Who am I when it all falls apart?
When the solidity of my structures begin to fold?
When the ground opens up beneath my feet and swallows me and my reality whole?
Who am I when I stand without title or role? Without their adoration or limits, their names or control?
Gone the robes of academic achievements, my bio and CV. No colours of my national flag to adorn or protect me.
Who am I without my family – no lover, parents, children, friends – to mark my place?
Without their reference in time and memory, do I, do we, disappear without a trace?
Who am I without my story, my hurtful experiences, my life of joy and pain?
The measuring of highs and lows, of happiness, of loss and gain?
What have I left to offer to myself or to you, without these tales, these historical myths, made true?
Who am I when I am crumpled, down upon my knees?
Blindly flailing, searching through the fallout, the debris.
Lost, confused and all alone, bereft of all I thought I was, I had, I owned.
Who am I buried beneath the weight of expectation – both yours and mine? Grasping at the remains of a hope-filled time.
Terrified of reprisal, rejection and rebuke, drowning in compromise, avoidance and disputes.
Who am I stripped and naked, standing bare, upright, alone? Your gaze unflinching, silent, meeting mine, my soul exposed.
Witnessing what remains of me, the scraps that are left behind,
as I shiver and I bleed, I have nothing left to hide.
I don’t know who I am
But I do know I am here.
Learning. Humble. Open.
Live, I will.
And though darkness enfolds and shatters me with pain.
My heart knows that endings are not the end
that my spirit will, remain.
(C) Chandu Bickford
Artist Credit – Seth Havercamp