Also: I finish it. The song that starts playing? Natasha Bedingfield's Unwritten. Perfect. Timing.
Then I take another 15 minutes to edit it. Derp.
On the first day of class, I am given a green crayon. My mind swirls with green. All I can think of is what green means, of what green is, the possibilities of green. I Google it, applying my fingers to an eager search. It stings, it dances on the tongue, and I am thinking of green is life, green is trees and grass, green is healing but the world spins with green is money, green is greed and ambition, green is jealousy and even then I can’t touch the metaphor I am searching for. Green is not my voice, my words.
I think of green being healing. A broken damaged soul; I am healing it bit by bit and little by little. Bandages, tape, and glue. I turned away from the bandage for the soul, the representation of Self that it was. No, this is not what I needed or wanted. Healing is not my metaphor, not this turn around.
But trees, trees are things that provide oxygen. They are shelter, safety, beauty, strength. This is my metaphor. My life into becoming a tree, from mere mortal to transcendence.
My journey isn’t over yet, but this sapling is learning how to grow. This is my metaphor, then. Deep breath, become the tree. Start from the beginning, write anew.
Shall I turn this into a cycle? A cycle about the green crayon, about the writing. Green, like healing and life and trees and grass and beautiful. Not like greed, not like mainstream world. The way society paints it, its ugly peuce and puke suffocating out the peace of mind air that is a healing green. I will cross my fingers, I will hold out the green crayon, I will time myself as I do this essay last minute. Procrastination, laziness, and forgetfulness is the worst combination of traits. This story has begun.
Fields of Flowers
What better place to start than the beginning? You take it from the middle to catch someone’s attention, then you bring it back to the beginning. In stories, at least. It’s an infantile trick, but just because it’s basic doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, it’s very good. It works, no matter how many times it’s predictably used.
So I am born. I remember nothing. Poetry swirls and comes off in my fingers like dust, falling to pieces as I try and collect memories too far deep for me to find. I am a tree - but no, back then, I wasn’t even an acorn. My seeds were not the seeds of bark and wood as hard as stone. My seeds were flowers. A rainbow field of them. Easily destroyed, but then they always regrew.
I was flowers as I played House and was forced, yet again, to be the mother because I was the tallest. I was a field as I played Animals, pretending to be a lion, a wolf, a beautiful and brilliant creature. I was a field of flowers as Animals became too little for my imagination and soon Fantasy Games were the games of choice.
I would be trampled on and dirtied. No fire raged to kill the roots, but the petals would be plucked one by one as a girl (She Who Shall Not Be Named) bullied me through those years. Plucked one by one as I began my life as an outcast, plucked one by one as I felt myself fill to the brim with loneliness I fought so hard against but I wasn’t quite successful enough.
When was I ever successful at the battle I couldn’t win? Flowers are not strong; they are delicate. Beautiful, fragrant, worthwhile: yes. But strength is not a flower’s duty. A field of flowers is no stronger than a lone wildflower. Perhaps roses have strength with the bite they contain in their thorns, but these flowers were not roses, nor was thorny nettles sprinkled in their midst.
The fire raged. Destruction of the field as my life at Sagebrush Elementary was left behind. Middle school is hell and the heat created a fire. No flowers were left. The soul was gone. All that was left was an empty shell. Worthless, over and over again, and with no green crayon to remind me I’m not.
When there is nothing left, anything can be planted. I was lucky enough that love was planted in me. The heart of memory. I wasn’t rescued immediately after the fire. Long-term emptiness, and you begin to collapse in on yourself.
But a seed was planted. A strong acorn, a seed bursting with love. Love is the strongest sort of plant. If it were hate, nothing of life would be planted in me; no, I would be left with dust and infertile dirt.
Instead I was lucky enough to find help. A watering can of steady and sturdy, a wall of protection. Beams placed upon my collapsing cave, band-aids made of blood and a knife. I’ve cut three times for a relief. I put my own toxins into my own soil. But I was protected from that, saved from the fate of 3-2-1 self-destruct. I’m pretty sure God saved me, as He protects the seed before it finds a safe place on solid Earth.
