I Desire.

I desire.  Two very simple, very loaded words.  The Oxford Dictionary defines desire as: a strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen.  Desire is more than just a sexual or sensual longing – though that’s how we most commonly see it used anymore.  It is want.  Multiplied.  It is a dream. Pursued.  It is passion. Burning.  It is quite simply that flame that burns longest and deepest within our soul.  That directs our every goal, path, pursuit.  It manipulates our relationships with others.  It enhances.  It torments.  It is that which lets you know you’re alive.  Painfully, exquisitely, breathlessly – alive.

So what/who/how/why do you desire?  I’m not asking who your latest crush is, or who you’re in love with.  I’m not asking what home you want to own, what car you want to have in your garage, or the latest greatest gadget you’re lusting after.  No, the kind of desire I’m speaking of is far deeper.  It is the desire of the very self, the soul.  The who, that you long to be.  The what that gives you purpose.  The how that you alone, unique in all the universe, can express.  The why that fuels it all.

I’ve had these two words rattling around in my head for days now.  I desire.  And the terrifying and simultaneously grand thing is, that it’s not an incomplete sentence.  There’s no missing fill in the blank.  Rather, it is a statement of being.

I. Desire.

As someone who has spent half of their life fighting depression, eating disorders, and various issues of self-worth and self-esteem – that realization, that declaration, is a profound experience.

Going through some old papers, I stumbled across a poem that the adolescent me had written about this tiny flame:

The Flame

I sit there as the candle burns low

Seeing the past and future in the flame

As my feelings of hate recede and sadness grow

The need for me to my ancestors lay claim

But time passes on, my mother calls

And I must run to see what’s wrong

I run and run as my faith in god falls

I must run and run to see what’s wrong

Soon the candles flame goes out

I am left alone in the darkness

With the pressure on my lungs I shout

Feeling overwhelmed by the starkness

And so I fall into that sleep

Into which the premonitions creep

To look back and read those words now, with eyes and a heart now grown a little wiser, a little kinder, a little more gentle – I wept.  I wept for the pain the young girl that I had been had poured onto the page, and the suicide attempt that had followed that poem and so many like it, less than a year later.  I also felt a profound gratitude for the single greatest failure of my life.  Had I been successful nearly two decades ago, at wiping myself from existence, I would have missed out on so many amazing experiences that I couldn’t even dream of or imagine at that young, tender and tormented age.

There’s been a lot of work this past year to find my purpose, my desire.  To find that small flame or spark that lit-up my entire being.  And to be honest – I didn’t really believe I would find it.  A part of me was sure that when all the heavy lifting was done, I’d find a scorch mark or maybe ashes, of a flame.  A flame that long since had burned out.  Whether from suffocation, starvation or neglect – I would find only the ruins of what once was.  If I was lucky, I might see a burnt out shell of the potential that had been.  A shell that if I didn’t breath too hard or accidentally touch, might not crumble and blow away in the wind before I could try to memorize what it had looked like.

To my astonishment, I found that beneath all the crap, the scars, the pain and the joys, the memories and the questions – buried under the shame and guilt and sadness and anger and fear – there is still a small but determined fire that has somehow managed to persist and persevere through it all.  That I am both Prometheus and the sacred flame.  Suffering the torments of being picked apart daily by all my insecurities and fears, and at the same time, deep within, burns a divine, unquenchable, sacred fire.

I may not have all the answers to the questions that I’ve asked you here, but I have a start at answering them.  Just by virtue of recognizing that quality within myself.  And as any fire does, when you give it fuel and you give it room to breathe, it grows.  With the right mix of blood, sweat and tears – of courage, vulnerability and faith – I can step into that fire, into that flame, and become it.  My divinely unique gift, my flame, my desire – my self.  Wonderfully, authentically, utterly ALIVE.  Perfectly imperfect.

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