“Though my soul may set in darkness, It will rise in perfect light.
I have loved the stars too fondly To be fearful of the night”
-- Sarah Williams, The Old Astronomer to his Pupil
I saw this quote in a video someone made on YouTube. I'd never heard it before, but I can't stop reading it. Especially the second line.
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
Tell me I'm not the only one who gets shivers reading that? It's like a battle cry. Like MY battle cry. Like I have loved writing too much to be afraid of failure. Like I have loved creating stories too much to accept a life without it. Like I have loved living too much to surrender to sadness.
It's exhausting to keep fighting. All the time. And I feel like a broken record, what with all my blog posts being about the same thing, basically. Depression, healing, depression, healing, heartbreak, blah blah blah. Bear with me; this blog is one of my outlets, one of my desperately needed outlets, as I come to undo what the past two years has done. All your support and words of kindness -- I can't even begin to tell you how much it helps.
A week or so ago, I applied for an internship with To Write Love On Her Arms. For the application, a video was required. I did mine in the form of a slam-poem. It's not as eloquent as those lines from Sarah Williams' poem, but I was still pretty proud of it:
I’m in a prison cell. But the worst thing of all is that I deserve to be in here.
I deserve it.
Each thought that crosses my mind, each word, each action, each breath, each whispered plea, each tear, each desire that urges my limbs to move condemns me.
Sometimes the door opens and light filters in, blinds me.
For a moment I am free to breathe and laugh and smile, remembering what warmth feels like.
But then, just as easily, the door closes.
I am reminded in those moments what I am capable of, what great darkness sleeps inside me.
Self-destruction can never be removed; it sits, haunting and waiting, just waiting, to close the door.
“We’ll get you help,” my parents said. “Tell us what’s wrong. Trust us.”
That conversation resonates in my mind and draws lines across my heart,
They offered me a way out of the darkness in a few simple words.
But how can I trust them, or her, or him, when I can’t even trust myself?
How can I believe they won’t turn on me, just as easily as I can turn on myself?
No word of warning or whisper of caution; just awakening.
Just a sweep of darkness and the door closes, and I’m trapped inside myself.
Be strong, be hard, fight it, fight, fight, for the love of God keep fighting.
It’s all I know how to do.
Fight, defend yourself, fight the pain, fight the door closing, fight the darkness, don’t let the door close, dear God don’t let the door close–
It does close.
And it does open.
In those moments when it is open, when the light makes me forget the darkness that still sits around me, I can tell myself it was nothing.
I can tell myself to just breathe in and out, and everything will be okay.
We are taught to believe everything will be okay.
But – it wasn’t okay.
When the door closed, it was the darkest sort of “not okay” anyone could experience.
Yet, when the light shines down on me, the pain I felt becomes utterly childish.
I feel foolish for being embraced by such a hateful darkness.
I feel – everything.
Shame, for not being strong enough to fight it.
Regret, for letting myself become so weak.
Fear, of my weakness being discovered.
Pain, because I know if I let anyone in when the door is closed they would hurt me.
Or hurt for me.
And you want me to be vulnerable? To let you in when the door is closed, let you see the darkness that sleeps in me, let you hear my cries and taste my tears and feel my rage as I break?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Such a simple thing.
My friends, my family, my loves,
They keep fighting to get inside. They keep pushing against the door, screaming for me,
Calling my name against the darkness.
Community doesn’t give up.
Community is one pain in many bodies, one joy in many bodies, one life in many bodies.
And they fight for me.
Keep trying, sweet God, keep trying.
Don’t give up on me too.
I will put up walls and kick and scream and beat against everything you try to give me; but inside that prison cell,
deep inside the cold, dank darkness,
is a terrified little girl.
She’s covered her ears against the screaming, closed her eyes against the ominous dark.
It’s that little girl I fight for.
That little girl inside every big girl,
That little boy inside every big boy,
Who still remembers what sun feels like, who can still taste the taste of melting ice cream cones and who still wants to have Disney bandaids on their bicycle injuries.
That little girl who still believes in things.
That is my passion. That is my love.
Urging that little girl to come out, please, come out. Don’t worry, we won’t hurt you.
Don’t worry, we won’t leave you.
Help. Help. Help.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
This is me. I am here.
Because they fought for me.
So I will fight for them.
I will fight for them, struggle for them, protect them.
I will write love on their arms.
I just have to keep being that. Healed, not hurt. Strong, not scared. Whole, not halved. Because I have loved the Saragirl Seed too fondly to be fearful of being her again.
Grand Finale: New Favorite Song -- The Freshmen by The Verve Pipe