the dance of the ink riddled fingers

“she ain’t pretty, soldier.”

Posted in 52 pickup, thought spills by enisea on 05/06/2012

That’s what they said when we signed up.  Not that I signed up, I don’t remember signing up. From my earliest memory, I grew up in it. They told us to brace ourselves.  Sure, the words didn’t gel because almost all of the time, their uniform was clean.  They said “we’re not perfect” but washed their stuff before pep-talking us.  In the name of giving us their best, they forgot we needed to hear that times would be worse.  They dressed and covered their injuries so it wouldn’t frighten us and their tragedies hardly marked their faces. We didn’t know them other than their sheen smiles and sparkling eyes – they told us how worthwhile it would all be, but they didn’t tell us how much it cost them to realise it.

Until I realised they weren’t unfamiliar with failure, my own devastated me.

I hardly saw them hurt.  I’d never seen them despair, so I’d never seen the process of recovering from it healthily.  Their resolves were always admirable and brave, so I couldn’t recall witnessing the weighty decision of persevering through really weak times.  Their countenance was beautiful, all the time (as far as I could tell).

So when I was hurt, when I despaired, and when I was in an ugly place – I had little idea what to do.

But now, trying to polish myself before a disorderly gathering of the few people who look up to me, I want desperately not to disappoint them.  I want them to be heartened, I want them to hope, to be strong, vigilant and admirable.  But I’m finding it hard to be enough of an example being the disorganised, emotional, imperfect person that I am. The conflict within me to be the best I can and hide my worst (because the worst in me really is pathetic – but you wouldn’t know because I’ve never told you), is ongoing. I grew up with the understanding that weakness is something to strengthen, not share (though now, I’d like to advocate both).  I want those around me to know I came from a very ordinary place, and unless the eye of the beholder perceived otherwise, I am still ordinary.

It’s hard.

Warfare in hard, and the real parts of life’s battle are fierce.  Protecting innocence against guilt and corruption, ferociously guarding loved ones, and watching cautiously not to become disoriented with the spin of arguable poisons, is not something I’m used to.  Remembering to care is a victory in itself! I have to unlearn my gullibility.  I have to think twice about carelessly throwing myself into dangerous games of “negligible importance”.  I have to fight against the current of indulgent culture and resist the bombardment of disgusting insecurity.  The stupid things we used to sing, I don’t want to sing along with anymore – the idle words, the shallow lies, self-promoting boasts, cynical spats, the occasional crudeness, the stupid smirks.  It’s like carbon monoxide poisoning – it creeps up on you and poisons you slowly, lulling you into sleepy justification until genuine, understanding and beautiful words are increasingly replaced and one’s own belief in honest, faithful humanity is suffocated.  I’ve been pretty poisoned. Shoot.

I sound horribly boring, don’t I.  As though laughter was a ceremony to participate in every year.

I just want you to know you have to be so much more aware of what you’re filling your lungs with, the influences in your life and the aspirations you chase – fashion and popularity being the most dangerous in what I’m witnessing in my friends.

It’s a catch twenty two. We all want to be beautiful, we all want to be admired! Yet it isn’t in trying to be beautiful or admired that our desire to be loved and valued is satisfied.  As it turns out, those we find beautiful and admirable are those whoknow they are loved and valued and don’t give a rip what anyone else might otherwise persuade.  I hate that when anybody mentions “beauty”, the first thing I associate it with is external and physical.

Flip. I wanted to write something cool and I began with an army theme and it just went… not as cool as I imagined.

Honestly, I’m disappointed with my writing because it’s not pretty enough and I wanted to write what I initially intended because I wanted you to think I was cool. But I’m posting this word vomit anyway because after that spat of not presenting just perfection, I’m trying to be OK not caring whether you think I’m cool or not.  I started somewhere and ended somewhere else.

Romans 7:15. My life’s dichotomy.


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