Freedom. To most, it is an idea. An abstract thought that pertains to control. That’s not freedom. That’s independence. Freedom is riding wild over untamed land with no notion any moment exists beyond the one you are living.
To import the traditions of the place you fled, the place that failed you, is to condemn the place you seek with the same failures.
There is no Heaven to go to, because we’re in it already. We’re in hell, too. They coexist. Right beside each other. And God is the land.
I think cities have weakened us, as a species. Mistakes have no consequences there. Step into the road without looking and the carriage merely stops or swerves. The only consequence, an angry driver. But here, there can be no mistakes. Because here doesn’t care. The river doesn’t care if you can swim. The snake doesn’t care how much you love your children, and the wolf has no interest in your dreams. If you fail to beat the current, you will drown. If you get too close, you will be bitten. If you are too weak, you will be eaten.
There is nowhere to chain love to vows and ceremony. Out here, love burns through you like a fever. And when the devil comes to rip that love from you, there is no funeral with somber speeches that dull our senses and deaden our hearts. Out here, you turn toward the pain as it tears into you, and you let it. When you do, the devil gets bored. He seeks another soul to eat. And you get to live again.
I remember the first time I saw it. Tried to find words to describe it, but I couldn’t. Nothing had prepared me, no books, no teachers, not even my parents. I heard a thousand stories but none could describe this place. It must be witnessed to be understood. And yet, I’ve seen it, and understand it even less than before I first cast eyes on this place. Some call it the American Desert, others, the Great Plains. But those phrases were invented by professors at universities surrounded by the illusion of order and the fantasy of right and wrong. To know it, you must walk it. Bleed into its dirt. Drown in its rivers. Then its name becomes clear. It is hell, and there are demons everywhere. But if this is hell, and I’m in it, then I must be a demon too. And I’m already dead.
The world doesn’t care if you die. It won’t listen to your screams. If you bleed on the ground, the ground will drink it. It doesn’t care that you’re cut.
There is a moment where your dreams and your memories merge together, and form a perfect world. That is Heaven. And each Heaven is unique. It is the world of you. The land is filled with all you hold dear and the sky is your imagination.
What is death? What is this thing we all share? Rabbits, birds, horses, trees, everyone I love and everyone who loves me. Even stars die, and we know absolutely nothing of it.
To survive the frontier, you must learn to recognize those who won’t. And be weary of their doomed decisions. They are to be avoided at all costs, because their fear is tragedy’s closest cousin. And tragedy is contagious in this place.
The dress felt like a prison built just for me, choking me by the neck. Digging into my underarms. Flattening my breasts against my rib cage. It disguises everything that makes me a woman from the glare of jealous women and rapacious men. As if their lack of self-esteem or will power should be my only concern. I will never live in that world again where the weak would rather guilt the strong than become strong themselves. No, I will stay in this world. This world doesn’t care what the weak want. This world eats the weak.