She surprised me. Like the shock of a jellyfish, eye opening and painful.
I wasn’t like this.
This isn’t me.
And from that moment I saw her, it took me seven years to be free.
She was always present, but never around. Not in the lunchroom or in the hall. Her photos confused me, but made my heart fall.
But… I wasn’t like this.
This isn’t me.
That flicker of light was blown out by heteronormativity.
I’d see her twice a year, three if the stars aligned, at this point in life I’d love to rewind, just because she had a perfect smile and skills to match.
She was a winner, but too hard to catch.
That year in high school was coming to a close. And it was the last stand off.
Home field advantage. But we never won.
I watched her walk away, the last time I saw her… Not even knowing she was my “someone”.
Photo Credit: Eiko Jones, August 23, 2016, taken while on a night dive in Tahsis, B.C.
I’ll never know where my love of silence came from. Quite possibly from the fact that I come from the mountains, where the only sound is that of nature, where the winds make the pines swish, making their way down the seams in the mountains, to settle on the valley floor.
I have began venturing into some free
writing activities, here’s the first of many:
It was hard to get the fire started. I hadn’t been a boy scout, and my dad was the typical accountant type–hair parted to the side, nasally voice, accompanied with an aversion towards the outdoors comparable to the plague. So, here I was, scraping the flint and tinder box with no accelerant. I felt like everyone was watching, but such was not the case. Everyone was hard at work, prepping for the ceremony. My ceremony. I cowered down inside, thinking to my self that I wasn’t worth all the trouble, all of the–attention. But I had made this choice willingly.
Finally a spark took to the dried grasses I had half-hazardley picked.
As soon as I had chosen to do this my fate had been sealed. Only verbal agreement necessary. I was being inducted.
I blew on the fragile flame, watching it take to the sun-dried foliage. I cautiously added kindling to avoid smothering the flame, it was quite infantile, not yet able to breathe and grow on its on. I watched the others in the clearing until they turned my way, I motioned to them and they began to head over.
My temples started to sweat underneath my thick hair.
I couldn’t keep this from happening now. The fire had been lit.
I could see the shadow of the small hare dangling by it’s ears in Fisk’s grasp, limply swinging back and forth with his gait. I silently hoped that the blood will have cooled by the time I had to touch it.
Anna and Thomas grinned at me when they got within sight, I returned a nervous smile. But they understood, induction night was always a bit tense. Behind me Fisk slit the hare’s throat–who small head was strangely adorned in a crown of white alpine daisies and dandelions. The dark liquid pooled in the dust next to the fire, which was important, unbeknownst to me at the time. The blood had to be mixed with the soil before it could be distributed, to connect you to the earth in the area you were inducted in.
Each of us watched as the pool continued to grow, looking more like chocolate syrup in the low light. Fisk crouched down to a short stump and placed the hare gentle onto it. He then picked a daisy from the miniature crown and put it behind his ear like a cigarette, stuck his pointer and middle finger into the blood, removed them and then smeared the blood across his forehead over his brows.
I swallowed, too dry and too loudly, they could tell I was nervous. Anna and Thomas then followed suit, and then it was me. I took a breath and went to crouch down to retrieve my daisy, but I felt a hand on my shoulder. I looked back and saw Fisk handing me a crown of my own! He moved closer to me, placed it on my head and then motioned towards the coagulating pool on the ground. I put my fingers into it, it was sticky and lukewarm, and I tried not to think of it when I smeared it on my forehead.
I stood and faced the small fire, which everyone had circled around. A quick glint of light caught my eye and I saw Fisk flipping open a pocket knife. I had known this was coming, it had been no secret–but still, it surfaced as a sickening surprise. One-by-one Fisk cut into our palms, I watched as the blade slice into my soft skin and left an oozing trail behind.
I felt something drip down my temple, was it sweat? Blood? I couldn’t wipe it away, so it ran down the side of my face, tickling it as it fell.
Fisk cleaned off the blade on his shirt after cutting himself last. Anna smiled, almost graciously as he did so, and then interlaced her fingers with Thomas’. They then reached out to me. Me! I was dumfounded and unable to move. Finally I took a small step forward, held out each hand and felt each of them take one. And then there was Fisk, directly across the fire, across the circle. He told me that Mother Earth had chosen me. Anna squeezed my hand, and I felt our seeping palms squish into each other until the blood mixed and dripped between our fingers to the ground.
My stomach lurched, but I coughed it back. The pain made me wince. I looked up and across to Fisk. He smiled and said to me with a wink.
