I fit in well, yet I will never belong. I adhere to structure and discipline, yet my home is built upon chaos. I know how to love and what it is to be loved, yet all forms of this sensation remain trapped in an ever-shifting caleidoscope. I walk in the footsteps of others with delicate ease, yet I loathe the day I set foot upon the trail with each passing step. I know what it is to discover priceless monuments of sanctuary, yet by each new dawn my heart yearns to conquer another unattainable landmark, shifting its stance across the horizon like a mirage trapping a siren's call. These words hold true for us all.

We all know the abstraction of walking as unanswerable riddles on two feet in a world of answers, wrapped in gowns of pre-filled questionnaires and squeezing ourselves through strict, unforgiving molds while the ironclad ink of accountability dries upon our sensitive skin; and we are worse for it, day by day. And we suffer because of it and suffer great pains to attain it, day by day. Our obstructions number in the infinities, and they are all man-made monoliths we've ironically enough placed ourselves to guide our collective focus.

Herein lies the puzzle I face each morning, noon and night. I watch passers-by watch me, lend an ear to their commentary, letting their staunch bewilderment glaze over their eyes like dawn's first light tingling upon frozen waters, then react with straight lip and clenched jaw. To friend or stranger I owe no explanation, my mind declares, and my heart concurs. A novel reaction, I know - and dangerous. The imp of the perverse, as it were. There is so much room for exposition, so wide a pathway towards clarity and the forging of new bonds of communion. Enlightenment, even! But I am not a puppet, chauffeur or orderly. An occasional, happenstance leader by default. Not a guide.

Yet the question remains. Its answer - if there is such a thing - aloft and joyfully elusive. Am I nothing but a self-strung marionette upon a stage of my own making, pulling at my own ropes and winding up the broken music box again and again and again for all with a thought, a minute and a penny to spare? Perhaps so, but at the very least my strings remain untethered, the song flows through the air uninhibited and the stage is my own handywork. That accounts for something. It has to.

What a specimen I must make. The winged monkey, led to center stage by cuff & chain and met with sounds of awe, yet by nightfall nothing more than an ape in a cage. At least the cage is my own. So I fly around my enclosure, gnaw at the scraps I'm given and watch spectators enter and exit my abode none the wiser through each encounter. I watch them place rectangular shapes in front of me, then cylindrical, and so on. I do not fit, which is a given of course, but they continue the endeavor. But I don't fit. Of course I don't fit. Do they? Does anyone?

Admittedly, it is no more than pride fanning the flames of these tirades I entertain within. I can withstand few things worse than the incessant, obtuse perseverance with which some elect to drive the heart, soul and flow of another into a neat little box to service their own disassociation from the scolarship of depth, as to fit the construct of humanity gazing back at them into their constrained mental collection of neat little boxes. No one ever fits, so some things must be clipped off. What you leave severed upon the floor is a choice you're given freedom to carry out in whatever bloody act you choose. Quite the priviledge, don't you think?

We peer into the depths of one another with shears and scythes in hand, the call of the norm ringing in our ears as a deafening wall of white noise, ready to dislodge artistry from reason and sight from vision to service our own needs as one-eyed insects racing towards the top of the anthill we so scarcely and sparsely understand. Our eyes would burn through so many obstructions if we only allowed them the chance to peer into the ether without our own hands as shields in between.

Dress the aura of another in heavy chains and feel the weight press down on your own ability to fly like an iron anchor. The strangling hands of convention are universally indiscriminate in their grip unless you simply deny them your throat. Yet so many - so many - grant them access. We are so quick to dip our drive, desires and even our spirituality in the tar of structure to render our aspirations flightless and stilted. All things must adhere to dogma and rulesets, lest we all fall into a maelstrom of waterlines and discovery. It makes me sad. We are capable of so much more.

Every poor wretch under the sun owes a hefty purse of blood to every other poor sod in their sight, if for nothing more than for the solemn oath we've all taken upon the altar of compromise. None of us peer at one another without the bars of the cage obstructing our view. We search for common ground and end up constructing prisons in our minds. Prisons for neat little boxes. As gatekeepers and wardens we are amazingly steadfast; as escapees mere amateurs.

The struggle of the civilized world is to walk as a shadow in a land of shadows, but the quest itself is a disservice to every hope and dream we harbor. A blade pressed upon our ankles. Chains cackling in the dark, beckoning us to wear them for safety and parade them as jewellery.

Our gift of strife is to remain evermore challenged and hunted by the rays of light devouring all stowaways upon the vessel of life, burning away all recollection of the unremarkable with relentless, unmatched force. Leaving no sign or headstone to remind us of what once stood there. To leave this world without having burned my initials into the earth is the one true horror I carry inside; and one that I carry with not only dread but pride. It is healthy terror. A beast at my back driving me onwards with gnashing teeth and a constant pace.

A shadow will never forge its mark on the sand; it will merely pass over it on its path towards oblivion. I consider this parable every single day of my life.