Eyes Open #WorkForHappy

(Or Alternatively, “Turning Twenty And Realizing My Eyes Have Been Shut The Whole Time: A Brief Birthday Reflection”)

Ascending into the two-decade old plane of existence was almost anti-climactic, but to be fair, it had to close a rather turbulent turn of the globe. Since last year, August 31, 2017, I have taken four total double 10+ hour bus rides, snared a dream role at a start-up publication, and even started dating a rather dashing lad who has an affinity for calling me a water buffalo in his free time.

At the same time I have screamed, panicked, had a handful of crises (less in comparison, though), was ghosted, and learned what it’s like to be between jobs about… five times. Oh, and don’t even get me started on the Mercury retrograde – I don’t even believe in that stuff and I still felt it in my bones that something was off in the heavens when I couldn’t even sip tea without burning my tongue.

tanyashatseva
Artwork by Tanya Shatseva

I survived 20 years of life. That’s cause for celebration, even if the sky doesn’t glow for me. The main difference between this year and the year before that is probably just how much I have matured.

Once I turned 20, I was faced with a very real responsibility – growing the fuck up. Being 19 was the last time I could plead being a teenager.

Do I miss this trump card? I thought I would. Do I still reach for it as if it’s still in my pocket? You bet your ass, I do.

The earth didn’t exactly pause in its orbit the moment I was born one humid Monday night in a Lester hospital, and it didn’t twenty years later either. The occasion was marked poignantly by my mother, who not only was celebrating my birthday, but the moment she officially became a mother. Every milestone and accomplishment in my life belongs, in part, to her as well.

My eyes were closed for my teenage years, and my mother had to remind me again that my eyes are hers, and she will not let me screw them shut any longer. I opened my eyes, witnessed everything I chose to ignore about myself, and realized that there’s a marked difference between walking through the dark, and walking with your eyes determinedly shut.

“You are my eyes, and I want you to see the world for me.” My mother never misses an opportunity to tell me this. Any moment I have self-doubt, or feel like a failure, I am reminded to open my eyes for her.

…there’s a marked difference between walking through the dark, and walking with your eyes determinedly shut. [Click to tweet!]

I have survived twenty years of existence, and now I am now en route of my twenty-first, I have decided not only to survive, but thrive. This sounds a bit tired, since everyone has a bit of a resolution when they get older, usually more and more sombre with every passing year.

My resolution, however, isn’t just to sit down and grow up – I want to grow. Perhaps now I am resourceful enough to actually push myself to do so, now, with eyes wide open.

Advertisements

Cocoon

First was the worst. A vampire sucking me dry until I was white, so that purple is blooming underneath my eyes, red leaking from my lips.

Money tree leaves rustle from in the kitchen, swathed in the beige shadow of the blinds. The sink is dripping. The solitary sound reverberates, beating into my bird bones so that I begin to crack.

Second was a jest. Dark summer eyes and calloused hands that felt rough when they brushed against mine.

The entire city freezes. The people look up to the sky, and the chatter in my brain is replaced by their wistful howls that surround me like a hymn. It grows louder and louder and my teeth start to grit, muscle memory prompting me to smile painfully because that was all I’ve ever known how to do.

Carolina Rodríguez Fuenmayor
Artwork by Carolina Rodríguez Fuenmayor

Third is you, now, pulling me against your golden chest.

My heart, stilled, begins to swell. My tongue starts to buzz with the taste of every particle that is colored by your pulse against my cheeks.

Like a cocoon you envelop me, your soft light collapsing on me, and I want to stay here forever, with your breathing as my melody. My forehead rests in the crook of your neck, the hollow where your heartbeat cuts into the chatter filling my confused head.

Your heartbeat shields me, and my cracks begin to shrink.

Like a cocoon you envelop me, your soft light collapsing on me, and I want to stay here forever, with your breathing as my melody. [Click To Tweet!]

pride nasha
Artwork by pride_nyasha

Your arms are pink, hot when they wrap around my waist and pull me in closer. I am tipped over into a sea of warmth that purifies me as your hands curl over my head, twisting tendrils of my hair between your fingers as my eyes open and capture your dozing face into the webs of my memory. I breathe in the particles you exhale, and I let it settle into me like dust just as your body goes slack with heavy sleep.

Your silhouette rises and falls, like a mountain bending to the wind, and I, the raven circling above it, slicing into the cold air, besotting the sky.

Closing my eyes again, I let all the colors swirl into non-existence. The world falls silent, and all that exists is you and me, in limbo, forever.

First was the worst, second was a jest. Third holds me close to him, and I let real love, finally, manifest.