I am a tortoise. I am a gorilla living in a tortoise shell. My identity is entombed in fight, rage, fear and protection. I have fought all my life for my identity and I have become a great fighter. Bullies know that I am a fighter and leave me alone. I am five foot one but when I stand up to fight, you would think that I was bringing an army of a thousand.
I am a tortoise. I am a gorilla living in a tortoise shell. And I am tired. The shell is hard and it is heavy. It's hard to live with a heightened sense of war on a daily basis. It is not sustainable. It is not sustainable for me.
My war was this: I was fighting back people who hated me as a women; fighting back people who didn't want me to be smart: fighting back people who wanted me to be quiet and submissive, fighting back people who wanted sameness and not standing out. Fighting was a way of living. Being angry meant that I was alive.
I do not want to fight any more. I do not want to be angry as a default. I chose my partner in life so that I could learn how to live with peace. But it is like a general who has only seen war being asked to go into retirement. A general who has only known battle to live in peace. The general is being asked to put down her gun, her armor, her machete, her weapons of mass destruction. The general is bewildered at this abandonment. The general is worried. The general thinks that I will die. So the general is scheming up a coup. For my benefit. So that I will not die. The general whispers in my ear: you are going to die if you put down your armor. Your armor is already down, so you will die at any minute.
I am in the stages of mutation. Or transformation. Change can be scary and sometimes it can hurt. But I am learning how to live for the rest of my life. I cannot live as a warrior anymore. I cannot keep looking out for possible threats and bombs and hostile forced entries. And even though I want to crawl into a hole and die, I know that that day too will come. All I have is today and this moment.
I think about what animal I want to be next. Maybe a bird. Light, flight and sky. Not too bad.