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Essay: Breathing Fire
By Belle Byrd
I know how I want to live my life and it's not in a drunken stupor, in a gutter with severed rat paws poking out of mysterious sludge. Feed me the timber of love, the logs of passion, and the kindling of experience. I am the dragon heating your chimney, roaring for an escape far from the fireplace, in a land removed from slime and rage.
There will never be a world as beautiful as the one I've constructed in my dreams, but I refuse to believe that stumbling through drug-conjured reveries is the same as living. Take my beer and give me a rose. You can even have my cognac and champagne. You befriend Bacchus. I'll befriend him, too, but only if he accepts my vote for sober adventures.
Sober does not mean boring. Sober does not mean tight-laced. Sober means open to real life, in all its gorgeous wretchedness.
I'm not arguing for one fist tightly clenched around rational thought and another punching the heart. I'm arguing against distraction.
Say it with me, pony children: Life is beautiful. Life is miserable. Life only gets as beautiful as it does because misery offers us a point of comparison. Without sober minds, we might not note the difference.
All I ask is that you don't drink your life away, though I'll never say it more firmly than that.