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My pen writes in many colors. My voice speaks in many tones.  My heart represents me at all times, though, sometimes a rock unyielding, a fist, a sharp pain gash in my chest, sometimes mushy, weak, barely beating, but most often humming along on the highway of Same. My mind is another creature altogether, a vapor doctors would like to tap out of me for my own good, a paperweight that holds down my better self, a winged thing that bashes itself in its cage but sometimes flies away and brings back enough joy to scare itself back into the cage. My mind dislodges itself, repositions itself, sometimes a great glorious Kilimanjaro but most often it just hangs out where I sit.  It is my daily chore to see where my mind is located and see if we can get anything done.

Every day challenges me to explore who I am, from the way I choose to rise in the morning or what hour I call it a night. Every interaction I have with my breathing, posture, with nature and with humans who are angels and adversaries depending on the hour of the day, how I receive the word from a poem, a book, an article, an email, loud voices in the hall, I examine. Sometimes it makes me so tired. So tired.  And all I can do is sleep after I read words that make me examine why I want to toss a spider out of my apartment (not kill it, mind you, but toss it outside because I’m not comfortable with it breathing on my kitchen floor), instead of just leaving it be. I am so tired after I read essays and poetry, literature, not because I don’t understand, but because I need to dig for more truth inside of me. Sometimes my rainbow pen is just too tired to record.

I’ve learned that my tiredness is a liberal symptom that conservatives call being a “special snowflake,” somebody who can’t figure out that hard work and putting my faith in God will take all the second-guessing out of my life.  Damn, everything would just be fine if I’d just color in the lines.  They make it seem like if I go inside myself and question everything, explore,  or if I go beyond borders and explore the rest of the world, if I hold my silhouette against the light of conformity, I am a confused, unhelpful, useless person in need of some kind of patriotic and spiritual intervention.  But then I get up off my couch after reading her words, I stand, I breathe, I stretch and my shoulder pops back in from where I slept on it wrong a week ago. I reconcile myself to the fact that I am Me.  I am a basket full of contradictions. I compare myself to others (heroes and deplorables alike) and it makes me so tired, but then I remember that in the end, I was only ever Me. I can be a warrior for self-protection and I can be a warrior for peace.  I can be a silent observer and I can be a megaphone, either one sharing a patient, loving, hopeful outlook or shouting angry rhetoric into the wind.   My life is not one closet of clothes filled with one color, one texture, one style.  My life is full of contradictions, and yes, I am always on the lookout to learn more, to try something new, or be the same old Me, and that needs no one’s validation or approval (softly, fuck you, softly).  My spandex dichotomy, boys and girls, makes me a whole lot less tired.