Tears. They run down my face. An old friend just said, “Keep smiling. You’re prettier when you do so.” I keep hearing “I Will Rise” by Chris Tomlin. It’s merged with “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns. A few moments earlier looking at this picture he said, “You looked so happy and cheery… What happened to you?” It caught me off guard. I laughed, then fell silent. It’s a powerful question. What happened?
I could say I don’t know what but I do. A slow fade. The chorus of the song says:
It’s a slow fade, when you give yourself away.
It’s a slow fade, when black and white turn to gray.
Choices are made
A price will be paid when you give yourself away.
People never crumble in a day.
It’s a slow fade.
What happened? A slow fade. That picture was taken around 8th or 9th grade. I know because of the earrings. I wasn’t always happy and cheery but it was Possum Trot, Scotty was there, and I was way more dedicated to faking it.
Life happened, simply put. A long succession of losses and disappointments, a constant unfulfilled need for comfort and striving for perfection. Over time it eats my spirit. It breaks me down. I erode like a malt ball in your mouth. A teacher described me as “gracefully weathered” in high school. I’m still not sure how I feel about that. I guess it’s like broken but beautiful and not made with Crackle.
I think there’s only so much one can take. It was a slow fade into madness, a quiet but not uncommunicated one. There were letters. Thousands of them. I wrote through everything. Not a single letter answered. The silence, and music, and dance, and theater, unrequited love and loss, and watching, and waiting, and writing, helping and working too much, sleeping too little, people fucking with my head and school. They unraveled the bit of me I had put together. When life doesn’t stop there’s no chance to recover. And when it stops completely, that needs recovery too.
I don’t know where along the way I lost me. The me that giggles and growls and cackles when excited. That believes in fairy tales and believes that people are good. I see her sometimes but she’s not happy… I wish I could make her happy.
If I had to pinpoint what happened I’d say a lack of love & understanding, of comfort. A wire monkey life. I just want to be loved. To be held. To feel safe. (pause) To have a person instead of a book.
© Michelle Routhieaux 2010