Therapy was my watering can. It gave me rain when I thirsted; hope when I doubted. I found a therapist who I thought was right for me. Later, I’d find out she wasn’t, but for now she was exactly what I needed.
The cave slowly began to be cleared away, and sunlight was let into my soul again. I had good friends to support me. They weren’t the ones that I could truly trust, but they were good enough to save me from that dark place.
The shoot began to grow. And it would be damaged, over time, but it was beginning to find its way to the light.
Oh, the true magic of life; how it rescued me, how it saved me, how I did a redux as finally I struggled out from that bitter cave.
Love’s The Key
Trees need the same things as people do. They need support, company, water, and sunshine. They need fresh air. And they need love.
You don’t see it, but everything needs love, whether living or dead. When positivity is provided, things can grow and be healthy. I found love in scraping fragments. My mother, who always has, always does, and always will love me without condition. She gave me her diary to read, and it turned my life around.
The little tree was shoots at the time, just an unsteady green thing poking its head up into the big wide world. The little tree remembers, even now, the fire that destroyed what it was in a past life. But the little tree has never been alone.
My father found his way out of the black pit of hate. He made it back into love and life and healing and green (crayons).
That let me grow. It was love, and in a world of positivity I found myself able to bloom. There was just one thing holding me back.
Self-hate. I wonder if trees can feel doubt and anger at themselves. With the wonders of the world, I wouldn’t put it past them. It’s strange how much we learn, every day, how the so-called necessity of the brain isn’t even essential for intelligence, sentience, instinct.
Today, as I write this, I love myself and hate myself. That was a difficult journey, to come this far. But I’ve gained back some confidence and some respect for myself. I do not completely wish I was someone else, and that is quite a strange feeling.
A good feeling. To not wish for my death, to not feel like a constant burden, to not sing to myself worthless worthless worthless every day. It happens, sometimes. It happens because I am on a difficult journey and difficult path. But I’ll manage. I always do.
I am happy to say I am a sapling. I am maybe a foot, at most two (but not more than that!) and well on my way to success. I’m not fully grown yet, and I won’t be an adult for a while. Much longer than society claims adulthood should begin.
That’s okay, though. This sapling has friends. Besides me other trees are growing. It’s here that I realize I’m no oak - as I thought at first - but a redwood. My size will be massive, and my roots will tangle with my friends and family.
I look towards the sky, where my future is written. I am ready to go there. I am ready for this.
And also completely and utterly terrified and totally unprepared. But I’ll make it. I’ll find a way. I have a green crayon in my purse to represent the lessons of Life Class - the lessons of Creative Writing - the lessons taught not by a teacher but by my peers.
I have a green crayon in my heart to tell me who I am. I am a healer, a supporter, a lover. I am a tree, a sapling that is growing with my friends, all the ones I love. I’ve been down, broken, and wilted. I’ve come out of a fire, reborn as better than ever.
Metaphor, Take Two
Green crayon. I was always a big fan of markers, always loved coloring with them. When I grew out of markers I turned to colored pencils. I never was a “crayon” sort of kid. But a green crayon is a chance to start again.
I write poetry. I can’t escape my poetic nature, the way I want to flow and dance with the words. I can’t deny my inner self, can’t fight against my very being. So even as my words flow as prose, they arrange themselves in poetry.
I am scared. That’s why I hide in the corner, be my anti-social self. I reciprocate any attempts to talk to me, but I’d rather not. The things I appreciate. That she understood. She probably feels it to - the outcast. And embraces it.
I am a tree with deep roots. No fire will destroy me, only scar me a little. And yes, some of my limbs have fallen. That’s the way it goes as a tree. You’re a bit damaged, and that’s okay.
We gather a little group. Three of us who talk and laugh and tilt towards each other. I don’t understand our dynamic, or how it works. But it does work. It’s everything I needed. And when I’m sad, I look to the girl in front of me. She understood, and I want to understand her. I hope it’s not too late.
