Originally written 08/05/14, from Orange County Jail
On days like this, I miss the moon. She’s been my personal guide for as long as I can remember.
In my youth, my small hands would pretend to hold her. I’d sit by the windows— palms bowled together— and whisper my secrets into her glow. As a teenager, I’d hunch in the backseat of cars, silently sharing all my thoughts with the bright orb as she followed me down long highways and gravel roads. She has always had a way of magnifying my gratitudes and shining perspective on my strife. “It is what it is,” she would smile to me, until her light became mine, and my fears became triumphs.
They took away my moon and today I miss her more than ever.
I am disappointed because change didn’t come when I called for it. I planned, and waited, but change didn’t show up. Now I feel stuck— tarred by the moment, feathered by the idiocy of the idea that I had any control of Fortuna’s wheel. I feel more trapped by circumstance than when they put me in a cell, and more paused than when they took away time itself. I can see the next part of my journey but the road from here to there is gated, and until that gate opens, I can do nothing but wait. Plans are meaningless to change, as is disappointment.
Change moves as, and when, it wants and does not care.
My moon would care, though. If I could see her and whisper the secret of my heart to her, she would soothe it. She would light my journey with her warm glow, and it would remind me of the sanctity of this present moment. She would tell me that planning for change is a skill, waiting patiently for it is a virtue, but embracing the moment is a joy. She would urge me to see joy. She would show me how happiness was scattered at my feet while I clutched at disappointment— like a little girl crying over a chunk of coal while sitting in a pool of diamonds.
In time, that coal will sparkle as brightly, but there is no sense in lamenting over what it is today. It simply is what it is.
In my mind, I know all this—but the seed of rational thought only seem to survive the tangles of hurt and fear in my head when they are allowed to bask in moonlight. I feel the comfort struggling to make itself known as I lay on my bunk, staring at the cold cement walls.
Then, one of the girls in my room disrupts my thoughts. She is as trapped as I am, and so we are sisters of fate. She asks someone if they want to learn to say something in Spanish, and when a new girl agrees, I smile because I know what’s coming.
“Spell socks,” she says.
Anticipating a practical joke, the would-be Spanish speaker hesitantly says, “S.O.C.K.S?” And we all laugh. It sounds like Eso si que es. In Spanish, she has said something that doesn’t really translate directly, but basically means– “It is what it is.”
And there, in the warmth of laughter, the sparkle of wit and the light of sisterhood– I see my moon.
Even in here, where I am locked away from the most celestial of sights, she has found a way to lend me her insights.
Tomorrow I might find myself sobbing over coal, but tonight— tonight I will laugh at the wonder of its mere existence, and give gratitude to the diamonds who laugh and sparkle in the bunks around me. Tonight, I will sleep peacefully because, though I have no control of fate, I am not alone.
I am surrounded by sisters, and my moon is still following me—healing my hurt—shining her light through them, into me.
Dedicated to: Silvia Velez and Alissa Sandoval.
Some of y’all probably read this on the first go-around, but I’m reviving posts one at a time. Some were turned to drafts instead of being made private, so re-posting is the only option – s.o.c.k.s, right?
I hope you’ve been stocking up on moonlight lately.
You’d be surprised how long it keeps.