It’s hard to write about the poems in the third chapter of blinks of awe, th’ Lost & Young, without getting lost in thought about the people who inspired them. One endured one of the ghastliest things anyone could experience and went on to rebuild and build. Another isn’t here anymore. Another is still growing up so it’s too early to judge the effects of her youth.
Being young is fascinating because of the moments when we start to lose it. The adult world doesn’t wait until you’re old enough or strong enough, mentally or physically, before it pulls you in. No kids make it out of adolescence whole. They walk with young scars, whether badges of survival or self-inflicted. No one asks you to grow up. Time rolls on, and the world puts you in that difficult position.
Losing youth defines the adult you’ll be. The early divides in my family haunted me long past childhood until I confronted them and came to accept a new reality. I wanted there to be villains to blame and wrongs to right. But that’s a child’s reaction to injustice in the world. Who is wrong? Who deserves blame and punishment and a visit from the Batman? I let that tension define me for years. It took patience, reflection, openness, years of conversation, and the intervention of new people who cared for me to move past it. Unfortunately, a kid lacks those luxuries when he wakes up on the first of June to half a home.
A complete family and home can seem flawless from the outside while being a place of absolute poison. The people meant to protect you and guide you into adulthood can be the greatest detractors from you getting there with your sanity intact. And when you need their support the most, they can choose not to believe you and leave you to fend for yourself, for good. Nearly every time I think about the person who inspired Rebuild & build, I’m left in a proud awe of the strength it took for my friend to make it.
But not everyone does. Maybe we’re all new at this life thing for as long as we’re here. That’s how I try to justify one of my childhood friends committing suicide. We fail at plenty of things, why not life? I don’t mean squandering your time because as long as you’re here, you can change. The permanence and sheer finality and totality of death seems impossible to fully grasp. There’s a theory that says we spend our lives denying death and that our very civilization is a defense mechanism against our mortality. But no matter what I read, how I approach it, or what I do, I’m still struggling to accept that someone I knew could choose to no longer be.