“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody else expects of you.
Never excuse yourself. Never pity yourself. Be a hard master to yourself-and be lenient to everybody else.”
- Marpenoth 1363, Impiltur
The bittersweet twist about pain is that you eventually forget the details of how the wounds themselves felt, but the blessing is counter-acted by the lingering memories that accompany them. The screaming and the tears, the powerlessness, they never fail to disarm you even decades later when you’ve finally found stability and you are engorged in a very pleasant moment that is – or should be – perfect in every way. Suddenly the lush garden you contemplate sees its expressive and awe-inspiring blossoms of greens, blues and reds transform into the dark and muted colors of winter to wither and die; then silence. And the accusatory wistful sighs from the people around you whose moods are tainted by the spoiled landscape you created. Then comes the judgement in their eyes; “How can you always be so grim?” “Why is it so hard to make you smile?”
I suppose I’m not a sociable person – nor a person at all, but it was of my own doing. My own magnum opus: overcoming every limitation that comes with the human condition. The need for safety, for comfort, for love, for dreams, for friendship, for freedom, for every desire that is normal and expected of a human being. I obliterated all of it on my own terms so it could not be used against me. I committed spiritual suicide, and all that I am left is solitude and suffering, immobilized in an immaculate glacier of sheer will. The price of survival is steep, but it is how I won. Nathaniel expressed that he saw it as a hollow victory, that if abandoning everything that made you who you are was necessary to survive, perhaps it was not worth it at all.
When wrestling with Death, it is sometimes better to endure its punishment and wait for it to leave before rising to your feet. If the body dies then nothing ties you to this world anymore, but if the spirit dies, you can at least hold onto the void you have and allow yourself the opportunity to one day be reborn.
I know not whether that makes me weak or strong nor if I will ever truly live again, but now that I exist outside the natural boundaries of human existence, I have found a purpose higher than myself.
I cannot be deceived.
I cannot be corrupted.
I cannot be chained.
I cannot be broken.
And I will not sigh my relief until the winter ends.