The Phoenix and the Dragon

It comes in waves, those flames: the flames of fear and the flames of future, the flames of anguish and the flames of anger. You do your best to fight the fire but it is erupting from within you. As if you haven’t fought enough, you are constantly fighting with your inner beast but you never know whom. Is it your inner phoenix or is it your inner dragon? Phoenix is a rebirth out of the ashes but develop too quickly and your heart’s new house will burn down. The dragon brings strength to walk the path but beware your breath as you may strike fear in the ones you meet along the way.  One must tread lightly around stirring giants. In their glory, both are majestic and rule with kindness and wisdom but at their worst they can destroy entire villages. Young beast master, do not try to wake them until you are ready to control them or you will lose control of yourself…

“I’ll never be able to move on” - The sparks fly

“It will get easier” - The pressure builds

“Have you moved on?” - The fire is stoked

It’s not under our control what feeds the beast and which beast we are nourishing. It breathes when it wants, it feeds when it wants and it sleeps when it wants - Caution to those that wake either of the sleeping beasts. Caution to all who wake both…

It’s been a long time since I have had a night out with others. There have been dinners, a mellow movie night but not one of those “Let’s grill! Neighbors are coming over and we can party”…I just had one of those nights. It felt like a relief but little did I know that the start of the relief was a release of the phoenix and the dragon.

The phoenix has long been a symbol of rebirth and strength. How enchanting and desirable in a time like this…the dragon, although just a stereotype, is defensive and aggressive. Both are just trying to survive. Perhaps they are one in the same placed in different challenges. One must take time to master the valor found in both. Yin and Yang as the Phoenix is rebirth and the dragon is mastered wisdom from life’s experiences.

Since Tin passed, I have focused on rejuvenating and revitalizing my life, in the honor of the phoenix. I try to be strong and make well-guided decisions in the honor of the dragon. This week I let my guard down and both beasts emerged untethered and leveled everyone in the room.

I relaxed and drank some whiskey and water while others took shots and tossed back drinks. I was the most in control. I was finally laughing out loud uninhibited and it felt like the world’s weight fell off my shoulders. My stories created excitement and my jokes placed us all in high spirits. I didn’t realize how high I had flown. The phoenix awakens. Positive energy surrounded the group for hours. I finally felt safe enough to share that I was gay and my partner passed in April…we hit serious talk. Everyone was supportive and the phoenix grew. I felt warm. I felt the sadness but I also felt the support. This was the start of a new chapter in life…

As the night fizzled, others left the gathering to wrap up the night. There were three of us left and that should have been an indication that something was going to pivot. Sitting around the patio was straight Chris (a big muscle guy confident in who he was and cool with us “gays”), my gay friend Chris and I. It was nice to have two Chris’s from each side…..Yeah, it means a lot when a straight guy doesn’t care who we are romantic with and still want to love us as friends. Sometimes that means more.

Well straight Chris had a fair amount to drink and began acting strange. I asked if he was ok and his response was “No”. It was straight guy sad moment so I rolled with it but what came out of his mouth turned the heartfelt phoenix and wise tempered dragon into a full firestorm. Animals that no one in the room had ever known existed…

Chris was acting panicked and sad so I reached out. His sadness was not from the loss of another but a loss of himself. Chris began to tell me how hard it was to be with someone but still go back to his ex for fun. All I saw was red. Without an ounce of thought the Phoenix tore at Chris for his unfaithfulness and dishonesty as the phoenix thrives on loyalty and dependability.

“How dare you betray her trust?” I was in Chris’s face screeching like a falcon ready to sink in my talons but just then the inner storm changed the direction of the flames.

“Release the dragon” said the storm and so my voice grew lower and my eyes searched to find a lost soul somewhere behind Chris’s eyes. The dragon came forth to speak not wisdom for guidance but wisdom to invoke a fire of fear.

“How dare you sit in that chair and ask for sympathy because you are unhappy with the person you are with? How dare you after I gained the courage to tell a new friend that my deepest loss happened 5 months ago and here you are taking her for granted.”

The 220lb muscle man sunk in his chair and looked down at the ground. The dragon had him right where he wanted him for one last quick lick of the flames…

“How would you feel if she died tomorrow tough guy? Would that make you regret what your doing? Would that break your heart?”

He nodded.

“Than maybe you should think about the fact that you could lose her at any moment and never ever take time with her for granted.”

I slammed my empty glass down, stated goodnight and went into my friend’s house to put the whimpering beasts back to sleep with my tears, the wound on my heart torn a little bit deeper.

Rest now young beast tamer. Tomorrow is another day…


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  • Lisa Richardson
    commented 2018-09-08 22:18:07 -0700
    Bryan I love this piece. You’ve touched on something I have a hard time defining. Thank you.