Shapeshifting on the Road to Oblivion

Hey there...

It's been a while... remember me?

After the turn of the new year, I was over it. I found myself wrestling with quiet. Blahzay. Afraid to utter for fear of speaking negative onto my future, but bound to the necessity of speaking my piece. It wasn't about contingency plans, nor was it about finding a silver lining. Life had arrived post the eclipses and grand square, and it was begging me to do something now.

What? I couldn't pinpoint. But the shuck and jive I had already played was done for. Who was I? Where was I? When would the relentless questioning end? People would ask me with pity in their eyes, "Are you ok? Because your Facebook posts..." To think, just a few weeks ago I had verbal diarrhea, loose lips ready to give away the farm. In my former life I was determined to keep face, even when I was crumbling on the inside. The act made me wonder whether the person I was then, was ever open enough to let light in. Had I ever loved? Something or someone? Or had I always been making myself fit into ill-fitted boxes? Could I love? Or did my fears and mental blocks suffocate any chance for the real thing?

At times I was having trouble sleeping, not for the sounds of the wee morning sanitation workers packing their trucks on abandoned streetsides alone. More or less I was wide-eyed and moved by the painstaking changes I was undergoing. My shell was beginning to crack. Unsettled I had moved uptown, to yoga pants, starter families, froyo and street fairs. Vanilla ultra. Super isolating, super boring -- I didn't even know that I needed that kind of peace. It had become my rehab from the reality I once wanted. The life that I was slowly weaning myself off, trying to forget February, ripping off the dead skin. The noise was still, almost charming, holding my hand as I was beginning to transform, but into what? All I could feel was change.

Everything was shifting and my pores were wide open. I inhaled everything. Speaking would just be too much at that point. The release would infer conversation, an openness to let else in. And I was much too raw to allow that to happen. Besides, I didn't want to talk. I just wanted to rinse the past down the drain. Start anew and forget all the stupid decisions I made for love, life and paper. All the decisions and backtalk I spewed when reason knew better. I wanted the person who was on the inside to lead, regardless of how neglected she had been and how far I had fallen.


So I pulled back instead. Said nothing. Did nothing. Left you waiting... maybe some of you wondered what happened to me and this year that was beginning to take shape. I'm sure you were facing life's shears as she pruned your edges too. I didn't want to care... Despite the pitfalls, the frantic push-pull to hurry up and wait, I was resetting my boundaries, learning who was really down for me, who was there for the ride, and who, when all was said and done, would be there at the end of the road. I wasn't surprised by the lessons, painful as they were. I was surprised by my apathy to let it all happen. Still I changed, cut out parts of my life that were simply dead weight. I buried them, B.

And once I did that, the pieces started to come together. A confident silence that whispered I too would get beyond the embarrassment of having fallen on my face one too many times. The grand dame at the head of the table was still inside me somewhere. She just needed a break, a lifeline to the next ferry upwards to where dreams may come. And maybe then, this dynamic year of solitude would evolve into a testimony that sounds more like: I never lose.

Yes, there was meaning behind the madness, in spite of the emotional melee. Pulling back meant the casualties could not matter right now, because the battle to win self was greater. I was just too sensitive. I hadn't given up. Co-dependence gave way to pain then to clarity, which begot self-assuredness. Giving became what could I do for me as opposed to being selfless 24-7. It meant hiding less, being more. Exploring. Loving. Seeing. Being here. Present for class... I was faithful again, albeit a hermit in this new space. Nestled in a cocoon that would eventually see me resurrect in new versions of my forgotten past.

This was the beginning of my second childhood. I was back at square one. A new level. New lessons. New challenges and new arenas to conquer. Would they understand that I haven't lost it? Would they interpret me as poor, sullen, black girl? Judge my flashes of angst? Make up stories in my honor? My love walk would have to speak for itself, I'm afraid. Back like I never was before. Back as I had always secretly wanted. My way. My race. Finally...

This story appears as part of a collection of stories, entitled Saturn's Return by Amy Andrieux, Editorial Director at The series sees Amy documenting her 35th, while reflecting on moments past and how to move forward. Each piece is inspired by real life happenings, few with exaggeration and embellishment, or change of name to protect the innocent.