I wrote this in 2005 to help a friend find light in the darkness. Now it is me who needs a candle to hold back the shadows…
There is a world that exists solely within me, in my mind, in my very being. This must surely be true of everyone, of all beings of conscience and reason. It is a place separate from all others, protected; belonging to no one but the dreamer, a place of safety, where we are comforted and tranquility embraces us. We feel secure there, surrounded by beauty unspeakable, wrapped in serenity as if it were a warm blanket on a cold winter day. It is all things glorious to the individual who exists there.
I have no concerns in my world. They have no place there. It is a land where my troubles lay quiet, subdued by the purity of the place.
When I dwell there, I am surrounded by those who matter most to me, each of them a light which casts its brightness onto me, washing over me in hues of brilliance. I can feel their love, their trust. It holds me tightly, gives me wings, and drifts with me over the sands of time — stepping lightly when our feet need touch the shore. No one may intrude upon this place, no one may interrupt the essence within.
With me in a chorus of music are my intimates, those who journey by my side, emotional and psychological companions collaborating with me to ensure success at a game which comes with no instructions. We survive this game, but the best players do more than merely endure.
Outside of this place, there is darkness. Therein lies that which is contrary to my Eden. Therein lies reality.
This place tastes different. The colors are wrong. Shapes distort here. I feel it from head to toe. This night which befalls me here has no dominion. I escape easily, stepping into a place and time outside of what is obvious.
I cannot accurately translate this place into written word. It cannot be thus described. Nevertheless, it can be known.
It is like the finger of the universe being drawn slowly up your back, across your shoulders, and around your neck. It is the light that both warms and reveals. It dwells within us and around us, encircling us powerfully, masterfully. In its truth, we receive that which we need most.
Its antonym presents with disheartening difference, calling us friend while sharpening the blade of betrayal. We soar in light yet suffer the dark anguish of trust. How can one reconcile the two? How can one survive the battering waves of humanity which attempt to rob us of our essence, preying on that which defines us and is so personally anchored to heart and mind? We hold our hearts forth, offering them like a gift in the hopes they are found worthy. We attempt to harmonize our souls, one with the other, sometimes blinded by desire to the inherent disruption. The melody clashes. We are drawn into a hurtful symphony of lives. The world is simply too large to prohibit this naturally.
The thousands of places we could be at this moment, the many people we could be with, we find ourselves here and now, plunging headlong into something with little evaluation or circumspection. You have undoubtedly felt this way. My intellect tells me this is living. My heart assures me it must not stop.
Sometimes we must rend our own hearts to ensure we feel. I may choose to do so with my own hands, taking some undeniable portion of my existence and distorting its memory until it cleaves my heart asunder, leaving me alone in despair and depression. Likewise, I may choose to aggravate — manipulate — an already precarious relationship until it explodes upon me, assaulting my emotions like some horrific invasion of my personal Eden. And that is precisely what it is.
For those who care too much, who cannot ignore the chance to connect regardless of how destructive it might be, we, people like you and I, reach out and grasp the world with our arms. We hold it near us and wait for a reaction.
And so we tear ourselves open. We scrape and we cut, using reality as our blade, using it to reassure ourselves with the pain that we still feel and care. Our crime? Only that we cared too much, needing to verify our humanity by way of another regardless of the outcome. Perhaps we even look forward to the pain. Is there self-confirmation there? Is that some kind of proof that we are flesh and blood and feel pain like everyone else?
What is it that teaches us the most memorable lesson? Is it the success we enjoy fleetingly and hungrily, or is it the failure which strikes at the very core of us, inflicting the pain needed for memorialization? Ay, it is in fact the pain, the failure that teaches us life's lessons. That pain we want to avoid so religiously is the touch we most need to feel.
I reach for the emotional scars of lives and loves lost, and I trace their patterns absently, my fingers bringing forth stark resolution on the lessons of life. I may choose to dwell in Eden. I may choose to avoid human contact. I could equally choose to ignore the world around me and pretend I am the only being on a far off world. Those scars, reminders of pain and agony, tell me to mind the past, that it is real, that it teaches us lessons in the way most memorable to our carnal existence.
While we fly upon wings, lay upon grassy fields, enjoy the dusk of a thousand tomorrows, and dwell in our world of eternal light, the lessons of living are not learned by the reticent. We must live, you and I. We must understand that strength of soul comes from living, and living brings pain, and our pain helps us learn and is part of who we are.
Let our friends, our intimates, lend us their strength. Let us ride upon their will in our time of weakness. Let us rely on their resolve when our own falters. Let us learn that the scars are reminders. Let us feel that we may know we live.