FIREFLIES – A Tribute to My Group and Graduation

Contributed by: Tara Grant

I learned too early how to fly. Recoiling from the pain, I closed my eyes and flew far above the world. The eyes of the little girl who stayed behind, they never belonged anywhere.

The first time I opened my eyes, so young and fragile, I searched for her but all that was left was an empty room. I closed my eyes and flew away.

The next time I opened my eyes, I reached out for my only hope, a shell of a man left behind, a pile of despair. My eyes sought his, but they were distant, unreachable. My eyes begged for answers, why did she leave us, why did she kill him. He is all I have and I don’t know where else to belong.

The pain comes again, I close my eyes into darkness for what seems like a hundred years. In the distance, there is a faint light. I follow it and I fly far away. Far, far away from the world that only creates pain. I belong in this darkness, I beg to stay forever. But I am getting closer to the light, and it pulls me in, grabs me, throws me to the ground.

“Look at me”. My eyes looked up to meet hers. I will never forget the fire in her eyes, the one who replaced her. I must have been bad again. My eyes dropped to the ground, where they belonged.

I recoil in pain, every time I open my eyes. Every time I look around, all the horrors of this world. If only I could tear my eyes out to stop the pain. Instead, I fly away.

I learned from him, the shell of a man. I learned how to pretend, but never to belong to the pain. My eyes, the only clue I was still here. Catatonically watching the world, flies would collect around my lifeless body. One landed, and I knew I was alive when I felt his tiny legs stepping delicately on my skin. I watched him lift his legs to clean his massive eye. Flies have compound eyes, I remember reading somewhere. Just tiny eyes upon eyes upon eyes. He must see everything. How do you withstand seeing all the horror and pain of the world? I reach out to touch him. He flies away.

I close my eyes again and years pass. I watch the little girl I left behind, she never belonged anywhere, she never cared either, she was just a shell.

The first time I wanted to belong, my eyes betrayed me. They told me, you’ll never belong, and looked away. The second and third were no different. They said goodbye and closed. The pain I felt now was caused by my own eyes.

This pain was inescapable. I wanted to be here, I wanted to connect, I no longer wanted to fly away. I had a son who needed my eyes to stay.

My eyes led me here, to my group in Radical Aliveness. Even when I didn’t want to belong, didn’t know how to, my group stayed with me. Module after module, my eyes looked away, tried to close, tried to fly away.  But every time they brought me back, and looking into their eyes, I felt safe. I showed them my pain and they held me. I knew then, this must be what it feels like to belong. Finally, I found a place to belong. My eyes agreed. Looking through their eyes, I saw my hope, my potential, and my own light staring back at me.

I was supposed to stand with my group this module, graduate and celebrate our 2 years together. I’m not sure whether my busy life, my resistance, or my old wound, got in the way of me attending this last module of the year. But either way, it felt natural, all too familiar, I never belonged anyways. I was flying away and my eyes told me I didn’t deserve to belong. This wound so deep, I listened and pushed them all away. While everyone was together at the module, without me, I closed my eyes, once again. I was plunged into darkness, the only place I ever belonged.

It is dark, it brings back memories of the warm summer nights of my childhood. I would run through the tall blades of grass while the last of the sun peeked out through the horizon. In the dark sky, there are no flies left here. They cannot see even with their compound eyes. There is nothing here to help me remember I am still alive.

A flash of light buzzes past me, and I notice in the distance, a small, faint light. As I move closer, I see the horizon in front of me is filled with tiny specs of light. Another tribe of flies, those meant for darkness are flying around my head. Off and on their tiny lights flash with hope. I know who they they are, they are my tribe, and they have come to help me remember I am alive.

My fireflies, my tribe. Together we fly, as a group, lighting up the night skies. No matter how many miles away, I still belong, forever, to my tribe. I couldn’t make it to this module, but I feel their transformations from, as if they were my own. We graduated and celebrated together, even though I was far away.

Dear fireflies, thank you for flying with me these last 2 years and showing me, for the first time, how to belong. Together, we learned how to see in the dark, and how it feels to really be alive. 

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2 Responses to Fireflies – A Year in the Life of a 2nd Year Student

  1. Marilyn Torres says:

    Dear Tara Fire Fly –

    Thank you for such a beautiful letter. It was a pleasure to fly with you. Dare I say that it’s only the beginning. Once you find your tribe there’s no going back. We all have each other now. I love you and your little girl to the moon and back.

    Love,

    Marilyn Fire Fly

  2. Gretchen Hinojosa says:

    Dear Tara,
    I am so touched by this…it makes me cry. I missed you last module and I so hope you’re coming back next year. Have a beautiful summer, dear one.
    Love, Gretchen

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