I am sorry, but I will not apologize for the days and months I have been quiet/removed. My self has needed attending to. My brain has needed its rest after reckoning, rumbling, and finding its revolution. My body needed escape(s) to the wilderness to become lost amongst the trees. My soul needed quiet in hopes it could find some healing. My health continues to need safety from a virus we cannot see. My heart is constantly adjusting to many changes.
I am sorry, but I will not apologize for coming into a deeper knowing of who I am. My birth name is no longer a place holder for your comfort or convenience. My name of choice is echoing through the clouds of thunder and lightning. Address me with respect and digninty. Use the pronouns of my choosing. It is not your option to do anything less.
I am sorry, but I will not apologize for believing in science with this pandemic (and more) and not your opinion of how you choose to interpret it. Your years of not dedicating yourself to the craft does not make you an expert. If you choose not to be safe, if you choose to shame me or others while pretending to be supportive, and if you choose to not listen to what the science is saying; kindly fuck off.
I am sorry, but I will not apologize for calling you out. For too many years the voices of many have been pushed to silence, but when the rumbling began there was no turning back. Black Lives Matter, Trans Lives Matter, Gun Reform Is Needed, and police (and others) need accountability. If you don’t think so; kindly fuck off.
I am sorry, but I will not apologize for not wanting to breathe in your dismissive anger. I have spent a life time being kept quiet while also watching others do the same. I will no longer be silent, and I will not longer allow others to feel they need to be.
I am sorry, but I will not apologize for the challenges my mental health provides to me. I will keep fighting, and I will keep having days when I kneel down and cry. It is not my job to live for your comfort level. I’ve done enough of that. You can choose to move along.
I am sorry, but I will not apologize for speaking up and standing out. I want to be listened to, valued, and heard. I will not let the behavior of others form any attempt to keep me silent.
I am sorry, but I will not apologize for who who I am. I am passionate, I am queer, I am vulnerable, and I am brave. I will empower others so they never have to continue feeling that they need to accept someone or something because it’s how it has always been or how they are. No one should feel that is okay, and no one should feel that they need to accept it.
I am sorry, but I won’t apologize. If you are looking for me to do so and expect an apology from me; kindly fuck off.
I am not your inspiration, but I hope you find your own. My mental health and childhood trauma should not be reason you suddenly feel an urgent need to care or understand. The keys of my attic are not gatewatys to your understanding or open doors to furthering your worth.
I am not your inspiration, but I hope you find your own. When I dig deep and unravel tightened twine constricting my organs; it is not your lungs that should suddenly fill with air. When I close my eyes and struggle to sleep (awakened by dreams or feelings in my chest); it is not your heart that should feel lifted.
I am not your inspiration, but I hope you find your own. When the complexities of my diagnoses cause you to feel the need to know more; it is not my book you should suddenly feel privileged to read. When the words I write from reflections of myself/my existence are read with your eyes; it is not your energy that should instantly feel at ease.
I am not your inspiration, but I hope you find your own. When the words of vulnerable truth find their way from my lips; it is not your own that you feel you found in mine. When the lost portions of my soul begin to reveal themselves; it is not yours that should feel a breath of relief.
I am not your inspiration, but I hope you find your own. When years of buried scars begin to surface to my skin; it is not yours that should feel a cool calming. When the intensity of my emotions run ragged and raw; it is not yours that should smile with gratefulness.
I am not your inspiration, but I hope you find your own. When the soul of the mountain is filling my own; it is not yours that should rejoice with gratitude. When the stars remind me there are are thousands of pages to be written; it is not your book that you should feel compelled to begin.
I am not your inspiration, but I hope you find your own. When the unknown fears boggle my mind; it is not yours that should feel the clearness. When I stand from the stumbling and rise above; it is not your legs that should be running free.
I am not your inspiration, but I hope you find your own. I hope you breathe and dig so deep within yourself that you uncover halls and doorways you had forgotten you hid away.
I am not your inspiration, but I hope you find your own. I hope the skeletons of your attic know the unexplainable joy of trusting a light so bright that they feel the need to dance.