“Don’t worry Daisy, the first cut is the deepest.”
And it was then, that moment, that I knew I was going to be okay.
I look at you, and you look straight back at me.
Calling to me.
Calling for me.
Like a ringing in my ears.
I look past the imperfections until you are flawless to me.
And it boils down to one word:
After four years, I feel as if I’ve done my time.
The roar of the interstate I now identify as home.
The brown grasses that crunch beneath my boots.
And yet, it still doesn’t feel like home. It doesn’t feel like home. It doesn’t feel like a place I want to come back to.
Where am I? Where is my home?
It’s not here.
It’s never been here.
But the home I once knew is gone. Erased.
I’m lost. My soul, lost.
The desolate miles of desert sagebrush mirrors my heart, empty.
I turn my face towards the bitter wind. It chafes my cheeks and snowflakes sting my skin.
But it’s all I can feel. I want to feel something. Anything.
Don’t hold your breath, breathe with me. Focus in your mind.. One. Two. Three.
I will always protect you, I will always be here. Don’t cry, don’t be afraid, don’t worry my dear.
When your world feels unstable; like a splitting ice shelf. I will always keep you safe, even from your own self.
Just as I expected I have neglected my blog for an extended period of time. I sat there and promised myself that I would be diligent with my writing to capture a steady following; however, my life has become nearly unmanageably busy the past few weeks. So here I am, after procrastinating for the past few months, my apologies.
In the past couple of months I have felt more like a college student than I ever had in the last two years here in Laramie. As I wrote in “I Wasn’t One of the Four,” I became a total introvert only serving my controlling boyfriend. I became a snail recoiling into her shell and shriveling at the salts of criticism from those who loved me. I just began treating the people around me the same as Michael treated me–horribly. Looking back on the past two years of my life disappoints me, and brings me close to tears at the thought of everything I missed out on. I met him the second month of my freshman year, so the genuine dorm experience I should have had became completely obsolete. Which bums me out terribly. I loved living in the dorms, contrary to others beliefs I had so much fun experiencing that type of living situation that only comes around once in a lifetime. And I threw away 3/4 of it for the first guy I met. Pathetic Katherine. Absolutely pathetic.
But here I am, bouncing back two years later–and what sometimes feels like two years too late. For the first time in 730 days I am absolutely exhilarated at the thought of the life that lies before me. I actually feel like I have options and the freedom to travel and speak my mind, to make new friends and establish new relationships. I have hope that I will grow into the woman I have always wanted to become, the woman that loves herself just as much as she loves life. And I can see myself blooming into her. Just within the past three full months of my complete freedom from the abusive oppression I was enduring I feel alive again.
I know this because people have begun to see me the same way they did two years prior: a happy, thoughtful, giving woman with a constant smile on her face. Sure, I’m exhausted when I get up in the morning after a full day of classes and working until 11:00 each night. And yes, I hate the world and the sunshine for those first few alarm beeps, but after I open my eyes and begin to remember just how great of a life I have that smile gets plastered on my face for the day.
For the first time in my life I feel absolutely beautiful. I went ahead and participated in a nude photo shoot, which is something I have wanted to do for years. I feel like a grown ass woman. I’ve finally finished attempting to fit into a size 4 and starving myself all day. Curves are great, and I never thought that they would make me feel so grown up and mature. I am finally comfortable in my size 6 at 145 pounds, you know why? Because I’m healthy, and when you’re healthy you feel absolutely wonderful.
In the past few months I have reconnected with my best friend, and created a new group of people to hang out with. My own group of friends that share the same beliefs as I do,and I am no longer piggybacking off of my boyfriend and trying to fit in with those ignorant assholes he hangs around. I have once again begun my battle with the social issues that riddle our society and have become an ally to multiple groups. I have spent an ample amount of time with my family and strengthened the ties that were so very weakened from the past two years of neglect. I have stayed at an old guy friend’s house over new years and shared that 1:00 a.m. kiss with him. He was more or less a stranger at this point–having not seen him for five years, but it still felt right… not in the soulmate romantic way, but in the way that I knew what I was doing was making me happy. I proceeded to cling to him on a beautiful snowmobile ride that took us so high into the mountains that we were level with the backside of the Tetons, the view was breathtaking. I have excelled in my new job of Copy Desk Chief, I have begun to thoroughly enjoy my classes once again, and finally . . . I can tell that my soul is irrevocably happy.