Butterfly Nebula, NGC 6302
What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The gas is tearing across space at more than 600,000 miles an hour—fast enough to travel from Earth to the Moon in 24 minutes. A dying star is at the center of this fury. It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow.—Hubble image, NASA Space Center
Two years ago, the Darkness descended. I know this, because I wrote Melancholia about it, a post for FU (it’s not an insult, it’s a fashion blog). Since then, my heart has not so much been broken or burned but atomized. Completely shattered into raw matter. Boom.
When it first started, I remember begging my brain for an answer, repeating over and over, if only in my mind: “What is happening to me?” “What is happening to me?” “What is happening to me?” That then turned into: “Why is this happening to me? Why me? Why?”
But now I know that this third question was the reason for the what and the why. I have burned off everything in me that is not elemental.
And what is in me now feels like a universe. Hinged on a dying star, radiating out in cosmic blasts that will blind the damned, and frighten the weak-hearted, and scorch the mustaches off hipsters and hirsute ladies alike.
I know now who I am. I am a human soul, burning up. I am a lightshow, made of matter.
I could have never written the Break-Up Dioramas without excruciating pain. I could have never become the writer I always wanted to be, since I was a little girl, without these past two years of deep sorrow and loss and a breakdown of my core identity.
I don’t know what exactly this light is yet, but it seems to be glowing from the cast offs. Boom.