It can be a wonderful thing to belong in a group. I know people who find great fulfilment in knowing every move to make, every word to say or avoid, every rhythm of “how we do things.” The comfort of knowing there will be people there for you, come what may; and the knowledge that you will do the same for others – whether they ask for it or not. The can be a comfort in conformity.
But then there are the others, the ones who struggle continually within the constraints of belonging. The ones who live like icebergs, unwilling or unable to reveal their depths. Or who give up and melt away. I’ve seen it so often. The longer I live, I find I am wistful for the belonging, for its goodness; but at the same time find I am increasingly drawn to the fringes, the rebels, the bright orange in a sea of black and blue.
No turning back
Someone in this sea of black and blue,
of downturned eyes, has a tattoo
on her shoulder blade – a butterfly
perhaps; better yet, a devil’s eye
that no one but her lover knows,
a secret that she never shows.
Someone in this modest fashion show
is wearing orange, brazen just below
her neckline, bursting with desire
not so much to shock as just to let the fire
within her have its head at last – finally
to be the blazing torch that she was born to be.
Someone in this close and holy space
is terrified, yet ready to depart this place
once and for all. Tonight,
after the benediction, no fight
no grand pronouncements, no bitter end.
Just a kiss, a plain embrace for every friend
and then no turning back – her fierce reward for
loosening the tight-tied strings her mother wore.