At night all my doubts and worries creep from the shadows and the shadows give them life. They whisper my fear back at me and since there is no such thing as a voice without a body, I glance fearfully over my shoulder, even though my back is to the wall, for the dark bodies with claws.
Did I do the right thing? Did I make the right choice?
I still wonder. I may never stop wondering that.
And that is another set of claws, attached to long, many-jointed hairy arms, attached to a shadowy body, home to a mind that’s nothing but the worst of my own.
One set of claws says that I did this to myself. People say “It’s not your fault”. No, it’s not wholly my fault, but nothing in this world is wholly anything. I made some decisions and brought the consequences down on myself. I know I’m going to have to pay my due. And I’m paying it.
And I’m learning lessons.
This is what I think about during the day, when the shadows slink and melt and the claws crumble like ashes.
I’m learning lessons that I should have learned much sooner, that many people learn much later and even more never learn at all.
Part of doing right by to someone else is doing right by yourself first. First.
Other people never ever ever fit in the holes in your soul. Trying to make them fit is an injustice to both of you.
Where you invest your love is where you invest your life. Invest wisely.
These things, and thousands of other little lessons like dandelions fill a field I like to visit when I’m feeling bad. Their sheer yellowness is overpowering and blasts every fold of my brain clear of shadows. Each time I leave the field I bring a little bit more of its light back with me so that the good mood lasts a little longer.
It’s like a battery, this yellowness, but it never lasts long enough to get me through the thick, creeping night.
I know there’s something else I’m supposed to be learning, supposed to be doing, but I still don’t know what that is yet. That’s why the yellow battery runs out so quickly.
I’m back to square one, the skittering claws and snapping jaws say. Before, at least, I had love. I had a badly-fitting but well-sewn patch for my threadbare soul. Now the patch has been ripped away and the tight stitches have taken that piece of my soul with it. Now there’s nothing to keep the shadows and their poison out.
Good thing I’m used to this.
It’s been easier this time to fight the corrupting influence of them, ironically because the love I had gave me strength and gave substance to my soul. It heals just like the body does, by bleeding, by pain, by sewing up the fabric with its own substance. But it heals much more slowly.
And the infections are a problem.
All the while I gather the shreds of myself up and try to fit them back to where they once were. Oh but the pieces are so tiny. I’ve always been bad at jigsaw puzzles. Not bad at them, but just not patient enough.
But I can’t afford not to be patient, or I’ll never finish and I’ll never get my whole self back.
If only I had some other enemy than my apathy or impatience or insecurity.
People say, “Nobody’s perfect.” People say, “Nothing’s impossible.” People say,“You tried your best and that’s all anybody can ask.” People say, “Do or do not. There is no try.”
Which is it?
People say, “Your decisions make you who you are.”
I say, “Everything is relative.”
So where does that leave us?
A lesson I keep learning and I will never stop learning and it will never stop hurting is this:
There are no absolutes. There are no forsures. There are no guarantees.
That is the single most comforting and the single most terrifying truth I have ever encountered.
And it seems to run the universe.