I am not your inspiration, but I hope you find your own. I hope you remember that the cracks in your darkest places is where the light gets in.
I am not your inspiration, but I hope you find your own. I hope you get inspired to find the places you’ve kept at bay; the hidden keys that prevent you from becoming your own. The pieces you don’t talk about even though they still exist.
There is a hypnotic trance that occurs when the magic waters of the sky turn into white fluffy pieces of crystalized grace. It is captivating and wonderous. There is a very distinct beautiful loud silence which occurs. If you know this to be true then you understand the starry eyed wonder that takes place when the clouds bring down upon us this yearly joy.
Over the years I have found myself repeatedly drawn in. Maybe it’s the Vermonter in me, maybe it’s the New Englander, maybe it’s my connection to nature, or maybe it’s just all of the things interconnected. I never look out with disdain. How could I? It is irrefutable joy. I am grateful to have never lost the magic.
As a child there was something about the unknown to what the following morning would bring on school nights in the depth of winter with predicted snow on the way. Would it be enough or too little for an actual snow day? Snow days; those ritualistic unexpected days of happiness and laughter because the expectation of having to do was replaced with chance; the chance of play, the chance of hot chocolate at 8am because you’ve already been outside since 6am diving into the powdery wonder, and the chance to snuggle up and snuggle in when you were planning on sitting up and being focused with equilateral triangles and the crossing of the Delaware.
There are those who find snow days a waste of time and frivolous. They hear about closures or delays and get angry for those who are not attending to the expectations of society; get up, go to work, go to school, get it done, and don’t be lazy. Somehow the magic has been lost on them. The simplistic peace that comes when unexpected joy brings a little bit of a lift to the day.
It’s never been about laziness or not wanting to take part in the things of expectation. It’s about taking a pause to everything we’ve been told are the only things that matter if we want to have any value in our existence. We live in a society where if you are told to do something you do it, and there is no space for you to look inward and wonder if it’s okay to breathe. I assure that it is. In fact; I implore you to remember the last time that you did and if you find yourself still questioning…it’s time.
It’s time to rekindle those moments that once brought you joy and that you may have forgotten. Time that has been lost because of the pressures others (including yourself) have placed upon your shoulders. Shoulders are not designed to carry all of the weight of life. They need you, they want you, they’re begging of you to remove some of it so you’re not pulled down.
This year has been one for the books. It has been hard and challenging for many. It has been sad and lonely for a great deal of us. It has tested our abilities to remain steadfast in what we’ve needed to do for the health and safety of ourselves and others. It is also a year that in the midst of all of the unknown(s) it has given us time to look in and really see ourselves if we dared, and it is in these moments of pause and reflection where unexpected joy and happiness could emerge out of the dark spaces.
When I went to sleep last night I wondered; would we get all of the snow that was being predicted and if so what would I do with it? There are expectations that I need to get done, but there is so much wonderful joy that I want to have along with it. So, I got up. I got up before the day’s light casted itself. The snow is deep. The snow is magic. The snow walked hand and hand with my inner child as flakes kissed my face, the whiteness crunched beneath my feet, and the lights of the holiday season were wrapped in winter’s warmth.
Some say snow days are useless. There are Saturday’s and Sunday’s so why does one need to have a snow day in the middle of the week when expectations are where you should be? Why, simply because it is magical. So, if you have things that need to be done today…do them, but in the midst of all of what needs to be done don’t forget to pause, don’t forget to breathe, and make a cup of hot chocolate after you take a dive into snow’s magic.
I wrote this two years ago when the country was in a place of watching another human take a stand only to be shot down with heads of shaken disbelief. I wrote it as a means of releasing my own darkened skeletons that chose to stop dancing long ago. Skeletons that much preferred keeping the light out and not unlocking the door. Two years later the darkened undertow is still lurking, and I have decided it is time to rise. It is in the rising that I hope others find the strength to stand even if their voices feel silenced.
Oct. 8th – 2018
There is a dark undertow sweeping over the land we call home. It’s fueled by ignorance/disrespect/privilege. There is an emptiness looming as those needing to be heard are being shut down/shut out by those who choose not to listen. There is danger in the hushing. There is power in the pushing under. There is hatred in the breath of those breathing on us like dragons. They’re covering us with fear and attempting to silence our voices.
