Ask me what it's like to be cut open, and I would tell you yesterday's name. I would tell you about how rebirth is painful. How we must never think we're wise enough to see all the ripples that one thrown stone will cause. And I would also tell you how beautiful each ripple can be, more beautiful even, than steady waters.
This week I put out a poem about the very worst day of my life, the thing that I have been worried about for nearly two decades. I shouted the thing that I had been sure would make people recoil, if ever I whispered it. And nothing bad happened. I was caught by so much love and so much openness. I heard stories of strength and rebirth from so many people who I will be awe of until my last day. I learned that we are like trees, which even when cut down, will grow tiny saplings towards the sky from the cracks in their old, embattled middles, determined to live and to thrive. Determined to be tall and to exist again on our own terms. We are our strongest when we have been hurt the most, but still feel deep in our bones that we will survive. Women are magic with every steady beat of our hearts. This week reminded me of that.
I learned that there are those around me that will stay silent in the face difficult things. There is no handbook for hard conversations, and so I do not fault them that. And in that silence, I have learned the power of reaching out. I learned that I have a partner who is steadfastly on the side of my healing. This week I remembered what a gift that is. What I did not realize is that, all of the processing I have done has not been shared and so my healing, caused pain. Though I'm not sure what that means yet. But, I also learned that I was born to the exact people made to parent me in this life. I live and love and dance and laugh because their blood is in me. It is blood that survives and that loves fiercely, even from ashes. This love is my touchpoint, and I have never, for even one moment, doubted it. After thirty years, my parents continue to surprise me every single day with their strength, grace, and love. I have never been an easy child, and there will never be a moment that I will not be grateful that the universe brought me to my people.
Before I got sober, pain was to be avoided at all costs. I escaped my own life every chance that I could, while with one hand I shoved all these difficult things down. Yesterday, I felt myself wanting that escape. Not with booze, but with wanting to solve an unsolvable problem. To make everyone happy, to apologize, to distract. But yesterday, I didn't do those things. Instead, I was kind to myself. I sat with all of it and let it exhaust me. I thought of the worst things and the very best things. See in Things Fall Apart, Pema writes "Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don't really get solved. They come together and they fall apart…It's just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy."
Yesterday I made space, and the longer I sat in it, the more I healed. I slept for ten hours last night and woke up sore, like I had been carrying a weight for a long time but had finally let it go. Today, I am grateful and I am proud. Of the people who stand for me unconditionally, of the way that I stand for myself now, as if there is no other option. Because there isn't, not anymore. My voice has become non-negotiable. It is not easy to take off your armor and let people see you. But I am lucky. I am grateful. And, if you ask me? I am finally free.