Choosing the hardest way

It’s about wanting to live every second. About wanting to feel every inch of yourself. There are places you can go in your body that don’t exist anywhere else in the universe. Do you hear me? There are places that exist in your body that do not exist anywhere else in the universe.

The cave in your mouth. The soles of your feet. They go places.

How deeply can you experience life? How deeply can you experience every aspect of this prism of existence? How much does your environment allow you to delve into that experience? And once it does, how often do you take advantage? How easily we let an opportunity slip past us. And then… it is over. The gap has closed. The door is locked once again.

Is this not even more true when it comes to connections with others? Those we want to connect with are constantly unattainable. Is it so we can look at our existing connections with fresh eyes? What exactly are we chasing? I have loved and loved hard. Over and over. Cracked my heart open. Over and over. To both existing and new people in my sphere of interaction. Over and over.

Years ago, I wrote a line in Afrikaans.

“Die mees vreesaanjaende ding is om ‘n gebreekte kinderhart te moet ontbloot aan ‘n wereld wat vergeet het hoe om te voel. Maar ons moet. Ons moet.”

The thing that fills us with the most fear is to reveal a child’s broken heart to a world that has forgotten how to feel. But we MUST. We have no choice.

And so, I keep on choosing the hardest way to connect. The one least likely to work, except with the broken-hearted. Those are my people.

When the pain has become so overwhelming that you flee to somewhere deep inside. Somewhere safe where you can watch the world through narrowed eyes. And then you stop watching the world and instead start searching inside your own cavernous heart and mind. Inside the skull, inside the muscle, inside the bone, inside the vein, inside inside inside. There is a pulse and a buzz and it is your own life zooming past your awareness. What is this? What is this?

And then you find the fear. The hate. The anger. The drive to survive. To protect your own. Somewhere deep inside. From where? From where?

You find the drive inside your mind. It drives you mad, it makes you blind. Deeper, deeper still. Beneath the fear is the life that beats to go on living. And when the fear subsides and the rhythm calms down, there is another cavern of possibility. But… to calm down that animal of shock and tears and heartbreak is harder than it seems. It needs consistent care and attention. Love and devotion. From you. No one else can reach this deep inside yourself.

Only you.

What was it that scared you so? Dare you remember? Will you become lost again in the jungle of emotion that is unleashed when we start scratching the surface of everything lying just under the skin? Break open skin, break open bone. It’s something you can only do alone. Tell your friends you are going — have someone waiting for you to come back.

‘I’m going inside for some excavation. Please come and check on me in a few days — I may not make it back in one piece. I’ve learned to be hard on myself.’

And so you choose the hardest way because at least then you know you left no stone unturned. No corner unexplored. No dark cave hiding some new fright. No, you searched them all to find those skeletons of fear and hate and drive to survive. Those parts willing to sacrifice — not even another, but your very self! When did a full pantry become more comforting than knowing one’s own mind? It has always been and will forever be; a lie.

There are places inside of you that don’t exist anywhere else in the universe. And you — only you — can go there.


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