They stand behind wooden podiums pouring their words like vials of poison into the airwaves. And, with each moment they steal there are sheep who will follow; joining a heard of heartless souls who wave their fingers like wands of darkness.
They stand there attempting to convince the mindless voids that they speak/stand for the masses. They cut others down as one who deforests a growth of trees from their existence. When the attack is done they cast their eyes upon the barren land moving like a calculated rage of war to the next parcel of green.
Where have all the flowers gone? Why are the seeds being destroyed? What is this sickness of drunken power allowed behind the wheels of leadership and constantly crashing with no consequences to be had? What happened to the mighty who stood up for those with words needing to be heard and action(s) so desperately wanted to show the others we are believed and our stories will ALWAYS matter?
And, then there was one. A voice who stepped up and forward in an attempt to prevent a wolf from entering the chamber. She spoke with truth. She spoke with pain. She spoke with the hope that the story buried so long ago would prevent an infestation like a plague across the land.
She spoke from a place concealed only to have it mocked and tossed aside like litter strewn across a desolate highway. She was pointed at, stared at, and told the awful thing…..the awful thing that what happened to her didn’t matter. It didn’t matter because boys will be boys and mistakes just happen. And, the dangerous message, the dangerous message trickling down and broadcast across radio speakers and glowing screens fueled those who believe that they can do what they want and hurt who they will because no one will believe the dirty laundry that was never washed and then buried in the closet(s) of lost innocence.
Those who have experienced the unthinkable pain received the message that they better not dare to speak. Don’t speak a thing because your pain can destroy someone’s reputation, tarnish someone’s gold star, and embarrass those they hold close to their circle(s).
We cannot let her bravery be turned into a forgotten tragedy. There are those who will never find the voice, and the voices that are able to rise must be heard so that those who cannot stand alone will always have those who carry them on their shoulders. We can’t let them, we can’t let them believe that the hotness of their gasoline infused breath speak for the masses. We cannot let them lead more sheep away from the heard and into barren fields where nothing exists and emptiness prevails.
It is time, it is time for those of us who internalized our anger to unleash it like a lion. It’s time to stand in solidarity for those who need us, for those who listen to us, and for those who need the very true knowing they were never alone.
Those skeleton keys need to open the closet doors they are attached to, and if your closet is bolted by many locks and barriers there are those who will wrap you in a blanket of safety until you’re ready to crash down those doors.
My door started opening a few years ago, and I have refused to close it. It’s now time for me to ignite the flame that fuels the voice of sharing for others to know that; I stand with you/I understand you/I hear you, but most importantly….I believe you.
I will not let the voices of angry men silence you. I will not let the hands of mistreatment make a mockery of you. I will not turn off my light to you.
I will scream with you. I will let you know that your story matters/that you matter. I will let you know that the masses being claimed to represent what is are only smoke screens of lies and invalid words used to bruise those speaking their truth.
There is a rising. There are phoenixes emerging from their fiery ashes. Their wings of flight are sweeping the skies with hope and raining down like meteors piercing the dark of night.
Who am I? I am #MeToo, and I am here to be heard, to offer a hand of understanding, and to be a place of safety when the shadows of dark places try to pull you back.
Who am I? I am #MeToo, and I am here to rise up and be silent no longer. Who am I? I am #MeToo, and I am here in case you are not ready/able to be. Who am I? I am #MeToo, and I am here to let you know that this does not define me, and I will be damned if I let it strike me down. Who am I? I am #MeToo, and my phoenix is taking flight with wings of protection for those who need it.
Who am I? I am #MeToo. I am here. I am standing, and my story matters.
Have you ever battled something that is so physically real and yet so visually imaginary at the same time? Those monsters in your closets that no one else can see? Did you know it existed, or, did it seemingly come out of nowhere despite your somewhat futile attempts to trace its journey to where you now find yourself standing?
