’s heart. But when I look at you, face now nothing more than starburst, I still see the edges of what you were, and who I was.
The Book of Proverbs hits the head on the nail when it comes to defining fools. And I often feel like my picture needs to be plastered all over it. For the most part, I tend to err on the side of discernment. I mean, I’ve managed to remain alive for thirty-seven years for what that’s worth. But in other areas of my life, I’m a mangy mongrel returning to the exposed contents of my stomach.
When will I learn? When will any of us? I think this is sanctification. The utter removal of all pretenses and an intense desire for utter transparency. Translation: taking the blinders off and seeing reality for what it is.
I got back on Facebook. I got back on Instagram. I then immediately deactivated both. So much head space, you guys. It feels like these online places take up space in my body, and I become more worried about posting there than writing the words on my soul. You’d think I’d learn by now. And maybe I finally have.
I think that’s the beauty of a simple life but maybe the crux of it too. Anything that isn’t gentle and peaceful and connects me closer to Jesus feels like a splinter beneath skin. I want to follow the rules and connect and live a false life out in the ether.
But I know myself and my God too well to fall into that trap. I’m not doing any of this for me. I’m doing it for Him.
I have to deny my flesh.
So maybe it’s okay that I pass on what everyone else returns to. I’m not everyone else. They’re not me. And our journeys certainly aren’t the same.
All of this is much like rubbing my palm into broken glass or the time I did the splits during dance class and a perplexingly long sliver of wood that had popped itself up from the floor entered my bare leg.
I received stitches for that one.
The pain was measurable but this one, not quite. I’ve dissected myself and posted my findings on the internet. Everyone knows my heart, the feel and weight of it.
I’ve always been prone to perfectionism. I’m OCD and have struggled with body dysmorphia most of my life. I’m learning that these things are things I can give to God. I don’t have to hold them any longer. And what relief to anchor into Him and not the psychosis of my own mind.
But now that I’m me yet not anymore, the new version that’s shadowed behind my Jehovah’s mighty arm, I can’t refrain from shouting the truth of who He is and what He wants even at the cost of my own life.
It’s not like this for everyone. That’s the hard part. And knowing where I am now, knowing I’m the very person I used to mock, I can understand as far as a damaged mind can what it means when the world grows colder and the pain reaches places you can’t even see.
And here I sit, pained beyond measure, the whole of me in my right hand reaching out towards His.
I am most relieved when I lose sight of it. When my heart is face up and my mind has wandered off to play with butterflies.
That niggling in the back of my brain, uppermost veterbra beneath the skull, where all thoughts comingle and threaten to ruin me. I am chosen. I know this. But I am flailing, broken bird with broken wings in a broken cage.
How would it have been back then? To follow and walk and be thrown on a path of utter destruction? How would it have been to imbibe your own stench and the taste of metal in your mouth, walking endless miles to nowhere you can’t even imagine?
Is it any different now? The natives tighly woven around me, and I can hardly understand what they’re saying. I am not of their world, I’m of the next one, but the looks on their faces make me doubt even that. They call and talk in a language I once knew but can’t quite make out any longer. They bark and call at me, strange woman in a stranger land, the blemish on their brushed canvas.
And circling around me, I walk to their rhythm, taken up by something that is easy to see but so hard to explain. I have nowhere to go but up, so my eye go there. Exposing my heart to their readied arrows.