“The Lord of Dreams learns that one must change or die, and makes his decision”
Author Neil Gaiman was once asked to summarize his Sandman series in one sentence, and this was the sentence he gave. That sentence has haunted me since the day I read it. It has become a form of compass for me these past twenty-two months, and has also been a constant kick in the ass when needed.
I am a bit of an unusual case. That whole question of “why am I here?” does not apply to me in the exact same way it applies to others – I am somewhat of a walk-in. For those unfamiliar with the term, it means that I came into this body at a later date rather than being born directly into it and set there my whole life. It is more complicated and much blurrier than that for me, but it gives you an idea.
I chose to be here, just shy of two years ago, to be with my love whom I met beforehand when I was not in my body. Everything in my life right now has been due to very conscious choices and decisions. And even when it seemed I had no choice whatsoever, there always was one. I could choose to fight against rather than move with my path.
I spent the bulk of my time here doing that. Resisting change even though it was what I craved, because my life before was slowly killing me. When push came to shove, I still changed: dropping out of school, gaining and losing employment, coming out to my biological family, moving halfway across the country. With each change, I was moved a step away from death, and at some point along the way, I actually started to want to live – something I had never felt before.
The existentialist in me still holds fast to the idea that there is always choice. I am godowned, a godspouse, and on a path that I did not create. If I stray from the path, I have entities that will (usually painfully) get me back on target. My life is not my own. The choices I get to make are not actions so much as attitudes. I chose change when I came here; death is no longer an option. Now the choice I am met with is whether I embrace the change and move along the path willingly, or resist and fight.
I used to think resistance was the only way to go if I wanted to still be strong and wild. But the past two or three months, I have learned it is the opposite. I used to be the oak tree, holding up against the wind so strongly that I broke instead, stationary and still. But now I am a reed, whipping and bending amidst the wind in a frenzied dance that only makes sense to other reeds.
So when I think I have no choice or I feel lost and trapped, I remember: change or die. And I take one more step forward.