Did it beat against the cage of your chest like a bird desperately seeking its freedom leaving you breathless and unable to stand? Was it hard to truly see that things were no longer igniting your inner sphere or lifting your spirits? Did it feel like a brick wall you didn’t see coming but suddenly found yourself crashing into without warning?
Did it frighten you? These terrible feelings of being so painfully aware of everything you were feeling but not able to understand why and unable to contain its energy that had been released?
This was my experience on a warm summer’s day this past August. An experience I was woefully unprepared for. A moment in time when the actions of only me were not enough to recover. A fleeting piece of time that lasted for hours and days with each one blurred into another as mind creeping thoughts of wondering will this happen again staked claim on land they were never granted permission to live on.
Would it? Could it? Could I prevent it? It seemed nothing of my usual suspects of enjoyment were working or helpful. Becoming lost in nature and walks in the evening’s soft glowing light were not enough fuel to ignite their own fires that usually burn bright without much effort.
I cried; I cried to my supervisor over the phone, I cried to my Doctor, I cried to those who cared, and I cried in moments of alone. This wasn’t me, and I hated everything about it.
I had a tool that I had never used and that I was purposefully keeping hidden. I didn’t want to bring it out and acknowledge that it existed. I was quite content with it sitting locked away in a bag, in a bottle, and in a box. In my mind it was destined to stay there and never grace my lips or enter my system. Yet; I was encouraged. I was encouraged by those who knew me deeply and those who knew me not personally but medically. I was reminded that it’s okay because the brick wall caused a loss of breath which was scary to harness and hard to wrap my energy around.
When it happened again on a smaller scale I understood that the help was needed. I came to the reckoning that there was no shame in opening that bag, that bottle, and removing its contents.
I dumped out one small circular pill not much bigger than the period you place at the end of a sentence. I stared at it for moment; this foreign piece of medical chemistry. It just laid there waiting for my next move. I picked up this piece of internalized shame, tossed my head back, and swallowed. I swallowed the fear, the shame, and the unknown. In the same breath I was breathing in the hope that the help would show me its side of hand holding.
To my surprise I felt relief. I felt released from an unintended prison brought on by the reality of a pandemic and the many things of which I cannot control. It cleared my mind and slowed down the rapidness of my body and my chest. I felt like I was standing just as I had always done prior to this panic attack as it was so named for me. The days and nights after the panic attack felt so very long. I was finally starting to feel as though something so scary and of such a heavy weight had been lifted from my shoulders (albeit not entirely).
As I stand on the precipice of potentially needing an adjustment in my medication I am harnessing the fear as a means of propelling myself forward. Its not forever. The pills are there if I need them, and I am always hopeful that it will not be a necessity. At the end of any day or beginning of any morning I will put forth my energy to focus on what I can and work with what I am able.
If the bottle needs to be opened it will be done without shame, with less fear, and less feelings of hesitancy. It will be done with the love for myself and the utilization of all of the tools I carry on my belt, and it will be done with all of the uninhibited love that has been gifted to me to lift and hold me up; an unexpected puzzle piece.
It is not about weighing yourself with a further burden. It’s knowing that accepting the guidance to assist you is what allows you to be free. It allows you to breathe, and it allows you to realign your sourceful energy.
Do you see me? Do you see me beyond your perception(s) of how you think and what I should be? Is it really negatively impacting your existence to see my style of dress, the close shave of my hair, hearing the uniqueness in the sound of my name, or knowing that I love of the same gender as my own? Is it so challenging to understand that who I am is all things beautiful even if for a moment you feel that I should not exist as I am and need to change or keep myself silent to make you exist more comfortably? I won’t apologize. I won’t be silent. I won’t re-enter a darkened closet that I stayed in for years crying myself to sleep just wanting to know that I was not wrong for who I am. I will love, and I will exist freely. I will not let your perception(s) or judgements of me alter my place in the world.
