#12: The choice to be quiet is a privilege because it means you had the chance to speak.
That's all I can say after a weekend like this one: A weekend that included a lot of emotions and so many successes.
It is probably the first weekend in quite some time that I have felt nearly as alive as when I first came back home.
I do feel that word for myself now: Home.
It's been a wild ride, a journey, establishing Memphis as a home too.
And, still the same, I think my "home" will always be in my body. Now I've reclaimed it as mine, and I don't want to share it with anyone, trade it for a valuable experience, over-glamorize its perfection, or undervalue its worth. Sometimes, I don't even want to talk about it.
But for the first time, not talking is a choice: an option among options with equally guaranteed safety, inner-fulfillment, and contentment. Not talking is, for the first time, not a result of forced, coerced silence as a hustling mechanism for basic met needs. The choice to be quiet is a privilege because it means you had the chance to speak, and you had that chance either because you pushed yourself forward to demand being heard or you were already well enough to be in the spotlight.
The past year has been a struggle of a different kind: a struggle to sustain what identity was found and unburned. A fertilized remaining of what fresh spirit that returned home a year ago. and revived that previous year of this year ago.
It wasn't a fight for my life as much as a fight to keep living. I am very, very glad to have not quit.
I remember February being one of the saddest months since my 18th birthday, and I remember feeling as though everything I'd found had been both lost and terribly, terribly taken from me. I remember because as I write this, I am very humbled to think that I bitched my way forth from that sadness into today's diligence so that I might advocate for my soul to live a while longer. What a sad, sad, heavy attitude I came to have, and what a relief it is to have thrown off the shackles of that shame.
About a month ago, it occurred to me that I am surrounded by very, very bright people, most of whom are living out their dreams, all of whom are suffering, very few of whom are whole-minded, none of whom has always been so. That is because all of us have or will become sick inside. Suffering is non-discriminatory. Pain is innumerable to those who call themselves alive and known. Death is promised. Joy is certain. And happiness is a mythical unicorn.
What I am saying is that life is fucked up, like, all the way up. And because life will always have more experience than any set of our years combined, we - the grieved - will always face a choice: To what extent will I play life's fool? Or, can I signify the fool inside of me? None of us will ever shine, but we can reflect the light that only comes from our Maker, and our Maker, King over Life, is like a benevolent, omnipotent chancellor whose monopoly game is rigged only in appearance, and only those who practice tomfoolery are unwise enough to see that chancellor's greatest blessings to ourselves: one another.
I do believe I was made in the image of God because only He could take what flaming hot shit existed in February and make her unbroken again. And by unbroken, I mean only a metaphorical likeness to salvation, because I think the greatest tragedy of February is the awareness I have now, which is that there was no brokenness inside me in February at all.
You see, yes - My eating disorder is 100% my mother, and my mother is 100% my eating disorder, but at some point, I stopped having an eating disorder, having only a mother whose left eyelid twitch could send novel-worthy stories of eating disorder tales into my mind. And that is how I betrayed the one who I now know to be far more fierce, more worthy, more capable, more confident, more in touch with reality, and more pleasant than the one who wrote on the pages before those I use now.
You could call this a long awaited kind of renewal, a re-tapping into grace, and the efforts spent were already paid for.
If there is a gospel, and I believe there to be so, it is only logical that I trust a God I do not have to believe in or depend on in my own strength. He must not need to wait for me, expect any kind of faithfulness, fulfilled commitment, or even consistent honesty to honor what high level of integrity a very perfect God deserves. Because I can never and will never and have never been able to deliver that quality character.
God must stand in the heavens, operate only as God pleases, remain loyal only to God, steward only God's values, and remain accountable only to justice as a measure of worthiness, compassion, and perfection.
It is only before I last fell that I saw there is no opportunity ever for a faith switch to be clicked on or clicked off, because my arms are chopped off all too frequently and too easily; I am a Gemini by astrological design, Bipolar by DSM category, and imperfect in man's current destination, all of which to say there is no hope for a "getting my shit together" of my own strength. I am sick. Never will there be a finer reason or poorer excuse for bondage to an eating disorder.
But this I can tell you, this I can say:
Once, I tried to adult.
I mean, I tried really, really hard.
That's when I knew a childlike hope will always work better for me.
I have not behaved.
I have not grown infinitely stronger.
I have never, never, never once failed.
I have found loneliness only when denying myself my sorrow,
and I have seen provision when finding out I will never be the only one.
Photography © kendall crouther