I'm in the middle of a lace collar when it strikes me: I have changed.
My hand halts in midair, holding the brush. It makes me blink, this sudden comprehension, incomprehension, the impossible turned in midair to reveal the coin's other side.
I have changed. I am not who I was in ages past; I have moved from my former place.
This is a revelation.
It's always been a mild amusement, something to puzzle over in the darkness before dawn: I tell my friends of my life and what I intend to (and normally do) spin off lightly as froth and immaterial, they normally see as sheerest insanity, or insane courage in the face of savagery.
To me, of course, this is the commonest of occurrences: after all, it's my life. How could it not be average? But to others, tales of destabilization, tales told lightly from the life on guard, occasionally pull out of them all the shock, all the confusion, all the horror I'm not able to feel--or have chosen not to feel. Though it still confuses me, when my daily life experience is so very shocking to others.
I listen to the poets sing, carefully changing the collar, color by color, pixel by pixel, and reflect on a life spent on the other side of the glass. Was it my ultimate goal to reveal more of myself in spaces of less safety? If I had the same choices, would I take them again, seize each opportunity, for good or ill?
Would I mourn the ones I lost? Would I worry over the smallest phrase, the merest word, of the ones who walked away? Would I have walked away from everyone I chose to leave? Would I have loved at all?
It's a notable fact that I am less connected now, oddly enough, instead of more. Most of my old friends--friends I had, for a variety of reasons, before I moved to Caledon--have stopped talking to me. I know, without a shred of doubt surfacing, that at least in some part this is due to the lack of casual sex in my friendships with them. More important to me, however--though perhaps less so to them--is that I no longer seem to have anything in common with people who think of sex first, relating second.
This strikes me. This strikes me and strikes me. I have been here before. I have lost loves like this before. When the physical overweighed the emotional. I have done this, this exact this, before.
Now? I am by no means a prude, by no means disconnected from the joy of physicality. All my loves I also lust after, my deeply treasured ones; they will always touch more of me than just my heart. In any world, in any space, I would enjoy them, however I could; even if it were just the caress of their voices in my ears.
And more than that, I am not running willingly to places of self-destruction, to annihilation of soul and memory. I may be walking in circles at times, I may get confused, disoriented by my own spinning, because it's harder to navigate when I'm not concealed. Open actions, open heart, it creates a lot of wind drag; I can't freely fly towards the sun, I have to spiral lower, closer to the things of life. Now, I move slowly, more deliberately, feeling my way...not just overthinking it.
It is progress. But it's a progress measured in entirely new terms.
The brush moves, I draw a line here, I erase a line there. I think while I paint, erase, distort, change. Change, it's all about change. Living the more open life no longer being simple lip service to the dream. Living the more open life, and letting myself experience, the pain and joy of it, the thrill and terror...of being open-hearted.
I have never been here before.
My kitten wanders near to my door at times. He no longer does anything but call out far messages, and I worry for him. He's gotten involved with gangs, in that other world, with criminals or would-be criminals, who point implements of destruction and have no other feeling besides, what would it be like if I pulled the trigger? Followed of course by, would I feel anything at all?
I worry for him, but I feel bound by former decisions. What we were in one world affecting what we are in the next. Do we have any ties left, is what I wonder. Would I feel anything other than soft regret if I never heard from him again?
I contemplate another culling of the friendslist. It might be time. If it's been a a year since any person wrote me on that list, it might be time to disconnect. But I'm disconnecting in so many other ways--from the world I once knew, from the world around me, from so many things--is it time to resign and accept that change happens, people leave, and sometimes, we never see them go, in time to say goodbye?
Transition, maybe. Maybe it's less about change, more about transitions. Moving sideways, or up, or down, is still moving. Maybe that's the ultimate lesson to take from these perceived changes, perceived sense of change, moving slowly through the waters I wade in.
Transition. Change. Reflection. It all has meaning.
In the meantime, I need to finish this dress.