I came out when I was 18. It was gut wrenching, it was anxiety producing, and yet I felt free. It wasn’t easy. I was ignored and not spoken to for what seemed like an eternity, I was grilled about how is it I came to this understanding, I was told that it was one more way I knew how to ruin things, and that I plummeted a knife into the chest of one who couldn’t see me as the person I freed myself to be. It took many years; but as time went on acceptance transpired. I was a daughter that could be loved again, I was a sister that could be again, I found community/friends who never wanted me any different, and those I loved could be family. To all members of the GLBTQ+ community; I hear you, I see you, and you are loved. I want you to know; that no matter where you are or of what age you are coming into your knowing….IT GETS BETTER!!! You will lose a self that others wanted, you will find the self you always knew yourself to be, and you will LOVE. You will love and be loved by a community you never knew was family, and you will find love and be loved by the one who always knew that you would arrive. You’re not alone, you have an entire community ready to lift you up.
I’ve never been one for labels. I didn’t see the purpose in them. Over the years I’ve affixed various names and pride colors to myself as a means to identify (to belong), but there was always a missing component. I wasn’t looking reflectively enough (quite possibly on purpose). I didn’t have the understood knowing that the missing was in fact longing to be found. I had surfaced viewed myself without digging deeper to fully come to the knowing of what was really beneath my perceived layers of existence. It was easy to ignore but so devastatingly destructive. Moving in and around the masses without a true sense of direction I convinced myself that the trajectory I was navigating on was serving me just fine.
A great deal of this is directly related to never sitting with myself and only myself. I’ve sat with many. I’ve listened to their stories. I’ve held much needed space for others and their pain. I in turn crumbled into dirt as these same humans tore me down for different parts of mine. My story was often something others didn’t want to hear. My emotions were often something others couldn’t handle me expressing. It was systemic. I have constantly and consistently allowed for the love I have felt I deserved. I own that. That’s my part. It wasn’t until I was in the position of uncomfortable fear with a rampant pandemic that I was forced to be with me for the first time.
I didn’t like it. I didn’t like being out in a space where the only attention that was being given or needed was for me/from me/by me. It has been excruciating at times. Who the fuck wants to sit alone with themselves like that? Who the fuck wants to face all the words and actions that have been inflicted upon you over the years from the hands and mouths of others in tandem with self inflicted wounds of the past? Who the fuck wants to sit with and hear in the isolated mind all the hurtful and shameful things that others have casted upon you in an effort to devalue who you are? I had no intention of ever doing that, and yet, here I am. Here I am hunkered down in a camper at the base of wooded mountains in a small Vermont town. I returned to my roots, and it is in the roots where the search so often begins. I returned to the plantings of so many seeds that buried themselves so long ago. Over the years they have resurfaced when I would easily accept how others entered my existence. Repeated patterns in different forms, but repeated just the same with occasional moments of feeling empowered only to have that stripped away once more.
I became tired. I became tired of the constant feeling(s) of not receiving from others what I put out in return. Those exchanges have often felt exclusive, with me as the solo attendee walking around with a perceived party of two despite hopeful beginnings. I didn’t want to acknowledge any of this, but quiet nights and louder minds force you to sit with your existence (or lack thereof).
The camper has been a space of uninvited solitude which in turn has provided gifts I could have never received in the world prior. I sit. I walk. I dissolve myself into the wooded paths of the mountainside. It is here in these moments where I came to the knowing that a piercing part of my truth was laying dormant. It had been so patiently waiting for the proper season for me to acknowledge its existence so it could unleash itself. It needed this forced closeness to push its way to the surface. It needed the opportunity to cut its way out of me releasing a pressure I harbored unknowingly.
Have you, have you ever had something rip open parts of your truth that even you didn’t recognize as being hidden as though it was being walled in? And, it’s not until the breaching of this protective wall releasing itself from your bodily dam pouring over your vessel screaming to be heard that you become saturated in its truth and actually listen. Have you ever listened, I mean actually listened to what your Bird Song was saying? The sound of your absolute truth? Have you ever paused long enough to know that being with/for yourself is an essential component to living and not just existing?
It is there for us; the unaltered layers of our truth that so many have attempted to diminish or extinguish. We spend a lifetime keeping our sails down and our ships at bay. On the occasions we have bravely attempted to throw our masts to the wind we instead caged ourselves with the compasses of others and not bursting free with our own.
