“Cada día sigo sacando espinas de lo profundo del corazón. En la noche sigo encendiendo sueños para limpiar con el humo sagrado cada recuerdo.” – Natalia Lafourcade, “Hasta La Raíz.”
Every day I continue to remove thorns from the depths of my heart. In the night I continue lighting dreams to clean with the sacred smoke every memory.
I don’t think it ever really goes away. On great days they are merely an echo, very weak voices that are being overpowered by love and excitement. Other days, the not-so-good ones, they are screams that demand to be heard, they scream words that are like salt being poured on an open wound that just won’t heal.
Let me set the stage, I was in second grade. I used to walk around daydreaming about what I wanted to do when I grew up: a dolphin trainer. My days were filled with those kinds of daydreams, the kind that gave me wings and allowed me to fly to another reality. A reality in which I could do whatever I wanted, and be whoever I wanted.
I was so young when a girl decided that she could not be friends with me because I wasn’t skinny enough to be her friend. As the leader of her little friend group, she had commanded her little herd of sheep that I should be excluded from being part of her social circle. And just like that, it felt like someone had grabbed my wings and pulled me back down. I have to admit it I wasn’t the most fit girl when I was in grade school, but still your physical appearance shouldn’t be something you should worry about when you are only 7 years old.
Still, second grade was filled with a lot of name calling and a lot of silent crying. Ugh yes, that typical American movie scene of crying in the bathroom stall during recess; it was pitiful. However, their labels were a low punch to my self-esteem every time I heard them, and they hurt. A lot. In a way that they became a part of me, they were planted inside of me.
Fourth grade, I remember making plans for a party with some of my “friends” and one of them asked me what I was going to wear. I very vividly remember her asking me: it’s not going to be tight fitting right? I knew exactly what she meant, and no it wasn’t, I was already too insecure thank you very much.
I felt tears form in my eyes, but I didn’t want them to see that it hurt. I couldn’t let them have that satisfaction. They had planted something and they watered it, and it grew.
That same year in P.E class, my P.E teacher a chubby short man who resembled a mushroom, weighed all the students of the class. I remember being singled out by him, I remember the tears after that.
“Cuando mire al cielo en la forma cruel de una nube gris, aparezcas tú…sabrás que no te he olvidado”
When you look at the sky in the cruel form of a gray cloud, you’ll appear…you’ll know that have not forgotten you.
Of course, since then we have all grown up; now we’re all young women with different ideals. After all, we were just kids. Kids who said too many careless words. I don’t hold grudges against them. I still wish them the best desires, and being a hardcore romantic, I believe that at the core, they are brilliant people who shouldn’t be judged for things they said in second grade.
No, I hold grudges against their words, those sharp blades that left deep cuts inside, cuts that took ages to heal. Those little voices followed me until freshman year, when I stood looking at a reflection that I wished was not mine, and I heard them. Every single day. They had deeply rooted weeds that suffocated me, they tightened around me, and I had let them.
I still remember the night that I uprooted them. It came like a soft whisper, a kind one, after so many bitter ones.
“You have to let them go, it’s for your own good.”
With all the strength I never knew I had, I tore them apart. There was a lot of space left, there was so much silence. But just like weeds can grow, a field of sunflowers can too.
That one feels a lot different.
It comes in daydreams, like those I had when I was in second grade. When you are no longer afraid to fly higher than the rest, because the rest don’t matter. And along the way you find others, that dream along with you; they are going to fly with you. Sometimes, if you’re very very lucky, they’ll even let you be part of their beautiful and exciting dreams. It also comes with a beautiful mindset, one filled with bright ideas, and lovely words that overpower the dry echoes of your ghosts. It’s almost as if physical beauty means nothing compared to a beautiful mind.
These are different types of roots. They are planted in your heart, where nothing can touch them, and they don’t think twice about hurting you. Because these come from the heartfelt “te quiero ‘s” of your parents. From the endless and unconditional support of your brother. They were planted by your best friend who picked up your call at 2:30 am because you could actually feel yourself falling apart, but they stood by you. They are watered by people who don’t decide the value of your friendship with superficial affairs, they value your presence. The seeds grow with each passing day in glimpses of happiness, those small tastes of heaven that we get every now and then. In night car rides singing as loud as you can with a group of your craziest friends, in the excitement of exploring new places, in long conversations about your deepest desires; they come with different faces and different names.
These roots intoxicate you with sweetness, they wrap around you with tenderness and they protect you. They heal your wounds.
Like I said, I don’t think they really ever go away. Every now and then you hear that old creepy voice coming back, a reminder of your battles. But that’s all they are –a reminder. They are volatile and fragile, and you are so strong.
“Yo te llevo dentro, hasta la raíz. Y por más que crezca vas a estar aquí. Aunque yo me oculte tras la montaña y encuentre un campo lleno de caña, no habrá manera mi rayo de luna, que tú te vayas. Que tú te vayas.”
I carry you within me, to the very root. And though I may blossom, still you will be here. Though I may hide myself behind the mountain and I find a; field of sugar canes, there will be no chance, my ray of moonlight, that you will leave.
Every now and then I’ll re-visit those memories of my old roots. I can’t help but to feel softness for that young girl who got severely judged for a long time. A young girl who blamed herself until she was seventeen and was finally strong enough to break free. I think we all go through that in different ways, we all break differently. We all have old roots that keep us tied down, that silence you, and that tighten around you leaving you with what seems no escape.
According to Greek mythology, beasts and villains only exist because they need a hero to defeat them, that is actually their sole purpose of existence, to be defeated.
And that’s all they are, your ghosts, your old roots, they are only there to be uprooted. They are only there to give you the opportunity to plant something new, something beautiful, something that will radiate onto others, and maybe along the way you’ll plant that goodness inside of someone else.
Flower collage artwork, mixed media by Ppeebee on Flickr (featured image and last image) https://www.flickr.com/photos/ppeebee/
Second featured picture by Niken Anindita. Instagram: @megatruhart
Also, listen to Natalia Lafourcade’s “Hasta La Raíz” by clicking below: