I listen to a song to make me brave, tunes pumping feelings out of a heart that doesn’t want to beat. I make life easier on tired feet that don’t want to move by ditching the shoes and letting toes live loose. A dandelion in my hair, a fierce look in the eye, why does waking up every day feel like a battle cry? For this, yes, this is a fight for me. This, yes, has felt like going to war. A war I’m still baffled as to how I’m fighting, I a soldier who wakes up in the crossfire and tries desperately to remember how she got there.
Everything takes effort, every human interaction, every word typed on every page of homework, every class attended and seat warmed. I never thought I’d be so proud of ‘functioning,’ never thought that word would be something I’d be excited to check off my to-do list. Everything else seems an unnecessary luxury, pointless to the extreme, extra. I’m just trying to get through the days–who knew one day could be so long anyway? Feelings are even more unpredictable than usual–attacking in flurried streaks of color, random, out of an echoing void and fizzling out just as fast as they have appeared and struck, like missiles of red anger and green energy and blue sadness and purple daydreams and pale yellow meaninglessness. But most of the time it’s just deadly quiet. Just deep dark black. Just emptiness. Sometimes a bit of alone and a bit of scared. Often a dash of panic. Always a lot of hollow. Every breath a tension of hope and fear.
This is a war I fight against no one, a war against myself, my circumstance, my own desperate heart. This is a war both for and against my feelings, propaganda billboards screaming you are here because you pretended to own what you cannot have and counter-pamphlet confetti dumping from the sky shouting it’s not over, there’s still hope yet. I am both holding on and letting go, existing on both sides of the front line, staring myself down each and every day, both me’s trying to fight the invisible thing that brings and owns all the darkness, trying to rally the light inside to mirror the Light above who promises that everything will be okay no matter what (although that’s hard to believe) and that He can change everything, cause miracles, stop this war, all this very second if He chose (and He can). Ah it’s all too much. I am fighting everything and nothing all at once, myself and sin and hopelessness and defeat and the pain of existence all at the same time. And it’s just exhausting. Is it possible to even win this war? What does winning look like? A win is out of my control, a win has nothing to do with me, a win is something I experience and not create. I think my win is just surviving the storm and hoping for sunny skies on the other side, all the while knowing that I might not get them.
And yet–and yet, there are bright moments. Dashes of clear vibrant tones in a muddled world of swirling emotion and empty hours. Teasing under the stars. Hot socked feet by a campfire. Carabiners snagged in my hair. Frisbee spinning through balmy spring breeze. Collisions and laughter and mischievous smiles. Bare feet pounding through grass and stutter-stepping to a halt. Spinning through silly dance moves just because I can. These are bright lights to hold on to, these are my ammo for heavy moments and blank-eyed afternoons. These and the promise that He hears my heart’s cry, even when I cannot hear Him answer me. These and words once spoken, true confirmations of identity and heart, that I will never forget. Yes, I am a soldier. Yes, each day can feel like a war. But all wars come to an end. Here’s to hoping for a bluebird day on the other side.