what good is sacrifice to a nonexistent god? when nothing is gained from the losses incurred, when the damages serve no one well, sacrifice becomes sabotage. no merit exists for the self-appointed martyr, whose motives will forever be questioned.
are you doing this to be seen differently by the world, or because you want everyone else to see the world differently because of you? anna deavere smith’s question about artists rings true for anyone who does something for “the greater good.” because the sobering reality every lens shows us is that injustice and evil have a permanent residence in our world. there simply is no greater good, because as much as we are all in this together, we are in it, first and foremost, for ourselves. that for all the progress we deem laudable, there’s so much work to be done. that at the heart of altruism is and always will be a kernel of narcissism.
to diminish the significance of someone else’s beliefs in the name of sacrifice, to deny yourself and those you love in the name of a nonexistent greater good certainly guarantees that you will, indeed, be seen differently. the acts of heroism by those whose demons hold their hands at every turn are acts of cowardice. we are only as noble and as strong as our greatest flaws. any injustice done in the name of justice slanders justice’s name. and you will not sign your certificate of sacrifice with my blood. you. will. not.
“Full is not heavy as empty, not nearly my love, not nearly.” – Fiona Apple
the ache motivates us to seek comfort. but it also drives that antidote away, shortens its shelf life. emptiness is too cumbersome a void to fill by anyone except its host. because the ache, it is cloistered in fear. fear is empty. yet it is weighted with need, expectation, and dependence. fear is all at once wanting and incapable of love.
until i looked my fear in its hapless face, and saw how it sagged with emptiness, i could not receive love. I could not receive what i could not be. instead, i received who and what i was, and consummated my fear. for as long as i was empty, so i would be.
we attract what we are, and accept what we believe we deserve. like lint on a felt roller, all that was lacking in joy and love clinged to me. it jumped on and held on fiercely because i thought it was meant for me. it was not until i put down the burden of fear that i could see how weightless faith is by comparison. learning to believe i deserved and would find better led to faith that i would. accepting only what brought me joy began with giving it to myself.
hope is many things, but fearless is not one of them. put fear in a linen dress and strappy sandals, and let the wind tousle her hair, and before you will stand hope. her conviction will challenge even her inner skeptic, so much that she believes her hope is more than an illusion.
faith, she is bold. faith has the power of her conviction, and needs not play dress-up for others. she wears what looks best on her, and is most suitable for the occasion. she does not see defeat in setbacks, anymore than she sees triumph in success. faith has no time to waste worrying, because she’s too busy being proactive. where hope and fear lie passively in waiting, faith is doing. faith is action.
when i am most uncertain about tomorrow, my hands instinctively reach for the linen dress, although i know better. for once the sun settles behind the horizon and the dress lies in a wrinkled heap in the basket, fear walks barefoot across my floors. i know that wherever hope walks, fear is in tow, as they are inseparable. i must update my wardrobe if i am to embrace the timeless fashion of faith.
so quick are we to attribute undesirable outcomes to bad timing. a job we did not get. a missed connection with someone. a failed business pursuit. but time is never bad, nor is it ever wrong.
time simply is. it moves at the same pace, in the same direction, stopping for no one. it gives the same as it takes.
the time is always right; we must accept that it is what we do (or not) that isn’t. that maybe our expectations are unreasonable and therefore go unfulfilled, because it is we who are out of sync.
time has no allegiance to anyone and is too busy moving forward to be concerned with how we spend it. it is no more mine than it is yours. it is, and always will be, forever.
she wears her insecurity like a body con dress, her jealousy measured by the height of her heels. both are teal, and therefore fool others into believing they are blue–the color of calm waters–in the dimly lit rooms she is known to frequent. her charisma infects the air, so her company is at ease. they share with her their thoughts, once guarded by inhibition, unaware that she is braiding those very secrets into a rope. their trust in her is the weapon she carries concealed beneath her hemline, ready to strike if ever they deign to stand taller than she.
they are too enchanted by her warmth to notice the singe as each of her words yanks the rope tighter upon their necks. little does she realize, the hem of her dress, tailored by the threads of her self loathing, shortens with each new coil in her rope. once hypnotized by her feigned selflessness, i now stand back and watch her self destruction unravel, knowing she is the seamstress of her undoing.
my resignation to a future of solitude had become my armor. the metal, my skin. no shot could wound me, but no caress could comfort me, either. it was that touch, its gentle and loving current, for which i longed. silently. one was impossible without first surviving the other. you arrived bearing the chinks in your breastplate, yet the presumptions and pretenses were absent from your accoutrements. you relaxed your battle stance, and allowed me to peel off your armor. at the sound of the chain mail meeting the ground by our feet, my metallic skin was replaced by bare flesh. i knew i’d feel the comfort and security of your fingertips before they grazed my cheeks. i could abandon my fortress, and with you, come home.
sometimes, i lie under the blanket of silence and savor the sounds of the world. no television. no music. only the harmony of whirring cars, wind, and the confident flapping of birds’ wings. blanketed in silence, my thoughts quake in my head, urging me to listen. and i listen as if my thoughts are gospel. because they are. like oxygen, sunlight, water and food, quiet is my sustenance. without it, i cannot be all that i am to you.