I am weak, by all definitions. I cry easily. I run, as much as I can, from my problems. I am no hero, I am not brave or bold or strong. But I’m loving. I’m caring. I’m on the unsteady road to healing. And when I falter I just need to look next to me to find another tree growing, another friend to pick me up and rescue me.
I color with the crayon. Not much, just a bit. A rough draft of a final, filled with lofty dreams that will never come to be. As usual, I am doing it last minute, groaning at all the things that are late. I’ll have no 100%, and I’m not okay with that. But I can’t fix the past.
I am more than just this redwood tree. Within me, a spirit flies. It is wolf, sandhill crane, Canadian goose, prairie vole, some sort of lifelong mating creature both socially and sexually monogamous (I may do too much research...). I want it to be romantic, beautiful, but beauty does not always coincide with what nature throws at us.
I will graduate, and walk down the hall. I’ll have family there, and I’ll be ending 6, 7 years of destruction and pain. I’ve come out of it stronger. I’ve fought past the flames, been reborn like a phoenix from the ashes, and am stronger than before. That’s part of life and growing up, you see. You get stronger.
Deep breaths, in and out. I’m at page 7. It’s time to take it from prose to poetry. Poetry I’ve already written, but the poem that is me. The poem that is my bark, my skin, and all my dreams and hopes of the future. It lingers in me, as me, and I know now what I didn’t know then: the character of this poem, she IS me.
Cold and hot lingers in ridges and valleys within. A lion’s breath, a lion’s roar, the self-created talent - the thing you made from the ground up - is always to be found. Don’t forget that most important thing.
Cold and hot at the same time
The still pool of water stretches
It spirals and curls through hills and ridges all within
It runs through her heart and mind and soul
To her hands, where it bleeds
And it comes, crashing like thunder
Roaring like a lion
As it breathes.
The life came from her ageless piece
An overzealous force
Then it stills again and quiets
Stopping the wild pulse
It draws away, slowly, scared,
The monsters in the light,
It runs from them, the noise,
Unable to return.
So she draws the curtains
And she draws the sword.
She cuts down the ugly piece
Of people taking joy.
They had laughed as they drunk every last bit.
Now she runs, ready,
She shall claim her property back.
She stands her ground.
The old courage of the lion
Returns and she cheers
They were brutal and merciless as they took it from her
But she shows kindness and mercy dear
She brings them down to steal it back,
She grew too strong and broke from chains,
Broke down their determined miserable hate,
And ran to find that of hers.
She discovered it, laying still,
On a bed of fine silk,
It was unmoving, she thought it just missed her,
She shook it then drunk it all up,
Nothing did happen.
Then she realized the truth and sobbed,
Bitter in losing her friend,
Her victory suddenly lost.
So she crawled on home,
Trailing dead hopes and dreams,
She was like the rest,
Another broken clone.
Home was the only thing driving her.
She prayed she was still loved.
The tears were wet and cold
And she felt a heat inside.
She made it home and grabbed a paper.
She stared until it burned.
Word upon word her hand created,
Telling of her loss.
It was beautiful, a masterpiece,
The best she had ever made,
And she felt it stirring inside her,
Once again she was brave.
She stood upon the highest mountain
And yelled it to the world,
“I am not yours to own, I’ve claimed it back,
Now get up and stop being clones!
I am my own fantastic person,
And you are just the same.
The control you let them have over you,
Well, you should be ashamed!”
The world bowed at the force of her will,
And people trembled in their shoes,
Everyone felt the power,
As hot and cold traveled over hills and ridges and valleys all within,
Through minds and hearts and souls,
And dancers danced, painters painted,
The beauty had new feet,
All because of she.
Her work was done, she was tired,
So she slowly traipsed on home,
Nobody said thank you,
Nobody said hello.
She had saved the world and they couldn’t see,
For she was merely she,
And heaven knows a little girl could do nothing grand as that.
But she smiled and still walked,
At the very least she knew,
And she discovered something nobody else remembered,
Miles could drive them apart,
Years could keep them away,
But this self-created thing was not lost,
For the talent is in you.