I think that I am all grown up and blooming. I think that I am fledged fully, and ready to take womanhood head on. But even now I’m still growing up and out; I can feel my bones lengthen and the skin follow, stretching along to cover them up, to stop them from breaking through at the finger-tips. And if there is more space now, expanded and filled with more blood and more fat and more muscle, why do I feel things falling away? Why is it that I feel like I’m feeling less, even though there is more of me?
I was a teen ten years ago, thin skinned and thoughts thick with uncertainty, with desire to make noise and to remain unseen, invisible. And the joy was so easy to touch, and so easily taken away, sucked out like a vacuum and held from me until I found the conduit that might take me back; the book, the song, the laughter of a friend, the voice of a crush.
Now, everything is soft, and warm, things are good, and comfortable, and I love it, but where’s that vibrant kind of joy that used to be so easy to touch?
I looked for it this past Saturday night, in the places I knew I had seen it before. I looked for it through the smoke, in the bright, pulsing lights, in the low hum of the loud bass. I looked for it, and I got worried because I was straining my atoms but I just couldn’t feel it. I think maybe it was because I hadn’t had enough to drink, and that I needed to open up my hands, (clenched) and my pores (closed) and let the music surge in and fill these new, heavy spaces and lighten them. I shook my body to try and stir something up, but it was all just a soft buzz, stirred and settled and pressing down on my receptors like a thick layer of cloud.
On the Sunday, hungover and sensitive to touch, I lay in my hammock, beneath the oleandar tree; everything was stretched out beneath the sun, and I was writing. I was writing and I knew I was onto something good, because I could feel the familiar surge, the adrenaline that comes with the fast motion blooming of ink on paper, the insect click click click of my fingers on the keyboard. I could see the words, written on the waves of the corrugated tin shed wall, and I was so filled by what I had made with my mind and my hands that I could barely sit still; the hammock rocked as if it were tethered to the masts of a ship, charging through the seething sea.
I felt the joy moving in me, blooming like roses in time-lapse motion.
Is this it? Have I grown into a simpler bliss? I’ve always been skeptical of those people, the ones who fill my Facebook feed with demonstrations of their simple happiness, and that if only we all ate paelio and took more baths and stopped watching reality televsion, then happiness would come so easily, but. What if that’s the place that I’ve grown into? The life of growing my own vegetables and drinking tea instead of vodka sugar and writing, writing, writing. These are the things I want to sink into.
I stretched my bare foot out to touch the the tip of the Aloe I had planted the morning before. The leaves are still thin, a young green not yet ready to practice healing. I remember looking not for joy, but for healing as a teenage girl; I was feeding on the world, devouring the gifts of books, of music, breaking things and running through the suburban darkness like a wild thing, uprooted.
But now, now I am making. I am building something of my own, I am creating a world! I am the one who is planting the flowers, and making the magic. I am still a girl, still growing, not up but into life. I am rooted, but I realise now, that I am not a flower, delicate and easily trampled. I am a girl,who is a garden.