When you played Duck Duck Goose as a child, if you did, did you ever get the sense that you were chasing and being chased simultaneously? Perhaps it was the circle configuration of the game. Perhaps it was the other screaming, giggling, cheering children. Perhaps that is just my emotional response to groups.
I’ve been feeling like I am running, toward and away.
I don’t believe that running away is necessarily always a bad thing to do. Sometimes you do it because you need to survive. You cannot fight at that particular moment in time, and there’s only one way to keep breathing. Sometimes you do it because the momentum alone from putting down and leaving behind a heavy and oppressive thing feels the same as flying. It’s hard to believe you can feel that much lighter, stronger, faster, more beautiful. Of course, it’s not permanent, but that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be. It just has to be a moment that is filled with more than inhalation and exhalation. Because you need to do more than survive.
So when I speak about running toward and away, it’s not Bad. It’s not Good either. It’s significant, complicated, and solves nothing. Not on its own. Not overnight. Certainly not before bed. I feel like I am capable of giving chase, which has been a foreign concept the past year. Almost two years. I tricked myself into believing that I am meek, incompetent, unlovable, filthy, ugly, and somehow profoundly disabled. Completely incapable of defending myself in any capacity, let alone fighting. Similarly to how years earlier I tricked myself into thinking I was invincible. Neither extreme has gone well for me.
I don’t regret the things that have happened, the things I have carried. Despite episodes of veiled cowardice, I really did want the best for me, for us, for you. I believed. I acted. I went down with the ship. I grew gills and left songs in empty shells. I saved the red tulips from frost. I haunted houses. I set fire to those houses. I found my hips beneath a volcano. I left the signs of my power before Ereshkigal. I shaved my head and threw my hair from the tower. I watched the ice melt into orange light. And I am not done yet.
After so long standing safely on the shore, I have decided that I would rather risk it. Risk foolishness, loss, and the peculiar feeling of looking back on it thinking, That’s not how it was at all. There are always at least three ways to tell the story of 10 minutes, and I do not think less of myself or those 10 minutes or those stories because of it. Not at all. If I have to choose, I would rather go down with the ship than never leave the harbor. And I will drink to that. I will run toward and away. Joyfully.