It’s still a work in progress—taking on the role of Atlas. Holding a strained position, head cocked to the sky, back arched in accepted pain—all while looking to the stars in an attempt to divine some pathway to take other than this revolution of past transgressions. Even so, I’ve found myself taking steps—sort of feeling out a path even while blind.
For starters, I added a new major, so as of now, I am an English, Theatre Arts, and Japanese Language and Literature major. This was all conceived behind a curtain opposite you all, yes, but it’s been a long time coming. I suppose when you get a high from learning new grammar rules or the meaning of a word you’ve heard before that the love for that language must be real; and if that be the case then, while I may be married and devoted to the English language, I’ve taken up quite a steamy affair with Japanese.
From a more positive standpoint though, learning a new language is very humbling. For someone who thrives in the complexity and diversity of the English language, being forced to revert to a sort of linguistic childishness—hanging onto new words, sputtering like a defective faucet—is incredibly satisfying. Becoming fluent in Japanese has also taken a hefty space beside the rest of my goals—right next to winning a Pulitzer Prize and earning a PhD…
You’re not the only one who’s been blind to the alterations I’ve undergone, though…
I’ve been caught unawares by them myself, and what I thought could be worms rolling about beneath my skin were actually changes I myself couldn’t recognize—most of which I still can’t properly identify and comprehend. With that said, I’ve taken to searching within myself—revisiting old mental spaces within and bearing witness to parts of myself I no longer recognize. Not because they’re not me, no, but because I can’t for the life of me understand why they were there to begin with—almost like old clothes that faded to the back of the wardrobe.
In fact these pieces of me were almost like costumes themselves.
While they were made in the image of Austin, there’s only so much you can create with sticks and stones or needle and thread, and while I don’t necessarily fault myself for utilizing these masquerades, it is difficult to realize you’ve hidden yourself for so long. Not because you were scared. Not because the cloth was soft and warm, and not because you didn’t know yourself.
Only because it was difficult to wriggle your way out of something so comfortably restrictive.
It doesn’t help that people are attracted to costumes as well—drawn to their flagrant personalities and “authenticity”—and while I made these austins with Austin in mind, they never quite came out right—
failed alchemy of self—which is why I decided to do away with the needle and thread and opt for the pen and pad instead…
Simply put, I became too busy attempting to be genuine that I neglected to actually and freely show myself to the world. So that’s what these words are.
These words are me.
I thought I lost them, I really and truly did, and there were weeks on months that I felt my time as a delicate, passionate, abortive weaver of words had passed and that worms had taken residence within me instead—praying on the remains of past successes, errors, words, me(s)—but now I realize that these words—this me—never goes away. It only changes.
I changed. I change. I’m changing.
I don’t know why or how, but it’s happening, and it’s terrible. Terrible because mistakes are made in growth. Soil, concrete, stone—it all shifts the same when a root decides to be strong, and mine are flexing alright. Coiling, wrapping, twisting as they stretch out for my sake—searching for more reasons to change beneath the soil of my skin.
It’s wonderful though.
Wonderful because the costumes fade away—the pretty leaves and flowers and distractions—leaving the beauty of unapologetic existence—gnarled and twisted insides my roots have worked so hard for.
Wonderful because I am reaching for something. Death impending, impediment impending—somewhere somehow, I am stretching towards something greater I could not reach a moment, day, month, year, ago.
Wonderful because it’s me…