I have the good fortune to once again be part of the "Finding Our Voices" show, which will be on display this weekend at Prairie Berry East Bank this weekend. My piece this year is very different than "Waiting" was last year, which felt like a final push in needing to get everything off my chest and really process what happened that night in Lincoln. "Rebirth" was really the only was to describe my life now, not that I'm okay with what happened or that I've accepted it, but knowing that I've moved through all the shit and am finally living up to that phoenix tattooed on my arm.
If you're near Sioux Falls, SD this weekend, please check out the show. Two Bitches and Jules are a sponsor, although I believe you'll only seeing the outline of the logo. It's still SD.
It’s inspired by a line in a Goethe poem, “The Holy Longing,” which reads, "Now you are no longer caught in the obsession with darkness, and a desire for higher love-making sweeps you upward."
It has been a long, strange trip, but now I stand at point where, even when the past isn’t finished with me, it no longer haunts me, and the future means only good lies before me, even when it’s painful. For years, I allowed a rapist to define me and my self-worth. I bought into the social construct of virginity and believed I was trash because I allowed this terrible thing to happen to me. I was violated and could never leave the scene of the crime, short of ending my life.
Even prior to being raped, I carried all sorts of negative ideas about myself and my inability to be loved.
The worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves.
It was my obsession with darkness.
And I followed that path, through excessive drinking and drug use, through bad relationship choices, and by faking my way through everyday life, trying to play the game of convincing myself I could be happy in the lot I’d chosen for myself, even when forcing myself to get up and face the day became a greater and greater challenge.
Until one day I realized that I had a choice to go live the life I wanted, which resulted in many quick decisions that resulted in uprooting the life I was settling for and deciding to be brave for once. To give light a try. To realize everyday didn’t have to be a fight and that knowing is always better than wondering.
And I found myself, 1,500 miles away from any human I knew well, with my beloved dogs in tow, whole for the first time in my life. I found a smart, funny partner who treats me with kindness I didn’t know men were capable of. I found a job filled with challenges and potential. I found out that I really don’t miss shoveling snow. I lost one of those beloved dogs, but found that the biggest reason she was in my life was to help me away from my obsession with darkness.
The Holy Longing
by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,
because the mass man will mock it right away.
I praise what is truly alive,
what longs to be burned to death.
In the calm water of the love-nights,
where you were begotten, where you have begotten,
a strange feeling comes over you,
when you see the silent candle burning.
Now you are no longer caught in the obsession with darkness,
and a desire for higher love-making sweeps you upward.
Distance does not make you falter.
Now, arriving in magic, flying,
and finally, insane for the light,
you are the butterfly and you are gone.
And so long as you haven't experienced this: to die and so to grow,
you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth.