Hello. It’s been a while.
Senior year is moving along in all its rickety, arthritis-patched and painful drudgery. Days go by in the silent clasp of windows and glances of strangers, cool the touch without the warmth of remembrance.
I don’t know if I want to move on. The problems and stressful situations, though painful, mean familiarity for a girl so used to turbulence. Sometimes I wonder if that will be all I know, this world of suffering and jolting shocks along a road pockmarked with the stumbling footprints I leave behind. Some days, I know God leads me beyond the hardened trail to gaze upon the delicate sights I feel unfit to see, unfit to comprehend. Other days, like today, I feel locked with fear, silent in a cage of my own making and hushed by the shadows of my past. Gazing back at my relationships and my mistakes, I wonder if I am destined for dilapidated, crumbling affairs and unrequited heartaches. My loved ones tell me I have a penchant for finding people lost in some way. It’s as if I want them to find a home, so I make myself that home for them. I want them to only find comfort and solace, never realizing all the while I was losing more and more of what I had built. Instead, I became what they needed, restructuring and redesigning to meet others’ needs.
It’s strange, learning how to stand strong on my own two feet…moving on from being a home for someone else to being my own home. I guess, you could say, it’s almost as if I’m clearing space for my own spirit. I’ve always heard that I’m too much or not enough. Too fat, too ugly, too bossy, too smart. Too demanding, too emotional. When I change, it’s always I’m not loud enough, funny enough…I’m not enough to be friends with or to stay with. I wanted to be parentheses to someone else, when all the while I should have just searched for better content.
My mother always warned me that I would have to fight for my own space as an Asian American woman in the United States. I would have to fight, even, for my own voice. It’s easy for me to slip into invisibility, to make excuses not to talk or not to show up. It’s so easy to give into my shadows.
But…not today. I will not settle for people who see me as something to fill the empty days with. I’d rather be alone and faithful to my own calling than stand in someone else’s wayward shadow. Taking up space, making room for one’s self, is beautiful.
I’m tired of halfhearted friends who care more about image than backbones, who run when they really should stay. I’m tired of running after people who don’t know what they’re running away from.
I wish I could tell you that finding tough love is simple. By some means, it is. A comforting hug, an encouraging word. However, true friendship bears through storms and refines by fire. In the end…only a few remain, the ones who stayed to listen, the ones who stayed at all.
Moving on. If it’s one thing I learned, I need to focus on being a better friend rather than critiquing others. Moving on from bitterness to forgiveness, moving on from frustration to patience. Moving on like rushing water or a rustling wind. Barely detectable but decidedly strong.
Even a little light, shed in dark places, can bear the burden of shadows