Sometimes life feels like an unwashed window, you can’t look outside without seeing the dirt, you don’t know if it’s your own eyes or the window that keeps you from seeing things clearly. You try to tell yourself that the window will wash itself, that if you give it time, you will once again be able to see the world the way it is, and we all know, beautiful is how we should see the world. What we forget to tell ourselves is that sometimes we need a sponge, heavy soap and a whole lot of scrubbing before we can see clearly again.
Lately, I have been feeling like I am not alive. My lungs still pump with air, my heart still pounds against my blouse, my fingers still shake when I am cold, and my tongue still knows when cinnamon buns are rising in the oven, but to be alive and to call myself a human is more than having organs that work, to be alive is to feel alive. Although I am equipped with working organs that I am grateful for, I cannot help but feel as if I am floating and slipping on dresses like a ghost and not a girl.
It has been two months since the calendar changed its year and I have yet to walk out of the house and feel as though my life is unfolding. I cannot remember the last time I stepped into an unfamiliar room that made my heart race and my gut bubble like a freshly opened can of soda. I sit at the window and wait, but why do I wait? What is it that I am waiting for? I spend so much time inside of my head that I’ve forgotten how to live on the outside.
Maybe it’s the city getting to me. Maybe I am growing and I don’t even know it, maybe I am the caterpillar as he waits to arise more beautiful than the way he arrived. My heart tells me that the window of my life will soon become a door, that I will no longer be waiting, but my head tells me that I am not a caterpillar and I’ll need a forge and hammer if I want to grow wings.
I used to be content with dreaming. I could spend hours underneath bed sheets with only my brain. I’d make up stories and tell myself that the pine candle beside my bed really was a pine tree and the pillow where I rested really was a mossy landing and the cracks in the wall paint really were markings from a bear's claw. At the time, it was enough. Dreaming was all I had, it was all I needed. I could stay in my room and never be bothered because living in my head was much more satisfying than living where my body was.
Now that I am getting older, dreaming isn’t enough. When I try to turn pine candles into imaginary forests, they remain as candles and they don’t smell quite as good as they used to. Perhaps this is what happens to a human when they realize how much richer the world would be if only their dreams came true. If only I could wake up beside a real pine tree, maybe then I would feel alive again.
I will always be a dreamer. A sofa seat made for one will always belong to my brain; a house filled with only things I like will always be awaiting my arrival. I know I am lucky, not everybody can smell the forest just by closing their eyes, but the luckiest are those who surround themselves in the forest, not only by brain but by body too.
I don’t want my epitaph to read “She lived on the inside. She thought about the birds but she never visited them.” I want the world that I grew up building between pillow and brow to become the world I see on the outside too. I want my life to be so wild and far from ordinary that not even a poet could tell you who I am. I want to stop waiting for the window to wash itself, for the dirt to return to a flowerbed, for the brain to become one with the body. I want my dreams to become my life.
When somebody asks me how I am, I want to turn to them and say: "I feel alive, very very alive, and how are you?"