From the archives, 2016. This was an essay I wrote for a class that was meant to imitate Virginia Woolf.
Why do we put ourselves through the pain of self-reflection? This was a question I had to ask. I needed to know because I was in pain. My heart had broken and with it my head.
In times of turmoil, I always look to the mountains. I admire them for their raw beauty, their confident exposure, and the ordeal they suffered to become mountains. The minerals that make up earth are recycled by pressure and stress — the living attitude of inorganic material. The rocks once laid on the surface untouched, then pushed down into the heart of the earth, not to be exposed again until their metamorphism was complete. And so, these mountains stand, brutal in their creation, beautiful in their being.
I had fallen in love, purely, and with innocence. Sounds and colors had new meanings, for in my heart was a new feeling. It was the ignorant bliss of vulnerability — of believing my exposure to be understood. Of wanting to believe I was understood. It wasn’t trust, it was denial. I was soon to learn what love really is: conditional, and not bottomless. My heart melted, and then it broke.
As a writer, I spend a lot of time thinking. I spend a lot of time and ink writing my thoughts, morphing them to conform and rebel against reality. There is a danger in this pastime. Sometimes my thoughts start rolling uncontrollably, leading me down a dark path into realms of consciousness I’d rather not know existed. But they do exist, and like all else, have a purpose. To teach.
Love taught me about my attitudes and strengths — and consequently my weaknesses. I thought I was weak for missing him, weak for still loving him. For this I was ashamed. I bore the weight of my feelings on my shoulders, and as they accumulated, I was pushed down further into the core of my being. The pressure was too much. Something needed to break. Something needed to give. My heart had been melted, frozen, compressed, and broken. It was up to me to put the pieces back together. It was up to me to let go of my pain and to expose myself as I was — metamorphosed by love.
As writers, we use commas to separate one thought from another. Similarly, they are used to conjoin. In life, the events that cause us pain are our commas. They mark a transitory period, to who we were to who we are. An insignificant little mark so profound when the ordeal they symbolize is appreciated. And now, it seems so unreal, like a dream that lingers in memory after having woke, only to fade away. Except, it was real. It happened. Don’t deny the past. Don’t deny the comma.
I mean not to be conceited or vain by comparing myself to a mountain, whose grandeur cannot be compared to a single human experience. Yet, when a love felt and lost is subject to contemplation, I am inclined to believe that we find our strength in our extent pain. Is it not what we want, but perhaps just what we need. For what remains is raw beauty, a confident exposure. What remains is love for oneself, simple and pure –the only force comparable to mountain building.