On Living Rebelliously
From such a young age, we are taught that the answers we seek and the security we crave come from those outside us. The ones in positions of power and authority tell us that in order to be good people, we must follow Their Way. The One Way.
If there is anything I have learned over my 25 celestial turns on this earth, it has been that if someone is arguing their one perspective is the One True Way, please, for your sanity, run the other direction as far and as fast as you can.
Forcing others to see your opinion and trying to coerce others into believing your own world view is a feeble attempt to build yourself up. If we spend generations ritualistically living our lives because “That’s how we’ve always done it,” how can we be so surprised when we wake up one day to find out our lives are stagnant, miserable, and not worth living at all?
As children we were told we had no authority. We were just dumb, babbling babies, so adorable in our ignorance and innocence. They didn’t mean we would be dumb forever, but if not now, when? At what point does the child become the wise one? Maybe it is when the wise one becomes a child once again.
I spent my childhood running for maturity. I strived to be a mature and loving martyr, because that is where honor and respect would find me. Once that maturity was in sight, I began to notice that this land of responsibility was not as bright or soft or inviting as the childhood I gave up so soon, and now instead of racing for adulthood, I found myself scrabbling desperately backwards in a mad bet to escape it at all costs. Running against the current of time is more futile than throwing yourself on a rock, hoping to come out the other side unharmed. Here I was, both a terrified child and an unwilling adult, begging for time to stop so that I could savor the fleeting eternity of my childhood just a little longer.
Babylon’s benchmarks of adequacy did not quite stack up to where I had found myself. Considered a victim of circumstance, I lived in a darkened basement, surrounded by mold, tainted water, and poisoned minds and bodies. I had tied myself, the martyr, to my only known cause of suffering to prove to myself that I was worthy of love and respect for suffering at the hands of a wounded man-child. I loved and respected someone I took to be more as my son than my lover, and I wept for him when he left, because his absence meant that I had nothing to love and respect; My self was not worthy of that, and to perform such an selfish act of self-love was an abomination, for I was nothing without something to serve.
The most rebellious thing I’ve ever done is try to live my life fully and with purely positive intention.
Even giving compassion to the voices in my head, I have been labeled as ‘crazy’, not just by others, but by myself. This is a truly sickening, invalidating, and hurtful term that we so casually wield at others and ourselves for being excited, eccentric, and different.
I found love for life while held tight in the long and strong arms of the man I am now proud to call my husband. I found love for life as he pulled me close, hearing the thick and loud rumble of the freight trains lumbering by not twelve feet from the foot of our bed in the dirt. I sang songs I can’t remember the words or tune to, because they were not meant to be remembered. I sang for love of life and of myself. I sang songs for freedom, and lived as the warrior I was always destined to be.
Femininity is an aspect that I have long struggled to incorporate, if only for the fact that I could never be allowed to balance it with a masculine aspect. As a life-long tomboy, I rejected anything that forced society’s view of how I should be on to myself. I rejected anything that did not relate to pain, and suffering. I wouldn’t learn until later that shouldering the burden of those two aspects of life was a doorway to respect and love, as long as they were done in a self-respecting and compassionate way.
I still take on more than I think I can, but that is only because I really think that I can. I love myself for what I have done, for finding joy and love at the feet of those who had more than me. I love myself for what I intend to do, having known this experience and more. I love myself for ever finding the words to express this love I have for life as it stands right this very second.
That’s all I’ve ever had. That’s all I ever will have.
Some seconds I dream of meeting my child for the first time. Some days are filled with more of those seconds than anything else. Some days I mourn for the child I used to be, and have long heart-to-heart conversations with her, letting her tell me all of what she thinks make the universe go round, while we fight and play and rough house and pretend to be a family of wolves.
Compassion does not come from someone other than yourself. The only way to be at peace in the storm is to be at peace with the storm. On days that I will it, I am the storm, and I breathe in the energy that it whips up from within me, and I am fine.
The most compassionate thing I ever did was love myself.
Oh, what a beautiful thing.