When I was a little girl, my life was a cycle of great pain and great fear. Every door I attempted to enter was locked to me. Escape was futile, and I accepted this fully.
I conceded to riding the waves until the storm settled.Fighting to stay afloat despite being weighed down by the monsters that lived in my own mind.
Refuge was difficult to find when the inner mirrors the outer, and the inner was a dark place indeed.
Eventually, and after great struggle, the monsters died, like all things inevitably do with time. I buried them in the earth, feeding my gardens, nourishing my own cycles of life and death.
But my cycles were at an end. I was at the end. With the death of my monsters, I closed the coffin on some parts of myself too.
Suddenly I realized that I was standing outside of that final cycle. A participant but no longer its central victim. But I wasn't its healed warrior either.
Killing my monsters had pushed me out of my own life. The unfairness of it hurt me. I was brought close enough to the flame to be burnt but never cleansed in the fire.
There was a time I grieved the loss of my father. My tears fell heavily in the rain. Still I struggled to stay afloat.
There were no more lessons for me in the past. After fighting to escape the things that had almost drowned me I realized I didn't know how to swim without them. And I couldn't go back.
I had to swim on my own now. I examined my pain from every angle, looking for clues on how to survive as a raw and defective child. There was nothing.
For all that I suffered, there was no reward. My pain and anguish knew no justice. What had I endured for? What did I learn?
I asked the heavens for a gift of clarity. For the clouds in my mind to clear. For me to see my way. I begged for a path, a direction, after I had left everything and everyone behind.
I had nothing to lose and could offer them nothing but myself. There was no thunder. There was no booming voice from above. I saw a star fall across the sky.
It fell beyond the mountains in the north. And so I began walking.
I encountered many fresh pains and puzzles on my journeys. I navigated the world as a scared and broken shadow while everyone around me seemed to step fully into themselves.
I wanted the light but I feared what I had never seen. And I couldn't go back. I knew too much to go back.
Many obstacles and battles came before me. I was faced with so much and yet I overcame them. Difficult as they were, I could win, because I had known great pain before. Struggle was not new.
At times I felt strong. Other times I was deeply humbled. They all gave me a little piece of myself. Small shards of glass I collected along the way. They hurt as I held them in my small hands.
Cutting me as I walked the long, uphill road searching for the star. Searching for my gift. Searching for my answer.
I was weary and beaten down. Tired, with my hands bleeding from all the lessons I carried, and yet I made it to the top of the mountain.
And for all my pain, for all my struggle, I still wasn't rewarded.
What should I find at the top of the mountain but a hollow star. An empty box. A shell. The gods had tricked me. My answers were empty.
I had nothing left to give of myself from my journeys and nothing left to take from an empty box. It was then that I knew I had to let go of the shards. But it was hard.
They were all I knew from my journeys. Painful and fragile reminders that I had come far and overcome much as my broken self. I had nothing left to show for my struggles.
I didn't know how to put my swords down. I didn't know how to give up the fight. But I couldn't go on anymore. There was nowhere left to go. Difficult as it was, I let them all go.
They shattered on the ground. Broken pieces of myself picked up by the wind. And as they flew away they fell into my hollow star. I was astounded to find they formed a great mirror.
How difficult it was to understand my gift until it all came together in the end. Until I faced my own reflection.
All my pain and all my anguish. Every difficult lesson had brought me not to riches, not to fame, but to a startling discovery. My own personal alchemy.
Put together by a million needle-like shards of glass collected along the way. Me.