By Julián Esteban Torres López

Author Julián Esteban Torres López wrote this piece, Neurodivergent, intending it to be an auditory experience. Please feel free to listen to the audio below while reading along to the words below.

I do not need 60 light bulbs to light up a mansion; all I need is one bulb and 60 broken mirrors. ‘Cause even through my frugality I can still enlighten a whole society, creating shadows through shadows of light.

My childish imagination plays with a flashlight, making shadow puppets of enlightenment … ready to leave their mark, pasted upon tree bark, sipping the sap from the tree dripping glazed melted knowledge and wisdom as maple syrup upon my tongue.

I feel for scars that have never felt a wound; yet I warn you: do not let me fall asleep with a pen in my hand. I might stab my emotions to death for allowing me to see so clearly.

However, sometimes, light blinds what is already there. That is why I choose to write with my eyes closed, at times: to see the words I would have not been able to see originally, in my imagination, in the dark.

In the dark, my pen leaks from both ends when I write, expressing its imagination through the hair extensions of poetic sketches.

However, sometimes, I wish I could highlight light itself with a permanent marker, so I do not only catch a glimpse of it, but so I can engrave its presence in the memory lapses of my mental images … to see if it such words are hallucinations, mere self-deceptions, taken from the bent rib of ignorance … to see if it is make-believe through my flight of fancy or wishful thinking.

Imagining: a punctured picture penetrated by light through cracks of shadows.

Questioning: if the images of my mind coincide with the metaphorically inclined rhymes of “Enlightenment.”

Sure, similes of Monet might paint the portrait of my analogies more perfectly with a paintbrush and not a permanent marker, maybe. But all I am really trying to say is that I do not want a flash of light to zephyr by me unnoticed … but I want that flash to be highlighted within the parentheses of permanence.

A shadow so great that only Hiroshima’s blast can burn a shadow on its own shadow’s presence. An explosion of words so vast that I do not want them to pass by me, but to penetrate my existence.

As voices … as voices are reporting concussions of conclusions … mere confusions, though, with such frailty of understanding that my back aches as if it were my Achilles heel receiving lashes on the pirate’s bounty.

I feel the sun burn my skin like acid dancing in complementary angles like angels praying to Satan and demons to Jesus.

Maybe I need more than just one light bulb to bring society toward such acceptance of all of our complimentary existence: Black light, brown light, red light, yellow light, white light, highlighting peace and understanding for maybe one moment in time.

Whether it be through my eyes closed or opened, I am still thinking. Whether it be through my conscious mind or under it, sunbathing in daydreams or nightswimming in disillusion … man, even children understand such prophecies. Why can’t we?

Where is my mind’s eye, imagination making shadow puppets of enlightenment with a flashlight now? Where is the pen leaking from both ends now? Where is the highlighter of permanence now?


Maybe I can keep that one light bulb, and just break the already broken pieces of mirrors again, even more, and pass them around, so we all may be able to see the light captured inside … so we might one day realize that our ignorance is not mere pop culture, but it is also our own reflections.

I feel for scars that have never felt a wound, but mostly I feel for wounds that have yet to scar. And so, I keep my eyes closed and imagine peace through complementary angles of life and light.


I am waiting …

And as I wait, I stumble. Stumble upon voices. Voices impending in the membranes of my thoughts and I cannot think clearly now.

Voices surrounding the mountainous valleys, touching the skies with their torches, burning the oxygen that is lacking, yet not fading above where the wise owls roam.

I stand on my head because I cannot think clearly right-side up. I turn the map of the world upside down and watch the snowflakes of voices fall from the ground up to the heavens above because I am a thinker taking notes outside the box.

But, in all actuality, I do not even see it as a box. You see, I see it as a circle, or zero, or maybe an eight because I can take that circle of life and pinch it to create infinity.

You see, my mind is a Genome Project of its own. Not even Bobby Fischer is capable of mapping the blueprints of my intellect through one mere game of chess.

You see, the shortest distance between two points to me is not a line, nor a curve, but another dot. Folding the plane of time in half. Playing tricks with space and the linear. And even within that dot, in itself, it contains the elements of my existence.

I use the magnifying glass of my Iris’ focus and realized that even within that dot there is another dot creating another distance.

I would be ignorant, to say the least, if I were to say that I was certain of certainty as a fact. I claim to obtain purity in my thoughts, yet my virginity seems tainted with questions …

Questions that turn to voices … that turn to confusion … that turn to answers, at times.

But sometimes those times are few to none and other times I have to find clarity within my confusion by residing inside the residence of acceptance because sometimes there are no answers, just more questions.

Nonetheless, I hear the voices, they are mine, inside my mind they recline. And then I speak and I hear one unified voice, incorporating co-constructional relational realities within the voices conversing within me.

And then I speak, and I imagine, and I have a dream where one day I will allow my mind to speak, not just with my breath but with the breath of those around me, as they stumble about in a daze, in my home, lost in the elaborate labyrinth I have constructed: my mind.

My mind: a room full of mirrors and windows … mirrors and windows … harvesting words … words written with the acid and sweat of my fingertips …

Words upon the reflecting glasses. Rows and rows of mirrors and windows … mirrors and windows. Some two-way, and others mere one-sided. All in all, infinite, thinking outside the box.

Or, should I say outside the circle, or zero, or maybe eight, depending on which way one decides to pinch imagination’s box and look at it … and perceive it.

This is the way I discover.

This is the way I discover the exoskeleton of the internal, eternal extremities of my realities … boundless in my fancy. I think.

As I, myself, become the others stumbling about in hopscotch stutters in my own labyrinth: my mind.

Nonetheless, no answers. Mere confusion, mere questions.

An intellect finding peace within the gatherings of pieces of acceptance. Scattered around the room like balding petalled roses … mere voices upon breaths within labyrinths of confusion … like Socrates, the mere midwife, planting seeds of “Enlightenment” inside the minds of those around him with questions … not answers.

As I claim to obtain purity in my thoughts, yet my virginity seems tainted with questions …

Questions that turn to voices, that turn to confusion, that turn to answers … at times. But sometimes those times are few to none, and other times (man, other times) those voices also see themselves breathing, upon infinite articulation, and they, too, find acceptance, yes, they, too, find acceptance … upon the reflections of their own confusions. Upon the reflections … of the reflections … of their voices.

Renowned as a “multipotentialite, polymath, Renaissance man,” Julián Esteban Torres López identifies more as an obsessively (com)passionate and a compulsively curious explorer of the arts, ethics, cultures, limitations, totalities, otherness, liminalities, infinities, and the entwined nature-nurture horizons of our pluralistic existences and potentialities. A Turtle Island-conceived, Abya Yala-born, multiply neurodivergent with multiple chronic conditions and Afro-Euro-Indigenous roots, Julián delves into the spectrums, tensions, and dissonances of our ontological, epistemological, psychological, sociological, linguistic, spiritual, historical, ancestral, institutional, and hermeneutical situations: how we engage with, make sense of, heal from, and revolutionize them. As founder of The Nasiona, managing director of consulting and strategy at Conscious Thrive, and architect of numerous other initiatives, expeditions, and investigations, Julián’s work has centered subaltern, anti-essentialist, liberatory interpretations, translations, empowerments, and transformations: the examination of existential concerns via prisms of decoloniality and Indigeneity; the innovation of liberation-based relationships, cultures, policies, and practices; and the reclamation of agency and authority over our imaginations and authenticities so we can better disclose, discover, and create – to overcome, exist, travel, and thrive safely unmasked beyond survival.

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