We stand in front of ash filled fire pits yearning to ignite our flames from the low burning embers we’ve kept smoldering on the wood pile. We relish in the scent of the wood smoke pouring from our skin, but we quickly toss our clothing into the wash so no one else will notice its magical burning. It’s tiring and so very draining.
The constant work of keeping the beauty of your wholehearted self hidden is exhausting. It isn’t a place of blame, but the shame is so very real. Our hidden selves kept in darkened corners exist in the safety of skeleton darkness because vulnerability and shame cannot attach themselves to us there. If we keep extinguishing the light we are able to convince ourselves that we’ll be okay.
We self talk ourselves so deeply into the illusion that we only need to exist and not truly be alive that we actually believe it. That belief is deeply pierced into our existence by the shadows of shame others have cloaked us with. It is dark enough that we begin to question our worth, and in the quiet spaces of no eyes watching we deem ourselves unworthy. It is in these moments that love and support so deep and so true sometimes presents itself in the most unexpected ways, but without the sense of love and worth for ourselves it can feel painfully lonely and isolating even with the light trying to get in. It can burn. It can melt our flesh without even knowing. That rising flame through the embers you’ve kept hidden beneath the wood can leave marks we don’t want to feel. We don’t want them because we’re not used to them; those deep rooted fire starters of vulnerability.
I have walked through my own flames, and I have the scars I wear proudly to prove it. I know that my kind of heaven has been to hell and back, and the longer the trail of ashes the more I encourage the skeletons to come out into the light. Living your truth is not an overnight express, it is in the awakening that it never needed changing. The battered wings folded up underneath your jacket are hauntingly beautiful and deserve their flight of freedom. It’s a long travelled road that will leave you gasping for breath when the smoke filled air is drowning you in thickness until you’re finally breathing on your own.
That first breath you take filling your lungs to capacity needs to be held just for a moment. You need to stop the oxygen flow just long enough to remember that this is the first moment you have felt truly alive.
This is the moment you recognized your truth, and this is the moment that no other existence will serve you. You are now in the realm of beginning to love, truly love, who you are. There is nothing else that is greater, and it will make everything else worthwhile. It is time, it is time to ignite that fire and let it burn. The guests you choose to let stand around the flames are yours to bring, and if there are those who wish to smolder the flame the second it burns it is for them to know that even though they’re next to your darkened halo you are going to engulf in flames anyway. They cannot cast you out to the herd. In living your wholehearted truth you allow others the freedom to live theirs.
My fire has been lit, and here it is. I am not the me you perceive me to be. I am the me I know I want to be and deeply understand have always been. I am here to introduce myself to you for the first time, “Hi, my name is Raiden. It’s a pleasure to meet your acquaintance. The former name that was bestowed upon me has never fit me and who I am, but I am here. I am here now in all of my beautifully newly out in the open GENDER QUEER SELF.”
“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t love themselves but tell me, “I love you.” – Maya Angelou. This is a quote I read recently, and it is a set of words that leapt off of the page they were resting on. They rose up and stood in front of me as if they were a living breathing entity. I questioned it. I cursed it. I think I even resented it because I was reading words that were me in different points of time. I felt as though I was getting pelted with shards of ice crystals descending from the sky. It was a combination of the hurt I have felt and any hurt I have caused. At first it felt painful, but then the sensation brought understanding. It brought a sense of clarity as I recognized that I have been there, and I had to own the fact that I have been one who should not have been trusted. I have been the purveyor of these words when in reality they should not have been offered up for consumption.
We do it though. We speak easy and loudly within moments that move us but maybe we’re just not ready for. We want to be. We wish to be. We yearn to be. The gentle humming of vibrational goodness entering our sphere. It is deep and connective. It finds its way in and swims around for a bit. It has this ability to do this thing, and when that happens the ego from all things that feel familiar that lead to harmful things and pain rises from the deep. It grabs onto you like the legs of an octopus wrapping its suctioned cup appendages around you and dragging you down. It drags you down just far enough to remind you that the good feelings won’t sustain because they never have. How could they? There have been so many darkened hallways and hideaway caves in your existence where the shadowy things took hold. They took hold in the form of hands of those you trusted and in the form of those who knew nothing of your existence but harmed you simply because you were there. You were robbed. You had things taken away that could never be returned. It takes a lifetime of existing, and sometimes existing is all that can be done. It is an unfair game that one never signs up for and somehow we continually find ourselves as taking on the shape of playing pieces we never asked to move.
