The Bear, Part 1
Death consumes me.
I am fighting a bear that is 1000x stronger, 1000x more vicious than me.
They tell me to be brave, to have hope, to take one moment at a time.
I believe the voices that say I am stronger than him.
I tell the bear and he laughs and grows 100 more teeth to rip at my flesh.
He stalks me while I do the things that show that I’m still alive – while I put on clean socks, while I brush my teeth, while I try to sleep.
My death would mean less to the bear than a mosquito does to a windshield.
I beg the bear for a merciful death, for release. I can’t remember why I try to flee from him.
He does not show mercy. While he hunts me I can no more choose to die than I can choose to live.
The Bear, Part 2
Who is this bear that stalks me at night when I am alone, when I am most exposed?
Perhaps he is chemicals and broken synapses in my brain. A hallucination caused by disordered biology. I swallow the pills that they tell me will tame him.
Or, he is a loud roar, no more of a threat than the rolling thunder at night. A desperate cry composed only of Fear. Like dark clouds dispersed by a strong wind, he is quieted to sleep by their assurance that dawn will come and Love will Win.
Or, he is a fragmented part of me, a distortion in a fun house mirror. I invite him in, so that both he and I can become more whole.
Or, he is the escape I hold on to when being alive means experiencing pain. The dark shadows projected against cave walls intensify the size and threat of the bear. I have rejected my own nourishment so that he can grow stronger. I have given him more power than he deserves. When I call for help, the Universe answers with Light to help me see.
The bear and the terror are real. The struggle and the wounded flesh and the monstrosity of feeling caught between life and death are real.
Yet, even as he hunts me, I sharpen my weapons. I find strength left like bread crumbs by those who have been chased by their own bears. I reach through the isolation; my community is my arrows. I scratch my words into rock faces; my voice is my spear.
I am hunted by him, but night by night I learn more of his secrets. For tonight, the bear and I will rest.
I am still alive. I can choose to live.