I wish I could write like this, but she says it better than I ever could. Sometimes life burns you to ashes, and sometimes it’s the best thing that could ever happen…this painting came to me when my world as I knew it completely quit making sense. Suddenly everything I thought was true turned upside down…I’m on fire…and dancing (sometimes crying) in the flames.
Girl on Fire ~ poem by Jeanette Leblanc (www.jeanetteleblanc.com)
there is a girl
she knows exactly how to rise again.
she is wise, and wary of flames, but still, she knows
she will survive the fire…life scorches sometimes.
she has been a phoenix before and every time
she burns to ashes
she carries destruction, grief carved river deep in her bones
specializes in wrecking ball, knows how to bring the whole thing down
surveys the broken, claims it as wholeness
and names it all good.
she knows well the holy necessity of beginning again.
she has gone mad for beauty
found rapture in shadows, calls poetry her religion
she seduces uncertainty like a dominatrix
bows to no god, names herself goddess
builds alters to the divinity of heat and sweat and sex
and claims righteous ownership of the body she has been given.
she once held her truth in bone marrow,
but she was always prone to fracture
learned that words flowed best at the broken spots
she wrote splinter point novellas, told shatter stories
knit words into worlds, and worlds into heat, and heat into breath
and breath into medicine, and she learned her voice
had the power to heal.
she lives transparent now
welcomes the feel of air on bare skin
throws arms wide, holds out her heart
and says here, take this, all of it…
she figured early that far too much energy
is invested in veiling truth
in hiding bodies
in cloaking love
she refuses to cultivate shame
she saves her effort for vital things.
she knows that love is expensive
and always worth the price
she knows home is not where she lives
but something inside held and sometimes only found by leaving
she knows that walls are imaginary and that open doors are everywhere
and that eventually we will all make our way back to the sea
back to the crashing waves back to salt water truth
she does not believe in one day
no happily ever after or black and white hard truths
her forever is now
she finds her rapture in the fullness of this moment
humanity is her only dogma, kindness her communion
and church a mountain top
in the center of the desert while the city pulses below
she speaks amen in every holy fragment of existence.
she always knew she’d have daughters, knew she would mother them well.
she teaches them the value of their outside voice, their no voice, their yes voice
their my entire being is a temple voice
she teaches them that their spirit is truth
and their truth is strength
and their strength is vulnerability, and their vulnerability is a gift.
she knows too many girls are broken before they become
she has done battle in the name of rebirth
carries her scars with fierce grace
she finds beauty in the breakdown and wholeness in the shatter
strength in the fault lines and goodness in everything.
she is not afraid to name her gifts
knows the magic in her words, knows the spiral in her hips
she has a vital spark at the center of her longing
she has secrets behind her eyes, and will share them with anyone who asks
but she only wants those who commit to asking.
she knows that compromise is for vocations
and that spirit is non-negotiable
she accepts no labels or limits
build her a box and she will dismantle it carefully
use the pieces to create a stage and sing her own wild song
knows there is a power in the melody we carry in our bones.
She knows the lotus blooms in mud
she knows the phoenix goes down in flames
she knows the rapture of lust and the escape of captivity
she knows the center of the paradox is where the truth is found.
she is full of sky, full of starshine, full of goddess flame
bleeds words, speaks truth, welcomes it all, howls at the moon
she is a girl on fire
she is stoking the flames, she is lighting the world, she is burning to ashes
And always she is rising
And rising again.
We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. Joseph Campbell