The sand does not control its environment, having been ground early on in existence. Moving and blowing in the breeze, it no longer retains its original structure. It can be put it in a jar and taken anywhere, molding to the shape of its container. Without external structure or force, it has no shape, no mobility. It is forever at the whims of others with the recollection that it was not always this way. Knowing that it had its own structure is to be aware that it is capable of existing independently, yet unable to and slowly forgetting how to find its way back to solidity.
How trite it is to write of loneliness which remains unseen, yet deeply felt.
To understand others and remain unknown oneself, is to be doused and smothered. A spirit burns, rich and full of life, wanting to be known and sought after. Some may show fleeting interest only to retract immediately as they are burned by blistering intensity. To be known is more than walking in shoes, it is sliding into skin and morphing the mind into another mold for the amount of time that is required to know the nature of another. One must be open to discomfort to mold the mind in this way and many never will be. Countless spirits go unknown; fires decaying to paltry embers, smoldering. Some allow themselves to be known in this form as a means of survival, yet the truth of a fire can never be known when only observed as the embers it becomes. The embers reignite at the slightest draft of perceived genuine interest; grating madness seeps in languidly. The fire can and will go out entirely once all hope has drifted away on a fickle breeze. The fire will not remain for sheer physical presence because it learns to distrust words and actions that do not align. The fire learns who is not to be trusted with its scorching intensity. It smolders on, slowly dying, yet burning as long as there is hope to be truly understood. As long as there is hope for the desire to understand and the capacity to tolerate the blaze, it smolders on, abiding in agony.
The hardest burden I have had to bear is carrying this soft heart. To be hard has a simple ease to it. Being soft requires an unending grit and strength; the strength to be vulnerable again. All the while, you heart begs for reprieve. Softness of heart is not for the weak, but for those of us who continue to hope and try for a better way.
Breath is life and is cruelly restricted by the fist in the chest. Change and unknown clenches the first which squeezes the breath and tightens the lungs, restricting airflow. At first it is alarming; feeling like a walking suffocation victim. The hand is unseen and acting like a drowning victim is an unacceptable mode of behavior when the attacker is hidden from prying eyes. Acceptance is worse than alarm and fear. Accepting that hand in your chest which keeps a full breath at arm’s reach is an internal death; death of the part of a person which stands against injustice. A walking suffocation is a cruelty; to feel like one is dying, but knowing death is far away. The hand is a ghost and to fight a ghost is to descend into madness.
The feet remember where they were standing when the earth began to shake again. The earth cracks, opening a crevasse where the feet once stood. Hands catch the edge, a valiant effort. Fingers and toes grasp and struggle with fortitude. Hands clutch the dirt edge as it crumbles between the fingers. An easy and impossibly deep fall lies below.
Hands and body strain to climb out of the widening hole below. Ground is gained. The fall down and back would be so sweet, as it is every time; so sweet to be exactly as before. The ground melts away as you fall into the abyss below. The ground or the hands may have caved first; how one gets there ceases to matter once in the abyss.
The deep bottomless abyss of depression is so encompassing and devastating that the sweetness of being and living is lost and forgotten. What is lost is hard to grasp, a deep breath when looking to the sky from under the water. Desperately needed, yet unattainable; gasping for it sinks you further as would water in the lungs. You hold, waiting for that which is missing, sinking deeper and further away until all that is seen is a shadow of the light and cold darkness becomes so familiar that it is the one comfort remaining. The power in being cold, sunk, and empty is armor. The weight of the water is more unforgiving and fortifying as depths increase. Providing support and structure to stop fighting is the pressure of the depth. One stops needing to be anything but a compressed shell with exponentially less capability for love, compassion, and joy than that same vessel when upon the surface in the sun’s radiant light. Comfort in darkness becomes easier than returning. The excruciating tingling of awakening sensations kills and tortures enough to consider remaining sunken for a lifetime, enough to consider leaving a life behind. Like icy daggers, the sensation returns with new knowledge of how much was missed during the journey to the deep. One remembers something is missing as tingling abates, knowing there is a fullness awaiting somewhere like awaking to the sweet smell of ocean water in the air. Curiosity returns. Pressure lightens. The light is above and growing larger, yet still distorted through the watery lens. Losing sight of the lens, only a thin layer of warm moving water covers the face before it emerges, no longer able to feel the cold, icy pressure of the depths. Gasp reflexively and enjoy the pure simplicity of unencumbered breath. After a moment, there is the realization – I am breathing, I am joy, I survived.
What remains from the journey is this: the deep, frightening knowledge that what was once sunk, may be sunk again.