by Valerie Wittman
Who are you really? I don't mean your name or where you're from. And I don't want some condensed list of self-described personality traits. You cannot attempt to sum up the complexities of any human being with just one or even twenty adjectives. Tell me about the real You. The You that surfaces when no one’s watching. When the sky melts to black and shadows can’t tiptoe across the pavement. What mulish thoughts are rattling around in the cages of your mind? Do you ever feel hopelessly alone amongst the stale clutter of a sardine-packed room? Do you question your very existence and find yourself baffled at the thought of us floating on this rotating orb somewhere in the abyss? And what about the stars? Do they humbly remind you just how small you are in comparison to their infinite wonder? Or, do you sense an inexplicable connection? I want to know the questions that sear your core. Do you sometimes feel like an anomaly unworthy of the love you crave? Or is your face the last to be cropped from the portrait? Do you ever find yourself teetering over the brink of destruction and choose to witness your own demise? Or do you find your way out of the debris without a scratch on you every time? Where is it you wander when your spirit yearns to be lost? Does it look for itself in faraway lands with tribes of people who look and speak nothing like you? Or perhaps it seeks the warm comfort of a suburban home and a dopey golden retriever. Does your heart throb achingly for a timeless romance? Or is it too timid to give itself away? What would your younger self think of you right now? Would a time machine tempt you to unravel your destiny and weave it into something else? Or would you keep your story exactly the same? I want to know what ignites your fire. What makes your hair stand up. What happens to the whole of you when the fragile foundation of your universe collapses. Do you scramble for the pieces? Try and reassemble a pretty picture? Or do you let it be? If you only had a year left to live would you start living differently? Would you trade the familiar montage of copy machines and cubicles for the unknown? If I asked you what purpose beckons your soul with a gravitational force, could you tell me without hesitation? Or do you splatter your colors across a blank canvas hoping to have made something worth noticing? I want to know You. The real You. So tell me. Who are You? Or did you not think to ask yourself?