This post was originally posted here.
The warm breeze of a sunny day touches my face as I sit cross-legged on the edge of a mountain, arms folded across my chest. Everything seems yellow, even the sky. There are no trees, no greenery – only a sea of sand. I watch a crowd gather slowly at the base of the mountain. "There is nothing to do. I’m just an observer," I tell myself. I have to just sit here and watch. The crowd is quiet; the only noise comes from the wind. No one tames the wind.
A black SUV drives up the mountain. A man steps out from the back seat and heads towards the edge of the mountain, towards me. It doesn’t seem like the people inside the SUV nor the people at the bottom of the mountain can see me. Am I invisible? The man is wearing a black suit and a strong musk cologne. His presence is very strong and threatening.
I smell sweat, but it doesn’t seem to come from him. I look down, to the foot of the mountain, and notice the sweat glistening on the thousands of people gathered on the sand. They’re all looking up, a blank stare on every face. They all look the same: scared, hopeless, defeated. The man on the mountain raises his hand to signal silence and starts his speech.
"Surrender to me and you will live a comfortable life. You won't even miss your voice. Speak up and watch your love die. Thanks to me you are all the same. It is better to be the same than to be lost in the wilderness of individuality. Look no further for happiness, for happiness begins today if you choose to be quiet. Those who decide to use their voice against me will be met with uncertainty and that is the true death of you. Listen to me, for I care deeply about you and I know what's best for you. The stars that you're holding on to are dirty, they are garbage. There is no use for them. Give them to me and I'll make sure that you stay clean. For those who oppose me, let this be an example."
A little girl of African descent emerges from the SUV. Her skin looks soft, and she glows. Wild, curly hair frames her big eyes and bright smile. You can tell that she is full of life. Two men in black suits, both strong and tall, escort her to the man on the mountain. He looks at her and asks her to open her hand and give him her stars. The innocent girl relinquishes her stars unsuspectingly. He shows her stars to the crowd, before throwing them to the ground and crushing them beneath his feet. A tear traces down the girl’s cheek, and already her glow is starting to fade. The two men hurry her back to the SUV. The man on the mountain resumes his speech.
"This is what I can do for you. I can get rid of those ugly and dirty stars. Live your lives without them - they only bring confusion. They make you think that having choices is a good thing. They distract you from living your life. I am here to give you life. Through me, you will have a life full of certainty. You will be able to concentrate on what really matters to you. Having the stars in your life brings chaos, and leaves scars. Those scars come from all the uncertainty that you've had to endure. I call those scars Failure. If you would've had certainty, you wouldn't have had failure. Removing the stars from your life is the only way to be truly alive."
He finishes speaking, and I feel a bolt of energy in my body. I walk to where the man was standing and look down at the crowd. They can see me now. I pick up the crushed stardust and throw it up in the air. The wind picks up, spinning the stardust, and a glowing yellow light emerges from the haze. The stardust flies all the way to the sky, and becomes stars again. The wind lifts me up and transports me to the Universe. I start walking in space, and it’s surreal. Millions of stars are around me. I feel a deep sense of wonder and curiosity. A female figure made of white light appears in front of me.
"You seek to know whether you should speak up against the tyrant or stay quiet, correct?" Her voice is soft, almost loving.
"Yes, but I'm scared. Isn't it better to just watch and do nothing?"
"There is always a choice to make. Even when you think that you’re making no choice at all, you are still casting your vote. That is the essence of being a human. I cannot tell you what to do because I am imprisoned."
"Why are you imprisoned?" I ask.
"I am imprisoned because you are. I am an extension of you, and when I say you I mean humanity. The more humans give away their stars, the more imprisoned I become. Stars make everything that's living. When you give up your essence, you're essentially giving up your life. The only way to help me is to hold on to your stars."
I start to descend, time standing still. The wind cushions my fall. As soon as I open my mouth, time resumes its dance. I clear my throat and start my speech.
"Removing the stars from your life will make your soul slowly die while your body is still alive. This man had his stars crushed as a little boy and he is trying desperately to fill the void left behind. Hold on to your stars. Yes, life is filled with uncertainty but that's what makes it worth living. The death of your physical form is not to be feared. Only fear the death of your spirit. Your stars give you choice. Now, you can choose to speak up or do nothing - either way you're making a choice. What are you choosing to do today?"
With Love, Dania