My computer is a place for working. A place for communicating. And a place for crying. The words I read on the screen bring back memories of a past I’d like to forget and a world I often don’t want to live in. It’s my haven, my horror and my solace. I sometimes wonder whether it does me more harm than good, reading about what goes on in the lives of my friends, and the lives of people I don’t even know. Whether ignorance might truly be bliss. Whether denial isn’t when all’s said and done, a safer place. But I’ve trodden that path, and it doesn’t lead anywhere good.
Because I’ve found that ignorance is a prison that traps you. Sometimes in a place you think is secure, but with gaps between the bars. Gaps where life might feed you sweetmeats but more often throws rocks at you. And you can’t avoid the outside world no matter how you try. So in my bid to be happy I left the purpose built cage, built for me. At first I tried to build my own cage. A new one with more light, more room to grow and no evil. It didn’t work. Any bars I erected to protect me were useless and the rocks still came. I had made no armour to protect me because the protection, I thought, would be the bars.
Later I built an armour called ‘fuck you’. It shielded me from the pain and from the rocks. But also from the joy. I built it from a place of indifference and it became me. One day, somehow love managed to get through. For that I will be forever grateful and how it managed I will never know. When love came, I realised I wanted to feel. I didn’t want the protection of the bars nor of the armour. But the question remained How will I protect myself? I was weak and vulnerable. My mum was right. Life was a school of hard knocks and I had to drag myself forward, even if I was bleeding and hurt. It seemed to be the only way. Defenseless, I tried to let in only what I thought was good. I tried to shut out the bad. Until the good crumbled to nothing and the bad brought joy. It was a revelation.
I realized my definitions of what was good and bad, of what I categorized as joy and pain, were wrong. I had no need to protect myself. I was strong in my vulnerability and courageous in my fear. I tried to catch the rocks that life flung at me instead of shielding myself. At first I threw them back eager for revenge. But then I grew curious, because after a time gold seeped out of the cracks and my wounds became beautiful. The rocks left dust on my hands and it sparkled. What were they made of? So I started to examine them. I found they were all exquisite tools, even the most ordinary ones, even the ones with the sharpest edges. Especially those. As the rocks grew bigger I found that I could catch them all, sometimes several thrown at once. And the callouses they made on my hands were a testament to how well I could catch. They made me more powerful.
Life isn’t soft like rose petals, it’s jagged, piercing and exhilarating. It’s craggy cliffs and crashing waves. It’s hard truths and awkward silences. It’s love and laughter sprinkled with tears. And I’ve learned, it’s about never knowing what rock will come plummeting into your world but appreciating every single one for what it is. I won’t catch them all, but it doesn’t matter. Because when those rocks make cracks, the gold I have inside will heal me.