We fluidly move in and out of the existence of our day to day. Working on projects that bring us meaning. Traveling the wooded trails to breathe a sense of relief from the energies that are heavy in weight. We wish to escape them, but how do we run from things that have imprinted themselves into our bones? Things that have carved themselves so deeply into our skin we are convinced others must be able to read our pages even without asking for consent. So, we offer up. We offer up things that feel good and things we want so much. We allow ourselves for brief moments in time to expose ourselves and be brave because we feel the truth of it all. It’s not that it isn’t real, but sometimes the real is what shakes us to our core. And, when the core shakes it makes uncomfortable because it’s not familiar. We allow ourselves to believe in everything it is that we are feeling. We allow for this until the shadows tell us to shut it down. “Shut it down, shut it down!” they scream. They are voices that no one else is privy to. Only you can hear them, and that is just how they like it. If they are loud enough to catch the attention of others then they might get discovered. They might meet their match and slowly be turned down and away. This is not something of which they are willing to do. Instead they keep you captive and eventually wear you down again. They don’t want you to stand. The pain is what we know. The pain is what is familiar. The calm we allowed ourselves to feel is foreign, and we’re unable to allow ourselves to trust it so we fight it. We fight it until it goes away. If it goes away then that is something we know how to manage.
I have been carved down by tools not carried by me, but I work hard to keep my weaponry at bay. I don’t want the scars of my battles to imprison me and not let me remember who I am. A warrior. A human of strength who has fought their way back to know the value of who they are (even though there are days when I can struggle with that as anyone can). Life is a balance, and I know there have been times in my existence where my ability to give was not how I wished it to be (despite the surface showings that others could see) as my inward feelings of self-love did not exist. It is a constant growth plate, but with each increment in my course of living I like to think I have arrived at a place of peace despite the moments that can still rattle my cage when the shadows rise. I will always be in a place of working on me, I believe that is a basis for constantly wanting to go to greater heights of unknown origin(s). My cage is rusty and has broken bits of shard metal pieces. It’s okay though. It’s okay that I am rough around the edges and still have work to do, there are still points of entry where the light can get in.
Brave(Enough), I’d like to think that I am. I’d like to believe that I have worked hard to tap into the inner makings of my core and really see what is buried beneath.
I try hard not to be weighed down by the expectations others cast into my direction. I try to remind myself that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone because living from my truth is a constant (even in my moments of fuckery).
I do my best to always be humble and kind. I don’t need to justify the deep routed work I have done throughout my existence to make others comfortable with theirs. When I engage in the world of spoken language I always strive to only allow truth to fall from my lips (the kind of truth that is dripping with honest intention). When I push myself to give it my all and do my best I want to stand with the conviction that I will not alter my existence, because discovering the depths of who I am has taken me a lifetime and there is still a great deal I have to unravel with that life in the time I have remaining.
I don’t climb mountains from the top down. I embark on the journey from the bottom up, and I invest blood which often pours from the scars that cut deep into my skin leaving more marks than I can count. I have been laughed at, I have been poked at, I have been violated by others who attempted to take my existence away. There are many things I am not, but I know that I am brave(enough).
I bleed, I cry, I scream, I have said things in moments of angst that represent a tarnished piece of me, I have hidden myself in corners of darkness, and yet….I am humbled. I am humbled by the soul parts that continue to rise and shake off the shadows under that big hard sun.
