If I stood on my own, truly alone, would I be aware of the silent contracts I made to be someone for each someone in my circular life? If I were alone, really alone, what parts of me would stay and which would leave, dissolved in the altitude of not having to stay the same for someone, anyone else.

I am familiar with my agreements to belong, the shades of painted grey when my mind was washed in reds, oranges, blues. Colors that didn’t go together, so could not be shown together, it wasn’t the way, it didn’t match, they didn’t go.

I know when I let the very first red burst feather be brushed from my hair I could have said, no, no I meant that there. I know that when my hand reached to catch the blue beaded wish, and stopped, halfway, desperate, that the next time my hand felt heavier, less likely to reach for something too brilliant to hold.

I know that if I were alone, so very alone, I would remember this is why I allowed my selves to spin charcoal, reflected in the fire of all the others dancing wants. Because the dullness of it felt like the smallest price for the togethered warmth of it. The trouble was, the trouble is, I remained cold and forever apologizing.

I alone can be alone, need to be alone, should be alone. Connected, surrounded, loving and sure, I could braid my hair, feet dangling in the rivers of my own old wildness, dressing myself in the colors that don’t go together, don’t match, but blend perfectly for me.

Once, before I knew I couldn’t choose what moved me, I wore bright purple and green runners for school, then after taunts and questions I told my mum I needed something new, something white and quiet. She, even then, was not one to back down to anyones ‘they’; she was a teacher in a sister school and told her class the story about the lone girl trying to hide the colors she didn’t believe she deserved anymore. At a soccer game soon after, one of her students yelled across the field I was playing on, ‘I LIKE YOUR SHOES’, her bold and strident kindness a bell I can still hear. I wore the shoes all year and never again, until now.

The grays chosen for me, by me, reflected me, kept me medicated against the nature of my odd whimsical ways. They were not mine, never mine, and returning them back to who owned them was unnecessary, suddenly blown off by the winds of my standing tall just once against the stainless steel of them. Yelling across the field to anyone who will listen, leaning forward to cheer something on besides the game we are all playing.

When I am alone is the time I truly belong. All of us, collectively, on our own, together, not apologizing.

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