I close the blinds, turn off the lights, and hide under the covers. I close the world, turn off the sounds, and hide under my thoughts. I slowly move my eyes towards the inside. It’s dark, but it’s a different kind of darkness than the one surrounding me.
A soft barrier from the vast outside, a pillow of comfort, a mini-universe where I can be alone, the obscurity around me is something that I created on purpose. I wanted it to be dark. I wanted to show myself that, even though I can’t see, I still know where each wall begins and ends, where every object is, what the route to a specific part of the room is. I love how, even with this unpierceable darkness pouring into my pupils, I can still open my nightstand drawer and easily find whatever I need in there. I’m in control. I know. I don’t have to wander around, hitting walls, or tables, or chairs. I’m fine. They don’t get to hurt me. I know how to avoid the pain.
But now, suspended into this lightless, soundless bubble, I’m attempting to take on the darkness inside myself. I don’t remember the last time I did it. I don’t even know if I ever did it properly. Unlike my neatly organized room, my insides are unpredictable. They make up an intricate maze and, with every breath, with every heartbeat, with every moment dropping gently into the hourglass of time, the maze shifts, and turns, and twists, and bends. I never get to really know its structure. Its walls are made of all these feelings I wish I could avoid. They’re permanently taunting me, mocking me, eating me from the inside.
You’re alone. You’re so far. You’re all the way over here, in this ocean of strangers whom you can barely understand. You have no one. Bad dreams haunt you at night and all you can do is hug a pillow and wait for your body to stop shaking. But the shaking never stops, not here, inside of you. Try to count the centimetres between you and your friends, between you and your family, between you and your boyfriend. How far can you go before your head gets dizzy? How much can you count before you feel engulfed by this distance that seems to continuously stretch as you measure it, becoming never-ending? What are you doing over here? Are you even remotely good at anything you are attempting to do? You read all those papers and books, but how well do you actually understand them? You write all that code, but how good is it anyway? You make so many mistakes while sewing or crafting. You edit worse than an unknowing child messing around. What are you doing? How do you call this “living”?
So, you see, if I try to find my way through the maze, it will come at me with all it’s got – all these muddy thoughts, these stinging questions, these dirty emotions. They break my toes, scrape my knees, bend my back, and crush my arms. Therefore, I never venture inside. I avoid it, but avoiding doesn’t stop it from existing. It’s there, pulsating, a living being inside me that keeps growing.
Today, however, things are different. There is something right in the middle of that big mass of hopelessnes and I need to get to it. I want to touch it, polish it, and tie a pretty ribbon on it. Today I’m not avoiding, nor trying to find a path. I’m going straight through those walls and doing what you taught me to do: not fight, but embrace the pain, the dark, the scars, the dirt, the blood, the… stars. Ultimately, smiles are born from the prettiest and heaviest tears. Light comes from what seem to be the murkiest places. Nothing is really, truly ugly, unless you want to see it that way. And, as hard as it may be to see the beauty inside yourself, it exists. There is no questioning it.
You are one of the fragile orbs of light that warm up the core of my being. I wouldn’t be this brave if I hadn’t met you. You permanently give me the courage to believe in and pursue that rainbow all of us, the shattered ones, deserve. You help me see the world in such bright and vibrant colours. I fall in love with life every single day simply because you touched my heart ever so gently, but deeply, and made me capable of such intense emotion, passion and drive. I can enjoy the flavour of everything I see, touch, hear, or encounter in any other way because you showed me how to taste them. I can climb out every single time I fall into a dark, abysmal pit because you made me believe that even the most delicate being can be as fierce as it wants to be. You embody all these traits and this always motivates me to be a better, gentler and, at the same time, stronger person.
Thus, I embrace my labyrinth of despair and confusion and I advance, slowly, but steadily. My bones ache under the weight of all this sadness I amassed, but the tears I cry keep me afloat instead of drowning me, while the wings you helped me grow, although bleeding, do their best to lift me out of the holes I sometimes stumble into. In spite of how difficult this whole process is, I keep breathing. I might feel lonely, but I should never think of myself as being truly alone. I might fall, but I should never give up on lifting myself back up. I might make mistakes, but that should never deter me from pursuing what I am passionate about. I might not be good at the things I love, but I will become good precisely because I love them.
And I reach it, I finally reach it. My little, precious orb of warm and glowing light. Our memories, our smiles, our tears, our laughter… they’re all in there, safely kept. I kiss the imperfections away from its surface. I take a red ribbon out of my hair and slowly tie it around it. My hands are hurt and trembling, so the resulting bow is a bit crooked. With the little strength I’ve got left, I extend it to you. My most precious treasure. The best thing I have right now that can serve as a gift. My undying, unending, unwavering friendship.
Oh, Kitty, my Kitty… Happy, fluffy, purring birthday! ^_^
P.S. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to edit something for you this year as well. But I promise to make the idea that I have come to life, while keeping you in my mind and in my heart throughout the whole process. For the time being, I’ll leave you with the song that inspired me:
My wounded wings still beating, you’ve always loved the stranger inside… Me, ugly pretty.