“Will You Speak, or Will You Die?”

I am sometimes afraid of my own words.

I don’t know what will be waiting on the other side – or perhaps, even worse, I do.
 

So I swallow them, letter by letter.

Let them swim around in my mouth, but don’t set them free.

Examine them, circle them, admire them even – for they are probably brave.

Because the thing about who I am, deep inside – oh, I know her. I have always known her.
 

That woman is a wave who will not retreat from the shore.

She is a burning sun, so distant, but I can still feel the heat.

She is a trip on a sled down a snow-laden hill. Gravity won’t allow her to abandon the journey halfway through.

She will be unstoppable – and maybe that’s why I’m scared to start.
 

There is time,
There is sickness,
There is a boat I fear to rock.
There is loneliness,
There is inescapable love,
There is confusion and doubt.
 

But under it all is me;

Still growing, still changing,

Still every ounce as authentic as she ever was.
 

And there is silence.

Not the quiet stillness of rest,

But a silence that screams

I am nothing

And yet that compels me to do it anyway.

Because nothing comes from nothing, and I have so much.
 

Too much? Perhaps.

But I chisel away at the stone; I shape the future from this heavy gray.

I remove pebbles from my shoes, stopping to look up at the sky as they fall to the concrete.

I take everything that no longer serves me, and I pack it into boxes. I carry the boxes away.
 

And that fear I have, of my own words, I’ll wrestle it to the ground.

I will open my throat and speak.

The ashes, the pieces, the people will fall where they may.

Because my words are my life,

And this is not how I shall die.


“Will you speak, or will you die?”
– Hannah Paasch, Millenneagram 9: The Wallflower

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