The Lonely Hunter.

Hammershoi 1


“I want – I want – I want – was all that she could think about – but just what this real want was she did not know.”
Carson McCullers, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

I used to lie on my bedroom floor, maybe 10 years old, flat out like a starfish, wondering if there was anyone who could see me. The rough brown shag, the stale remnants of the vacuumed carpet, below my straggly blonde hair, was somewhat of a comfort. Perhaps knowing there was another 10 year old girl flat out like a starfish on her bedroom floor wondering the same thing, somewhere in the world, was a bit of a comfort,  it was something tangible to not feel alone.

To be seen. It was something I craved. It was something I desired, but like an oxymoron, my innermost thoughts would be juxtaposed with my outward behaviors. These were the two contrasting realities inside of me trying to fight to be one. Shyness was a beast and it wrapped its slimy hands around my mouth and my heart. The squeezing effect of the uninterrupted pressures, caused only for the feelings of defeat and vulnerabilities to manifest in me for a great need to escape. I wanted to be seen, but not, kind of like the needing to know and be known, but not wanting to be at the same time. To me, this escape would be the only freedom I would come to learn. I was the pale moth trapped in the world of the spider’s intricate sticky web, struggling, wrestling, fighting, and surviving.

I was in no prison camp, only the camp that imprisoned me. To be young, ah, no, I wouldn’t want to be again! Every year presented itself with possibility and every possibility an opportunity to pursue or present, but with a grace not within my reach. I was awkward. I was scared. Would this be the reason of the lack of risk or adventure? I would grow up having friends seeking one thrill after the next. Loving the intense flooding of adrenaline rushing through every morsel of their bodies, but me? No thank you. I clumsily grasped hold of the rail and walked the path in obedience and assurance of a promise if I follow the rules, I would not get hurt. But one can’t be protected no matter how preserved they may try to be. The heart has no out of bounds signs hammered around it. If it does, it is because it has been there because of a hurt, lashed against when the boundaries were still obsolete, unearthed, and untold. The heart is a muscle of strength and agility and with a mind of its own. I doubt it can ever be restrained, maimed, yes, but tamed to a place in which passions find no residency, impossible. It is in these deep places, the unlocking of the heart, the releasing of authentic life can still find a pulse, faint, maybe, but there is a time in which the heart does not follow nor does it keep. Master of its own, keeper of its kind, the heart leads only to where life can be breathed and truth uncovered.


Image Credit: Hammershoi



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