Learning to Fight

The importance of stillness is lost on me as a I shimmy through the motions of a day, saying yes to everything, picking up forgotten meetings and chores that have fallen out of my full calendar. As the hours pass, I repeat “I’m writing, I’m writing…” over and over again to make myself believe I’m writing. But the phrase is vapid. No one believes me. I barely believe myself. Though you know I try.

In my desire to arrive at some financial or acclaimed destination my eye never settles in the blur the pace of my feet make of the world. All signs say, welcome to the potential New York City. But not the inevitable one. Certainly, there are a scant few people who can say that New York doesn’t blur them. I aspire to be these people (I also don’t believe that it has to do with class or money). I think has to do with a mindset.

I came to this city with a dream to write for Nylon, or Bust, or some other trendy, fun magazine. But I couldn’t get myself to just apply to the internships. They seemed petty, and I had too much pride. I was a Writer. I would weave winding pieces about death and dying and anxiety and nostalgia that could put the most avid reader to sleep. I sent these pieces to the editors being like, “I want to write about people who make graffiti in the walls of the subway tunnels. I want to write about how going to Union Square gives me an anxiety attack.” And so on. So, of course they never wrote back. I’m a dark bitch, who couldn’t accept that her dreams were not the substance of anemic pieces on the importance of a pair of shoes. Am I negging right now, Nylon?

Sometimes my ambitions seem to cover this city like the underbelly of a phoenix, so brilliant that I would swear this place was made of gold. Other times I wonder if someone pitched me my dream once and I bought it. Clouds are not formed by skeletons. There is nothing to a dream but the stories of the mind and refractions of light.

For the first time the question was posed to me: What will you fight for?

We sat at a white table stained with red acrylic paint. My elbows were sprawled out, fist on my chin, comfortable and sleepy. I said I didn’t think that fighting was the path to where I wanted to get. My interviewer seemed a bit taken aback and explained the story of her parents. How they fought. How, in their case, they fought to survive.

I left feeling unsettled. How did my mother fight? My grandmothers fought. The times that I fought when the break of day ambushed a good amount of hubris I had about the calculations of my bank account or a inclinations of a lover.

If you’re not playing you’re not paying attention. If you’re not in your body someone else will be. If anything, fight for the vessel that is yours for now.

Her voice crept inside me. Where is your fight? Where is your salt? Where does it boil inside? That’s the way. You know you are as bloodthirsty as the person next to you. It’s only natural.

In my dream a line of people said what they liked in sex, and what they liked in a partnership. I said I liked to feel the sweat. I liked to feel like I am working for something. Fighting doesn’t have to be hateful. Fighting can create place, can create boundaries, can be a form of exploration. Is growth. How else does a bud brace against the cold spring wind?

This is for you, Bust, Nylon, this is for all who taught me that I must fight, not only for my own writing, my own dreams that transform like clouds, but for the dreams of others, who are growing, who are defining their world. Who are building their strength. Who are not readily heard. We must fight for our voices, and not in a hateful way. But we must fight.