I wish to live a life not free of fear, but I also wish to live a life not controlled by fear’s emotion(s) that I am undeserving. I have a child of trauma who lives in quiet existence with my adult self. A younger version who tries to tell the me of now that its better to stay hidden because no harm can come to those who keep themselves out of the light, but I remind them of my gentle disagreement. In these moments I take the hand of my younger self and remind them they are loved. I remind them that who they are is good enough/worthy enough/smart enough/valued enough. I remind them that they are all these things and that they don’t need to have any validation because they give these gifts of truth and knowing to others while asking for nothing in return. I remind them that there is nothing about them that isn’t enough and that they are no longer solo in the pages of life when they felt so alone where others failed them in their formative years with not giving the truth/love/protection that was needed. I remind them that their life will no longer be swept under a rug and hidden. When I remind them that I have not left them behind I tell them to listen (even though it sounds unbelievable), I tell them they are deserving. I remind them to not simply say that something is hard as that only leads to the justification of doing whatever is the easiest.
Those life pieces that hold the most meaning are supposed to be challenging, they are supposed to make us feel uncomfortable/scared as they are standing against the grain of everything we have ever known which then leads us to only do what we usually would…we must not follow. Everything we have been told up until now does not define who we really are or what we truly wish to be (no matter how many voices have tried to convince you otherwise).
I am not perfect (nor do I ever wish to be), but I am brave (enough) and in order to live wholeheartedly we must be whole ourselves. I am also worthy as I am a human who lives from a truthful existence of striving to be humble and kind even in those moments I fuck up and need to ask for forgiveness.
Where am I? Who am I? Have I only just begun? Am I aiming to jump into the darkness to swim towards the lighted cavern(s) on the other end of this abyss?
Sometimes I can feel as though I am drowning. I can be standing in water(s) that are only knee deep and yet find myself struggling to breathe. Is it my wiring? Is this what the internal mechanics of my neurological highway feel like when driving it unaided by light sources of any kind? I am surrounded by familiar spaces and time but feel as though I am still in the process of an unknown birth.
I am often viewed as someone who has it “all together” someone who when they release emotions it comes on as a sudden surprise to those who haven’t witnessed any of my unraveling. It can feel overwhelming at times, to want to allow ourselves to be seen and heard so deeply we leave the lights off to prevent anything from going to far into the core of all that we are. We all want it. We all crave it. We want to show up exactly as we are with all of the dirt on our hands and hopeful aspirations in our souls. We want to show up and know that we are enough.
It isn’t about big time awards or accepting trophies on a podium. It’s about standing so deeply with your truth that others wonder how you possibly do what you do and then stand there right beside you when moments you want to share reveal themselves. Who are you? Are you the next best thing to the world of quantum physics? Are you mapping out a system that will help famers yield growth with their crops that they never imagined? Are you a gentle soul who thinks deeply about navigating this world and all the complicated emotions that entails? Are you a writer who processes things in an enlightening way that allows others to think differently? Are you someone who offers a gentle understanding to those who are struggling? No matter who you are you are you/what you are doing is important. You are beautiful and you have value. We all bring things to this journey of living and no one human brings all the necessities in one vessel. There is value in the wording of “it takes a village”.
The fruits of which each human’s branches possess are of no less value than another. They may look different, they may offer a different taste, but each one brings a serving of importance to the table. I like to think that although my branches carry fruit(s) of different varieties my branches cannot possess all of the things that one needs, but they carry enough to be valued and loved for what they hold. Isn’t that the beauty of an orchard? A vast variety for a delectable yield ready to be harvested to fill our souls with everything that it needs. We can’t survive on eating just one variety alone, we need to be nourished from multiple growths in order to be all of who we are.
We have so many tidbits of expectations drilled into our psyches from the moment we enter this spinning sphere hurtling through the universe at aggressive speeds not felt by our humanness. What is felt are all those puzzling pieces that are etched into our bodies. Your branches and your fruit are bearing witness to all of your greatness, and each piece of fruit has something to offer.
It is time to put aside that part of you that is a doubting Thomas. You are truth in all that you do, and you must live it/breathe it. When it comes to offering your fruit just remember that when there are those who do nothing but deplete your harvest you are not expected to keep feeding them from your orchard. They are welcome to come and take a seat, but even if they don’t like what you’re growing….KEEP GROWING IT ANYWAY. You’re doing amazing things, and the viewpoints from another’s platform should not alter that.