What You Have Left Behind


When all of the known world crumbles around you, your instinct compels you to curl into a defensive ball. Nothing comes in, nothing comes out. Life slips around you as you settle down to the bottom, drifting with the current, until you get stuck in the way of traffic. Then you become a problem, to be pushed to the side, to be pulled from the water, to be heaved into a pile and left to decompose.

There is no place of safety, nowhere you can unleash the burden of your soul, no human depth of compassion that could dig into your despair to resurrect you.

No. That’s not true, that last sentence. The truth is that if you relinquish your pride and allow yourself to give voice to your shamed pleas for understanding, then quickly, oh so quickly the wide fecund embrace of the cosmos sweeps in to supplant your barren fields with renewed life.

When you stand up and away from the door to death, your legs quivering like that of a newborn foal, you feel as though you have finally shed everything that once clung to your formative self like houndstongue seeds. Finally, you think, I am wholly my own, a rebirthed creation, a self-made man.

But you are merely setting yourself up for greater suffering, to be knocked down again and shattered. As you examine the shards of your visage glinting on the night floor once more, you realize that you have only come closer to your original begetting. You are like your mother, like your father, like your self as a young child. You are your genes, your place of birth, your upbringing. You can’t escape yourself.

The farther you travel, the closer you are to what you have left behind.

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Author: manderson

I live in NYC.

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