For the one who has lost.

To be completely honest, I woke up right in the middle of it all.

 

And I realized that I was dancing and in love. And I realized that I was flailing about in the disco lights, celebrating existence. I’ve awoken in more and more of these moments lately, when I realize I am actually happy.

 

These are the moments when I realize that the tomorrow we talk so much about is actually happening right now, and all the things that we have long strived for are already sitting on my bedside table.

 

But it wasn’t always this way. I’ve been too distracted to see it. I was watching the storm carry my castle out to sea, the castle I had long dreamt for. The one I had built for myself. My eyes reflected fire. I was devastated, hysterical.

 

But I think the worst part about the screaming rage of loss is realizing that I loved something so much that the sight of losing it caused such violent resentment against the friend that gave me the dream in the first place. I thought I would be successful by now. I thought I would have more songs to sing. This is not the life that I had planned. I shook my fists at God; I called him a cheat and a liar. I laid on the ground and screamed with gravel shaking in my throat:

 

LEAVE

 

ME

 

ALONE.

 

The ocean has a way of teaching us that we are small. My castle is mostly gone now; I’ve been watching the water disassemble it piece by piece. I had hidden for so long in that castle. It was my fortress. But I can see now that it was all fraudulent. Even now, my gowns are being curled up into the waves. Flags in the sea.

 

I realized I’ve been waiting for a certain feeling.

 

It’s the feeling of having an irreplaceable role in some great story. The feeling in your chest when you know you have fought valiantly, even if you have lost.

 

I’ve been sitting at home a lot. Listening for a song to sing, holding my pen for the first word of a story, waiting for Gandalf to burst through my door.

 

I screamed into the walls and slashed the entire world to pieces. It made me feel strong for a moment. But I’m alone again. The ceiling fan turns slowly and the sun has gone down. I made my body as small as I could. And I laid there, weeping.

 

I only got up because the silence told me to. I heard it in the silence, that my valiant battle was not out in the world. Not at all. My great adventure was very much inside me.

 

There is great war was going on in here, and these tears were for the fallen soldiers. And their names were Acceptance, Courage, Contentment, and wet, sloppy, JOY. They were dying, bleeding on the battlefield.

 

And I am needed in there. Needed desperately. I am the hero they are waiting for.

 

This morning, I was somber on the ocean’s shore.

 

I woke up there. I had jumped into the sea to save my castle, and now I am bruised and stinging and salty.

 

I close my eyes and breathe out slowly. And I listen to my heart beat.

 

“Dear one, fight your own battles before you run out to save the world.”

 

I open my eyes and I am now at the breakfast table. The windows are full of smeared, dreamy sunlight. My friends are around me with their own battle scars and war paint on their cheeks. All of the soldiers have come together to rest around the table.

 

We tell stories, and we feed the dog bacon when no one is looking. And we share drinks and we make up songs, and we tease each other for singing the wrong words.

 

For just a second, I looked back. My castle is sinking still, into the mouth of the sea. But this time, I decided not to run after it. I decided it was better right here. Here in the place called Not Alone.