Tianna G. Hansen
c r e a t i ve n o n - f i c t i o n
When the Flames Come
The flames began licking your skin, consuming you, before you had the chance to say ‘no.’ Before you knew you could.
So why blame yourself?
They always tell you, ‘just say no.’ Say no to unsafe sex, no to drugs. Say no to self-destruction.
And yet. Yet you lie here with flames tracing patterns your body until the burn enters your bones, becomes an ember. Glowing coals that will never un-ignite.
Instead, you re-ignite, again and again. There is no end to this fire burning inside. It is built off the kindling of your anger, the oxygen of your pain.
When you look it in the face and tell it ‘no,’ tell it ‘stop,’ it responds with a resounding crackle, building off your resilience. Instead of dying, the fire continues to burn inside you, feeding off your disgrace. Self-hatred. Its power continues to grow.
Why do you blame yourself?
Is there no one else to blame? Was there nobody who could have said ‘no’ for you? Who could have taken a stance in the face of your danger? They didn’t see the dragon you faced; they saw a knight in shining armor. They didn’t know the battle was between the man and the demon, one and the same, which destroyed you. Claimed your remaining joys and stripped you of your faith.
You didn’t think it would happen to you. You already withstood so much. More than any one person should have to withstand. And then the flames came.
Your own release is when the moon shines, that perfect orb in the sky which greets you with a full belly and beams upon you with light. This is the only light that no longer burns. That no longer fuels your fire kindles it into a ferocity that will never die.
One day, perhaps, this fire will be replaced by one that burns only with passion, ignites only with joy. This fire will no longer be one of hurting and destruction; it will rejuvenate, restore, rebuild you.
When the flames come, you will be ready. You will greet them with open arms instead of having your hands tied to the stake, your entire body consumed by the burning desires of others, placed upon you.
Tianna G. Hansen has been writing her whole life and recently founded her own lit mag/small press Rhythm & Bones. She is married and lives with her cat Stella. When she isn't editing or writing, she likes setting things on fire (within reason). Find more burning work at CreativeTianna.com or check out R&B at RhythmNBone.com . Twitter: @Tiannag92 or @RhythmBonesLit.