What do you want me to say? Do you want me to write about how the long grass dances in the breeze? How bees fly flower to flower with pollen on their feet? How the children giggle with dimples in their cheeks?
Pain. Yes, there is pain. There is hurt. There are memories screaming in me as I sleep. Nightmares of force and helplessness. Of how my mind, my beautiful crazy imaginative mind, is not accepted by this society. My art, my words — they are welcome here. People will gather to see what I create. But my pain, my experiences, my past — They are not welcome here.
“Bring us colour and light, bring us passion, but speak not of the agony that fuelled those creations. Speak not of the psychiatric hospital’s harm, of how being forced into seclusion felt like rape. Steer clear of topics like forced medications, bodily violation, and pharmaceutical anguish. Do not share what will make others upset and uncomfortable. Speak no ill of the only help our society will provide. Be grateful. Stay in the light. Be positive, Amy. Don’t look back.”
I know to stay in the moment, to be in the here and now. It’s okay to feel the pain though. To feel the memories as if they too are in this moment, as fresh as the air surrounding my flesh.
The past is what I know. The future cannot be seen. I can talk of dreams, of where I wish to be. I can write of how the butterfly flitted past the grapes, of the murmuration of starlings choreographing shapes. I can write of the lapping tides and how the ocean breathes. Of how the moon reflects the sun onto the sea.
Yes, I can be positive. I can feel joy and hope. I can shine so bright that the sunflowers turn towards me. That the babies laugh and smile with glee. That dogs wag their tails and show me their bellies. I can be all of this and I am. So light, so bright, despite years and years in the dark. It’s okay to ache. I can still smirk, smile, and grin. I can embody both the Yang and the Yin.