I watch blankly as the countryside whizzes past my car window. Harvested cornfields, leafless copses, unmoving ponds, dozing cows, grazing horses, and the occasional donkey all pass before my eyes unnoticed. Some dull pop song plays on the radio, and my parents hold a quiet conversation about something or other. My phone sits silently in my lap, my hands folded listlessly around it. All sight, all sound I tune out. They don’t exist to me, not in this moment.
My breaths grow shallow, steady. In, out, in, out. My heartbeat thuds over and over again, like a runner’s footfall. It sets the rhythm for my mind’s racing. Physically, I am no athlete, but mentally… mentally, there is some hope for my fitness.
Moods like these always come without warning. One moment, I am operating on my usual level, idly meandering from one train of thought to another. The next, thoughts tug at me, snare my mind, draw me in. I could not resist their pull even if I wanted to. They are wild and energetic, ranging so far, so wide. They venture places I would be loath to go in any other moment. They drive me to confront my fear of confrontation.
The confrontation is within me. On one side of my mind, an army of thoughts arises. On the other stands another battalion. The space between them is vast. Once, a wall separated the two enemy lines, standing tall in the space between, but now the wall vanishes as swiftly as a puff of smoke. They catch sight of each other, and there is a moment of stillness. Then, they charge, and the space closes. They clash and merge. I cannot tell where one side begins and the other ends. Matters of life and humanity, faith and politics, writing and action, love and fear, unity and disunity churn and fester.
The battle is waged.
Above the myriad, abstract specters of my mind loom the two principal contestants, engaged in bloodless combat. The simplicity of my childhood and the complexity of the world compete, not to triumph over the other, but to reshape it. No, that is not right. They do not strive to reshape each other. They strive to reshape me.
My fingers ache for my keyboard. This battle is so huge, so massive in scope. It deserves to be chronicled. It deserves to be remembered. But all I have with me is my phone and its various writing applications, but those will not do. I am faster than most when it comes to writing on a phone, but not fast enough to keep up with this battle. I could not do it justice. If I wrote on my phone, I would stifle the battle, diminish its outcome. And that is the last thing I want.
The truth is, I want to be reshaped. My life is monotonous and unchanging – I am monotonous and unchanging. This battle bears the weight of all my hopes for change, both internally and externally. If this battle will but arrive at a conclusion, a fusion of my deeply-held beliefs and its newly-arrived challengers, I might find what I need to break out of my stagnancy. I might finally inhale a breath of fresh air. I might finally act upon my beliefs rather than merely do them lip service.
But to do that, I must write. I must find an outlet. I must solidify my reshaping in a medium more solid than adamantine stone. I must bleed my soul into physical existence by encasing it in ink and paper, in the written word.
I suck in a sharp breath. There she is! A hint, a shadow of the recreated me! She is barely within my perception, but is nonetheless visible. She stands tall, with her head held high. She has overcome her fear of confrontation, her stagnation. She is fluid in her thinking and her ways, embracing the battle of the voices, letting them spur her to growth. Yet at the same time, her essence and core are unchanging. She knows who she is, and to Whom she belongs. She has realized the truth of who she was made to be.
She is who I have always longed to be.
The car slows; the vision fades. My eyes refocus and land on dirty beige bricks and dying grass. The car jostles over the uneven pavement of our driveway. Each bump pushes the battle and vision further from my mind’s eye. I clutch at them desperately. No, no, they cannot go! I have not written them yet! I have not realized them! They cannot, they must not disappear, not yet!
But disappear they do. Just as swiftly as the thoughts came, they flee, taunting me and my futile efforts to enact the change I so long for. My eyes close and an inaudible breath sighs from my lungs. Of course. Of course, the thoughts would vanish and leave me unchanged. This has happened to me before. So often, I have wanted to change. So often, I have determined that I would. Yet so often I have given up before I even got the chance to try. Why should I have thought this time would be any different?
I turn to the seat beside me and gather my things from it, shove the car door open, and clamber out. Maybe someday I will be brave enough to change. Maybe someday I will act as I want to, become the woman I caught a glimpse of. But that day is not today.
I can only hope that day will come. Otherwise, I fear my life will be pathetically wasted. I will have left this earth without having impacted the world as I know I can. Without having changed a single thing.
I wrote this piece not long before I got the idea for this blog. I consider it the epitome of my skill as a writer thus far. It is the barest my heart has ever been on a piece of paper. It shows my longing to to make my life mean something better than I could ever tell it.
As you can probably guess, this blog is one of my first steps toward that end. Toward truly making a difference.
I suppose several weeks after the battle wasn’t too late for me to chronicle it. I suppose writing it out really did do something.
Dear friend, it is never too late to begin living. Even if your life is nearing its end, it is never too late. You are made to do great, amazing things. You are worth so much, dear friend. Don’t let your life be wasted.
Love, Beautiful Blackwater.