to all the smart girls that do stupid things
There is a song that goes: burn your fire for no witness. We don't know when that fire started burning us. We don’t know where we are either and there is only one place to look: we go over our bodies inch by inch, through skin, bones and the soft tissue; through all the coordinates of harm and inner silences. And then, among the noise of the countries that take us in. We do not know anything about the origins of the flames and how to stop them, but we practise visceral realism and listen to the sound of matches scratching the surface of things, starting a fire. Any fire.
'Home' - the pieces should fit in, but it never completely happens. There is something in the grandfather's eyes that talks about another time, about a pulled out root, perhaps about a loss, almost always about a war. Something missing that would be confirmed later in specific words: mass graves, hunger, dictatorships. Maybe it was all already written on his freckled arms, but almost from the very start the girl knows about that imbalance for which there is no name in human vocabulary. And there also was an animal certainty that exploration would be necessary and that answers would not be found in the known places, not even in the arms that seemed to be destined for us.
Being a smart girl has never been enough and neither does beauty guarantee anything similar to a triumph or an arrival: loving yourself requires an appropriation of the body that runs from the doors inwards. Strikes of luck also leave scars, let's not forget that: what works in our life too soon, be it success, be it returned love, be it commitment and contract, also leave a scar. And the unconditional certainties, the 'forevers', are carried away by the wind of betrayals, of human inconsistencies, of the cracks that respect and truth escape through. You lose your floor, your roof; you lose your will. Only your body resists an expropriation of all that seemed to be a life.
Whether to abuse itself, to punish itself for the abandonments, to understand why life weighs so much, why one skin is no longer enough, the body withstands. It is the canvas and it is the brush. Sometimes it is a sharp brush that cuts and scratches; sometimes the brush can be a dagger to carve with, but you have to be careful.
It goes like this,
one day, too soon, something breaks our heart. No, to be more exact: something uproots our heart. It throws us to the ground and leaves us there, in our loss. In the most absolute darkness we remember why we have to open a window again. It is them and for them, all the women in our life, all the good man – the ones that can use their arms to hug- all that strength we have and that wouldn't forgive us our resignation. Even if we have lost trust in what gave sense to our life, we still feel curiosity.
You don't stop being a smart girl, although smart girls sometimes do themselves a lot of harm. That is also why they know, they learn when they have to move, leave a room and open a continent. They know when to arrive in a country there are no prospects for, although moving doesn't imply a complete detachment from everything that traps us. That's how you arrive in Cambodia: stones on your back, reminders on your wrists, a void in your chest and an uncertainty about the presence of bamboo in that red and green pond, so close to the Equator.
A red line.
One day you walk along a beach on the southeast edge of the world. The sun is orange and it stands out like a segment of fruit against a sky that, at times, can be fuchsia. All this beauty settles upon your shoulders, it rests in new drawings, chosen scars, in black ink that reminds us what we have always known, what we don't want to forget. The stones slide down our spine as if they were going down the Mekong. And we look at the light from the marks that darkness left for us, a darkness we have made friends with and that we are still learning to tame. We realise something obvious: we can understand the light because we have walked blindly. And it was all necessary, it still is, so that the present could be worthwhile.
You can arrive in Cambodia with your heart in your fist rather than your chest. It will take time to put it back, adjust it in its throne of ribs, under new skin. Leave it ready for proper love, leave it ready for yellow winds and for choosing your own life, beyond surviving.
Burn your fire for no witness, first of all. Although another song also says things we need the most they seem to take a little longer.
Choose the place of possibility, if you want
if you can.