The worrying is back and bold and vicious, all talons and heavy wet fur and dark scales that reflect back the way I looked when I first said yes to this.
It’s happening again and I am part of it because I built it, dreamed it up from need or something like it, and it is just like the last time and the time before that.
Before I got here I wrapped the cord around my neck and turned my back on birth. They say they had to drag me stubborn into the work of breathing, had to twist and pull and wrench my head towards the world in front of me. I was not ready to live.
At five my brain was full of letters, wet and heavy with information, and still they held me back. I was not ready to socialize with second graders. I began to repeat myself, throwing out answers and jokes and punches, all of them perfect in their placement and terrible in their timing. I stared down the principal and dared him to punish me harder. I was unbreakable.
Eleven and counting and I cannot advance, the choir director says it’s immaturity but I’m positive it’s because he’s a butt head, so I must sit and watch the best singers travel to the best places and work through the best vocal warmups, and wonder whether I would ever be ready for anything I really wanted when the time came to take it.
I was not ready for college. I was not ready for the workplace. I was not ready for children. So when this begins to happen again and I can feel it breathing hot and loud and impatient like subway wind, I brace for impact and plan my retreat.
But time is an arrow, and none of my steps are backwards, and when I walked past seeing my path I claimed my life and I found my friends and I sang my song, all in time, and all of time will fade and leave me standing
At the edge of the next thing to happen, I turn back to find the reasons not to turn back around. And Love pulls and twists and wrenches my head back again, toward the world in front of me, and I hold my breath and take one more step.