Fire at once defies and dispels darkness. It defines, destroys and regenerates. I tampered with it. Tried to suppress and tame it, the fire within me, my essence, until to survive, I had to light it up and let it burn.
Forests were once refreshed by fire. The touch of flames germinated pine cone seeds, transformed nutrient sucking brush to nitrogen and winnowed the weak trees that drained enough resources to endanger the strength of the forest. Smokey the Bear manipulated nature. Suffocated the nature of fire. After a century of suppression, fires now burn the entire forest to the ground. Redefine the landscape, turn the terrain over to erosion and eradication. We messed with fire. To behave, to be what others expected of me, I suppressed, smothered the fire within me.
The strength for regeneration by fire came to me when I left my husband of forty-seven years. Married at seventeen, it was the first time I faced the nights alone, uncoupled, and the darkness echoed regrets of my past. Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” carried me through many nights that carried my voice, meant only for my singular audience, when I belted out the lyrics along with her.
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My powers turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.
I had to believe I was worth fighting for. Ignite the fire inside me. The ability to burn bright and free, even alone. The chorus to the song resonated with me.
I may only have one match
But I can make an explosion.
Boy, did I ever make an explosion the night I walked out. For me, striking a match symbolizes action. Stand up. Walk out. Light my own fire. A regenerating one that both warmed me and germinated the fight inside me I’d smothered most of my adult life. Today, that fire inside me burns bright. Lights my way. Warms my heart.
Whatever your circumstances, you can ignite or reignite the fire inside you. Feel the warmth. Let the blaze light your way. Fuel you. Cut your path to the life you deserve, not the one you’ve settled for or suppressed, thinking you were saving the forest, when in fact, letting it grow out of control threatens to turn it into an all or nothing blaze of destruction. Dysfunction flourishes when it’s allowed to grow out of control, unchecked. The fire Marshalls call this kind of blaze a stand replacement fire.
I gravitated to the words stand and replacement. My old life was going up in flames. It was past damned time. I may only be or have one match, but it was enough to cause an explosion. I walked away, ablaze with determination. And so, began germination of the seed that led me to write, LEAVING YOU…for me. The end of my old life, yet the regeneration and beginning of beginning again. Fresh. New. Free.