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From the Violet Cross - Flash Fiction
I think we're told to be a ruffled dress. To stay at the age of 14. You know? There's a certain kind of lilac haze meant to keep little girls simply that, little. It isn't necessarily easy for anyone. Mom wants you to keep being the doll, the dress up, play with your hair, and dad wants to keep everything that flirts away from you forever, and ever, and ever. It's these strange griffin claws wrapped around the little girls that make it very peculiar to grow up. The existential make up of having a complete hormone shift inside your body and somehow coming out on the other side as a grown, accomplished, and successful woman. There are these odds conversions made when the little girl goes inside the cocoon, and when she gets the wings hopefully attached.
I sometimes sit with my hand on my heart. Listening to the thumps. Letting them pulsate louder and louder. I struggle with pulsatile tinnitus. It may sound like a pain to constantly hear your own heartbeat, but it lets you know where you stand when you run, when your about to sleep, or when you cross eyes with someone and know for the first time this person is going to make sense.
Sometimes when I'm curled up in his arms, I wonder what existential tirades he went through. What kind of strange caterpillars are boys, what happens in their cocoons, and what's it like to be on the other side. I know for myself that in the conversion process, sacrifices were made. I didn't always know what sacrifices needed to be made -- I questioned whether I should watch and love the movies I did when I was six, I wondered if I should still play with dolls -- what if I sexualized the dolls? What if I kept making Barbie kiss Ken? Would that be acceptable as a teen?
There's this odd ballet we play with ourselves as we grow up, simply because we're finite. We can't stay in one stage too long before we have to transform, metamorphosis, and ultimately die. The universe is imperfect, so it demands that pieces get shifted in order to sustain itself. But that's what makes picking to stay in your arms for a lifetime, my short lifetime, so incredibly precious that I don't even think a word like priceless quite fulfills the expression.
That compression you feel in your teens. There is so much demand on how you're supposed to pop out into society. You have no clue when you're first growing tall and feeling those puberty pangs at 12 that 15 years down the road, you'll be the woman in the black dress strolling down the street ready to cross the street by yourself without a hand to hold, you'll be so wrapped in your own adulthood, and you'll forget when you were small, vulnerable, easy to pick on, and deemed worthless. You were a caterpillar under strict supervision. You were the baggage being carried back and forth between your parents. You only had a handful of skills, most of which you prided yourself on... only to find that tying shoes, cutting construction paper, and reciting the alphabet were such meager, microscopic accomplishments that those gifts barely gave you any license on the greater discourse of life.
When you are the caterpillar, no matter how much you achieve, no matter how much you wail, you're only small. You're only potential. And if you are of the violet kind, you'll remember your childhood and let it guide you. You'll remember to be sweet, to tell the truth, to use the alphabet in ways people never could have predicted. But for most, childhood amnesia kicks in about the same time as when your body packs on the pounds, the hormones waiting to be unleashed take over your whole body, and it isn't so easy to instinctively know how to give it all direction. And for the most part, we all make a muddled amount of sloppy mistakes.
You'll grow to separate from the home that prepared you the entire time for tomorrow. Then when you live with the graduated, everything about your old home will change fast. You'll see your father with a cane, your mother losing her hair, and the puppy now too old to bark at cars passing by the windows.
Clinging to your childhood, hoarding it like its the wine of the heavens, will result in a sheltered mess, too scared to approach anything their six year old self would deem unsafe. But if you completely disregard the person you were (and secretly still are) -- a wandering catacomb of nightmares will sleep with you at night as you vomit out and into depravity.
They say a caterpillar that is shocked, its psychology remembers it when its a butterfly. But a butterfly who has never touched that energy, will be for the first time surprised by lightning. I don't know how far the path goes into the seams, who any of us are buried under the finite cloud we adorn and call life. From somewhere between all these changes, all these commands floating over our heads to shuttle us toward death -- I know underneath all the skin are our souls. That the only link from playing with violet flowers to wearing violet lipstick is the soul inside demanding to be free, and I beg you, just be free to be yourself. Just let the freedom pour out of you, and forget all these crevices trying to wall you into a black hole. A finite realm is but cotton candy in the grand scheme; it's a childhood amnesia in and of itself before waking beyond the rainbow veil.
And I can sometimes find the heavens lingering somewhere, like when I go home from seeing my boyfriend -- and his scent ends up finding itself there, even if he hasn't touched the newly clean sheets. Maybe I should tell him his cologne is too strong. When I see him as a soul drifting through whatever meadow has been constructed, I feel like I can see him clearly, and how no matter what's on his canvas it has a chance of becoming... and always becoming.
We're all souls looking for that electric energy from somewhere we know is home. And wave after wave we're finding others on the same journey, with the same childhood scars, the same body pangs in puberty, and that same existential drift into adulthood until your ripe, so very ripe, to kiss and mend another that's also been wondering this whole time why, oh why, we chrysalis. You and me caught between a thousand beasts from Behemoth to Fenrir -- and somehow in a fragile flicker, we find each other. We find each other and then we go, and where we go, we will not know until tomorrow. Just like how our parents taught us in the first caterpillar paradise, you won't really know what's in tomorrow until you've graduated. We all will graduate from our cocoon with a cap and diploma, not so much a symbol for education, if more so a symbol of release. Your teachers, the angels, knew all along it was never about your brains, the all state championships, or the prom date with the king -- it was all a service in getting you released.
And maybe, when you're drifting around from Tokyo to New York City, or Wichita to Panhandle, Texas -- a certain mystery packed inside bones, organs, and skin will have an undeniable, kismet compatibility that no matter how you try to peel them from your walk of life -- they have a certain magnetic quality to yours that you both simultaneously feel the heavens aligning, even if one parallel reality away.