A Single Candle

Sometimes, I feel empty. There are days I want to give in, let myself become a rag doll, so that I could somehow get some rest. I’ll lie in my bed, cocooning into the darkness that seems so daunting to some, but somehow it calms me, and I’ll think it is easier to become a puppet. If I let others control me, if I let them win, some day I will get peace. I’ll throw on my facade and let them assume victory, smile triumphantly as they take my feelings as a trophy, displaying them on the mantle with their other prizes, like their pride and envy and anger.

Other days, I am heavy. Anchors tethered to my feet, I’m thrown into the deep end, and as the weight drags me down into the depths, I cry out for help, water seeping into my throat, my lungs, salt stinging the sores in my  mouth from biting my tongue for so long. And I’ll wait to be rescued because I cannot swim with chains around my toes, ankles, knees, hips, stomach, arms, chest, mouth, eyes. No one could.

As I wait for someone to notice, I’ll count my blessings, reminding myself that I could have it worse. So I’ll decide to keep my outcries to myself, let them fill my chest with a fire only I can feel, let it burn every part of me so that it does not harm anyone else.

I am a people-pleaser, and often times, I fear that if I let my opinion out, if I share how I am feeling, what is weighing me down, people won’t see me as a kind person. I’ll be someone to argue with, someone to fight against, and as a person who strives for harmony, it is difficult to believe in myself.

Single CandleSometimes, it is easier to give in to those feelings. For years, I have argued with myself, trying to convince the girl inside to let the fight escape me. The light she holds is only a single candle in a dark and antagonizing world, and I remind her that a single breeze could extinguish it, and that many people will try to blow it out themselves, if they are ever given the opportunity.

So as I let myself sink into a lifeless body or let myself be buried by the tides, I seek a reminder that this is easier, and if I give up the fight, if I let them win, it will somehow become a chance for me to also claim a trophy.

But wrapped in my chains, lungs longing for air, I see someone else there, too.

Fighting harder. More chains, louder screams, heavier anchors. Soon, they will be emptier than I could ever be. They fight for things that I have no concept of in my own world. They fight for things I take for granted.

That’s what brings me out of my rag doll state, and that’s what forces me to battle my own chains. Because there are so many people in this world who are drowning, and I  might not have a life-jacket, but if I can release the weight of my own world, maybe I can swim to them. Maybe I can help them. Maybe I can share some of their chains so they don’t have to do it alone.

And I won’t tell them, I know how they feel. I won’t tell them that my chains are just as heavy. Because we all carry different burdens. We all pay a different price for life.

I am only a single candle in this world, but maybe with a match–and a whole lot of kindness and empathy–we can spread that fire around, each of us lighting our single candle until the world is illuminated with hope and love.

There is so much to fight for in this world, and when I want to give up, I remember those who cannot. I remember those who haunt my dreams, their pained faces telling me that there is not as much kindness as I had hoped there would be, but there is much potential for it.

So I’ll carry a match. I’ll fight my chains. I’ll revive my rag doll body.

Not for me. But for you. I’ll fight for you. I’ll fight for our world.

Because I am not happy with what I see. No matter how much I love the feel of the sun kissing my skin or the feel of soft grass between my toes, there is much more to our world than that. There are dark voids that replace hearts and anchors that hold many prisoner. And when they try to drag me down, I’m going to fight for kindness. I’m going to fight.

Will you join me?

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