Year of the Rat

January 9, 2008:

It is a New Year—the Year of the Rat. The year I was born was the Year of the Rat. This is my year.

There is finally something to hold on to; something to grasp when the world hurdles its disappointments and doubts—when the nights and worries threaten to choke me in my sleep. I finally have a grasp on my dream. Before it was “only a dream”—not the solid drive it is now, but a slippery rock that could just as well sink to the bottom of a restless current. And I dismissed it, or tried to. I tried to be ever so convincing that I could do without it.

I am beginning to realize what it’s like to look in the mirror with conviction. For the first time I am giving myself permission to dream as high as Wordsworth’s mountain, to believe in the little girl inside me that says the world is actually waiting for my voice, that I am not just a drop in a pond, but a vital member of a beautiful ocean—that my waves can be felt and they feel amazing.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt anything like you before. Not even myself—especially myself. I don’t even know…

Desires can be painful. They can twist into a tormented knot if they are kept hidden, kept captive. But desires can also be the very thing that keep us breathing when everything else is crushing the windpipe. They are what keep fingers writing against the cold, the lover loving in the face of terrible odds.

Anthony Hecht wrote a poem describing creation as an act of rage. Perhaps. Perhaps rage against annihilation, rage against weakness and extinction, predators and all that wish to tear us down. But perhaps that’s only the first step and once we survive that crucial period, what keeps us motivated and believing is desire.

I used to use a myriad of things to distract me from my desires, a cacophony of noises that worked to only distance me from my own voice. In the mixed up symphony, I learned to not only drown myself out, but to distrust my own voice…to doubt my instincts—because I was scared of what might actually happen if I listened to what I wanted, desired, for my life.

Language is a funny thing; so many different meanings behind one word or phrase—and as many different interpretations as there are people in the world. How can anyone ever really connect to anyone else? How can we possibly communicate our desires to other people, let alone ourselves?

I love you. I love the way you make me…
I want—please, I need.

What does it mean when I feel a connection with someone else—when even our bodies become familiar, moving at the same pace, learning how to react to the opposite movement, opposite side—mirror, of itself?

I ache for you. I miss you. Do you desire me?

I like divisions. When things blend, they become confusing—no longer identifiable as separate entities, as independent. I like to know what I’m dealing with. I like to know where one thing ends and another begins.

Like the bones in the body, everything becomes dependent on the joints—joint checking, joint memberships, joint custody.

But perhaps this rush, this need, to blur the lines and blend the details, stems from the inability to realize that we have a unique perspective on the world and within that unique perspective, we each bring our own needs, our own desires…but somehow, along the way, we have become unwilling and unable to connect to ourselves and our unique desires.

I love your eyes. I love your eyes because they are not my own, and your hands—oh your hands, can they feel me? Feel me. Find me. I don’t know where I went. If I look into your eyes I may find something—is it me?

A blind man cannot become a narcissus. I am selfish with my time. I am selfish with my desires. This is my year. I want to become the woman my child dreamed of. She has freedom in her step—she floats on melting ice, prepared to sink if just for the journey of it. There is no one capable of such love as the love she feels within her own hands. Safe hands. Hands that write without a thought of sin, of deviance, of being wrongly aware of pain. I love her for being so brave—writing despite the world. My eyes are now my own, my desires—a catapult.

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