I typed that to my friend following his admonishment that I "be careful" before I climbed a mountain yesterday. I've heard that a lot in my life, as most women do; vulnerable in all the ways you don't need me to explain. I've written about the act of "going alone" before. Even when it is to a place where there might be danger. Which it seems, in today's world, is now - everywhere. After I typed that statement, startled, I realized it was true. I AM ready to die, and the words left my fingers before they'd been fully recognized by my brain.
I have no regrets about anything that I have done or left undone in these 36 years. I have learned the hard way to walk with my arms out to the world, to the people in her, to the emotions that may overwhelm me, to the adventures that cry out to my spirit that I go go go and see and taste and touch and hear. There is nothing to lament if I've gone. I've taught my girls well. I've loved as many as I could find. I've laughed every single laugh and not stifled a single one in my throat.
So. To the would-be terrorist who plans to detonate when I am at the movies with my children. And the sniper who plans to shoot into the crowded festival full of the evil "them". And the police officer who will tazer me into a fatal coma at a protest. And the sicko lurking in the woods while I hike, waiting to do those things that you do.
You can have me.
But you know what? You don't win. I won. I won because I refused to buy a pistol or carry pepper spray. Because I didn't stay home while the glorious world spun dizzyingly around me. Because despite constant threat I will go to school, with all the potentially murderous and disgruntled young men, and go to a concert with it's blasphemous music, and protest injustice without anxiety of being trampled or beaten, and live alone in the city because I prefer it. Because I refuse to let you stop me from living my life while I have it. Because to live fearlessly and with joy is a subversive act in a terrifying and unpredictable world. And with I, and you, and everyone else as fragile as china dolls, some even see it as foolish. But I will not be afraid. Because if you let fear rule your life, you may as well be dead anyway.
There is a 100% mortality rate, so why aren't you running like you are on fire towards what you want? I am. Lord, let my time come when I am 95. But if it's tomorrow,
bring it on.