Meriam Rodriguez essay featured by Rebelle Society.
In this world — this living, breathing, ever-spinning existence of a world — I find queries under every rock.
Every question that poses itself from the mysterious folds of my brain multiplies into a hundred more.
The first couple of months here are a bit hazy. Actually, the first six to seven years of life are pretty nonexistent in the memory banks. Our personal evolutions began in this small bubble, our own little star system. Safe. Warm. Every few hours you were automatically fed; zero work involved.
At this point, chewing your own food wasn’t even necessary. A very unusual, alien-like process, isn’t it? It’s also incredibly fascinating when you think of the science behind it.
After about nine months of what I imagine as heavenly bliss, our worlds turned upside down, literally. (Get used to this. It will happen, often. Again and again.) Without knowing it, you were forced into this awkward situation that you had absolutely no control over.
You were prodded, probed, roughed up, and introduced to what was your journey here on Earth. Things got more peculiar by the second.
You were then placed into the arms of pure, unconditional love.
You didn’t have to do much. Most arms that held you, loved you. Everything you did was violently adorable. Even your poops and passing of gases got an Awww from spectators.
Fast forward two years, and you weren’t so cute anymore. You became a sticky, stinky, noise-making monster with diva tendencies the likes of Mariah Carey. Your moments of charm usually came when you were sleeping or humbled by the effects of germs zapping your uncontrollable energy.
You learned that things hurt. Boo-boos hurt, falling and hitting your head hurt, and having to share your toys hurt.
Life just kept happening to you. Your clothes shrank. Your feet kept growing past the stitches. You learned to formulate words and sentences. You learned to feed yourself, chew your food, and drink out of a straw.
You learned that shoveling food into and around your mouth was no longer acceptable; that a fork and a spoon were not instruments for your improvised musical experiments. You learned and you learned. You learned your ABCs, 1-2-3s, and how to say Thank you, You’re welcome, and Please.
Each day you showed signs of becoming a civilized creature (one can hope).
There was this unfolding; an understanding and revelation of knowledge. Learning felt more like remembering. New experiences had familiarity to them, like we’ve somehow been here before.
As a child, you said and did things that left the adults raising you baffled about how or where you learned such things.
Self-awareness sneaked in. We encountered intense feelings within ourselves that morphed as they shaped our realities and decisions. We were slowly placed into categories.
Labeled by ourselves or the world in an attempt to name the levels of assimilation or individuality (the latter discouraged in the midst of institutions and systems). We formed bonds, friendships, and attachments to other beings that were living parallel lives to us.
We learned that we are distinctively different in the details, yet carbon copies in the grander scheme of things.
If life came with an instruction manual, we would scroll down to the Terms and Conditions box and click Yes without reading the damn thing. I suppose this is why there wasn’t one to begin with.
We are creatures of trial and error. We have to feel the burn of a flame to know what someone meant when they said that it hurts. And so, we continued with our growing pains.
Our teenage years arrived with an onslaught of hormonal disarray, physical changes, and a surge of curiosity in others that made us want to be more than just friends. We suddenly got this urge to do things.
Things like hold hands, hug someone tightly, steal a kiss, and write love notes professing undying love and forevers at the age of 14. Those loves rarely lasted lifetimes, but the memory of them surely did.
No matter how pure or innocent they were, you learned that even love hurt. First heartbreaks could be considered manslaughter in the courts of law. Most heartbreaks should be, even if their severity weakens over time.
It’s a glitch in the Matrix to allow humans to feel so deeply for each other, especially in a world determined to create overstimulated ideals, then crucify you for a failure to meet the standard. We break, believing no one understands the depth of the wound. Oh, but they do!
Like so many grievances placed in our paths, the sadness of it is a universal language.
Aging by the second, our inner worlds stored catalogs of information that formed our identities. You grew, then shriveled up, wincing from the pain of survival. You learned that on the other side of that pain is triumph.
For every obstacle that made you feel like a frail human, there was a conquering of that moment when you realized it didn’t kill you. It didn’t break you as broken as you may have felt in the thick of it, and it shouldn’t stop you from moving into the next lesson waiting to make you more human.
A paradox that has no conclusion. None we have yet to discover, anyway. For every question, there are a hundred more. To live is to fail, and failure means you are doing. A continuous cycle into infinity.
Don’t you feel blessed with your own little corner of the world?