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"And I want so much to believe

That I won't disappear in the water.
That I won't always be swimming against the tide."
--Darren Hayes, Taken by the Sea

There is no division between his words and my feelings.

In this life I have met the same people over and over again. I confront the same forces again and again.

When I was a child I had a parakeet who was beautiful and precious to me. She died in an accident that was my fault. Really since then I have never known such an intensity of grief and remorse. I truly, yearned to die when I had killed her. My feelings were so immense that there was almost no way that something couldn't be done about it. A few years later my stepfather brought home another bird, a cockatiel, a male, really, but when I held him and spent time in his presence, I knew he was the same bird that she had been. It was actually her. And I know it just as well now as I did then, years ago.

And whenever I have wanted something, so dearly, it has come, and I know there is no way it can't, when I connect with my purest feelings to that which is the empty void and the beginning.

It is hard for me to be brave. It always has been. It's hard for me to do things that are easy for other people to do. But I like to think, there's something different about me.

When I was in high school, when I was eighteen, I experienced the first flush of my crystallized will. I created myself in an adult image, and I drank from the bowl of courage when I was alone. I listened to songs that gave me courage, over and over, so that I could ask a boy to the prom. I liked him from a place in me that wasn't a place of obsession and sickness. He was a separate place.

I decided the day and the time that would be best, and I asked him. And he said yes. Then the next day, he waited until we were alone, and asked to speak to me, and I grew cold, because I knew. And he took it back, said he couldn't go with me, there was a reason but it's not important to this.

I accepted his words, but the tide of grief that overwhelmed me when I was alone threatened my own mind. My weeping and wailing was maybe more than the normal high school girl's. It wasn't him. It was something I had tried to do. It had taken so much courage, and I had failed.

But actually, it isn't so bad that I lost all of my courage. When I got my first job, my supervisor did not bump me up to the agreed-upon raise implicit at the three-month mark when I became an official employee. I had worked hard for him. It was difficult to please him, and I, I was not like I am now, but I like to think of how I was then. Irascible, stubborn, even hateful.

I will try to find a picture of that girl. She looks so different from me, even, with bobbed hair she dyed black herself in a shower she never even considered cleaning, in her cold apartment that always dripped and was dark because her next-door neighbor seemed to look at her, and she kept the curtains always drawn. She never got to sleep at night because the neighbors above her had incredibly loud sex every night. She was jaded, and jagged.

But despite my irascible nature I was really frightened to confront him. My voice shook, and when I spoke to him tears even fell, but I ignored that person, hoping he would ignore her, too, and listen to my words. I did get the raise, and he said it was the last I would get for this behavior. I had plateaued.

I was brave. Again and again, I have taken out my jewelry box and added up the pennies and nickels in it to fill up my tank of gas. That was what I did once to leave somewhere, and I had the experience of having to go to the cashier with a lot of pennies and nickels, and I knew how it looked, and he asked me did I need "help." And I told him coldly that I didn't.

These are my pennies and nickels that I'm offering the world. I'm trying to buy something in return for them. Maybe something everyone else already has. But I want to pay for it with my own money. That's all I'm trying to say.

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