I’ve been having a rather difficult time as of late and have not been able to write an update to my last post. I have put it on my list of priorities and will have a post for you soon. I appreciate all the readers that come here to see what I am up to and how my recovery is going. This afternoon I am posting a creative piece I wrote a while back. I hope you enjoy it.
Today I am a small, downy bird. Only a few days ago I was freshly formed, new skin red and raw from the transformation. Yes, I have risen once again from the ashes. The process goes quicker than it once did. It is still painful. Pain is something that I live with everyday so it is nothing new. Neither is the burning. It must be done in order to keep moving forward. It took me a while to understand that I’m a Phoenix.
Life gets complicated, difficult, and unbearable. That is when the fire must be ignited and everything burned away. I never know exactly what will trigger it. The burning process varies in time. It is always excruciating and grueling. I must protect others from the fire so isolation is a necessity.
The flames start by licking my flesh, warming it and preparing it for what is to come. Next, a biting sensation devours my body like a stinging nettle ripping into me and then burning. The fine hair on my arms curls up and floats away. As the inferno grows, my soft tissue blisters and cracks and liquid oozes out like hot magma. My muscles shorten in the blaze and my limbs retract as though I am moving into the fetal position. My organs begin to bubble and then burst into viscous fluid. Meat crackles in the flames and then burns off in large black chunks. My bones grow white hot with the heat, finally cracking to let the boiling marrow flow out. I smolder, unable to feel anything as I burn through the night and turn to ash. Tiny pieces drift away on the wind. Pieces that I no longer need. I only require the essentials to rebuild. I start as a tiny black coal and form into my core self. Air comes as breath, the dew of the morning forms my blood, ash mixed with earth becomes my body and the fire gives me life once again.
The familiar acrid smell of bone char permeates the air as excess ashes slowly begin to waft away into the cold grey sky. Soon, focus will be honed and armor reapplied. Cracked and bruised, scars still glistening pink I ascend once again. There are questions that always appear at this time. Do I rebuild the barriers? Do I leave myself open, vulnerable? How much armor needs to be applied? The first few times this happened I realized that I am a monster and would be treated as such by all who see me. I must continue to sequester myself as my shape continues to take form; the overwhelming exhaustion and sorrow dig into my charred heart. I can only conjure a flat affect to communicate; there is no depth, only a focus on returning.
Death means nothing now. There is no escape. Only this constant circle of live, destroy and rise. Life. Destruction. Obliteration. Resurrection. The cycles are shorter when I make myself vulnerable and take off a piece of armor for respite. I am far too sensitive without it as the slightest attack burns and breaks through my skin. It is a paradox that I have this great power to regenerate yet I am so easily wounded. Scrapes and bruises to others can be mortal to me. That is why it is so dangerous to take off the armor. The thrill of going into unfamiliar territory sustains me for a while. I hope and trust and devise great plans of going back into the world. I convince myself that it will be different. So far, it has not changed. I still repeat this process several times a year. I will continue to do so until my hope and trust is rewarded or until I am no longer able to regenerate. Hope is always my downfall. Hope is my biggest enemy and the cause of most of my pain. Yet I am inextricably connected to her.
Really, hope is the cruelest of all things. It brings such verve, spark, and elation to my life. As I hold on to it as a life preserver, it fades, until I realize I was, perhaps, a fool for believing in it in the first place. But once again, when she presents herself, I entwine myself with her, unable to resist her charm and promise. She lifts me up and I believe. I fly with her into the new day and believe—without a doubt—that everything I desire will be mine. It brings me delight and solace after such a difficult time of rejuvenation. So once again, I begin the cycle. I am making new plans. I am excited, unable to sleep or eat as my body revs up for this next battle with life. Hope courses through my veins and gives me strength to risk again. I shake the ashes off my mighty wings and take flight into the unknown.