There's really no way I can start to blog without opening with an intro to this next piece...peace.
Ever since I can remember I have carried a deep misery within. It is paralyzing and amazingly brilliant at the same time, and the truth is I don't even know where it came from. We all have our own pains, and I am definitely a person who can say that I have had it better than a lot of people. But this is my journey, and my experience with it shouldn't be denied or ridiculed. Doing so doesn't one bit help those less fortunate than me, because this unwelcome, yet familiar suffering has happened for a reason. And in my most feeble attempt to make sense of it, I know that my understanding of self will in turn allow me to help someone else. In order to lift someone from an ocean of sadness, I need to navigate the waters and decide to sail them first.
I used to lovingly call this welling hurt my "anchor". It was entrenched in my core and not a second ever passes where I don't come to know it better, feel it growing, and breath it in despite an oxygen preference. It took me until now to accept it and begin to realize why it's there and learn how it is supposed to work for me. What I didn't expect is how long the class actually is. I take detailed notes and practice tests and somehow still wake up in the morning not sure of what I'm supposed to do. *drums fingers repeatedly on desk* No.2 pencil, fresh pad of paper, ERASER, notes, doodles, books, maps, formulas, cheat sheet, back pack, lunchbox, ruler, hall pass, shoes tied, glasses cleaned, and wide-eyed stare all stuffed inside a me-shaped Trapper Keeper. And thank God for that velcro, because otherwise all of those people, experiences, pains, joys and lessons might've found their way out somehow. Alas, it is all bound and crammed inside in this studious little mess.
Instantly I remember a very young me explaining to my mother how I did not-not-NOT need to be walked to the bus stop anymore. I got this. I am a big girl. Just you watch how proud you're gonna be of me. I remember that day, feeling quite tall with mountain-moving capabilities, standing with my pigtails and come-get-me-world grin. The day I can't remember though...the first day I stood there and turned to look for my mom again. But I know how it felt. I still feel it. Please make it all better. I know there is a band-aid for this.
There is a name I found for this wound I've been healing. The Dark Night of the Soul. Wikipedia describes it as "a phase in a person's spiritual life, marked by a sense of loneliness and desolation." I've known it as a burden, a deep longing that could never be calmed, a hunger so desolate and wild that nothing else is valued above it or along with it. Nothing. At the times I feel it most, I am a different person. Quick blurs in my life where the tiny voice within me that says "Stop, that's enough" is burned and ravaged. Eaten alive. And repeat cycle. Rinse. Yet the dishes stay dirty. Filthy actually. So rotten and caked with delusion and fear that the presence of them draws more toxins from all sides to fester and disease.
The Dark Night has been my chronic, dynamic sickness. I guess it's pretty much designed to be. An illness of heart and soul and the only way out is to develop your own cure. And yet it preys upon those of us with no medical background and a severely rebellious immune system. Those of us who carry the thought, "I am not worth fixing." My mind sits in front of an inner first aid kit and refuses to move, allied by bullies I call Misperception, Self-hatred, and the scariest of all, Wounded Child. And the taller I try to stand at this bus stop, the more my pigtails get pulled, and the more I want to crawl back into the safety of my mother's arms. And I forgot my lunch. Hence the inward feast instead. It's too bad I am such a good eater, because it doesn't save much time to be a teacher. *Mind places apple pie on my desk and then ditches class*
History Homework: 2000 Leagues Under:
"Time is everything. I will come to know this very deeply.
My recent days have been filled with waiting. Quietly. Well, not nearly as quiet as my soul has been while I madly wailed like a banshee. (Okay, originally I thought there was something quiet about it.) Still, there was a quiet of me even though I was sobbing and stumbling around through each hour as if it were my last. In a way it was. The last of love I had left to breath. And I was breathing in. Everything else was breathing out. Forgive me, self...I was too exhausted to fight it anymore. I know I’ve never been too tired to fight, but I was hoping maybe this time.... I put my fists down and just said this wasn’t happening. This wretched slow motion death of a familiar piece of me. It’s been a bitter stinging hurt that thrust me once again into a world I don’t know. A world where I feel I don’t belong. However, the only world that is mine. Now. Today. And tomorrow.
A world offering soon-to-be restless, endless nights. Empty stomach, but fully drowning eyes. A calm desolate breath dancing in my body with a torturous limp. A steady gaze at everything that was. Everything that was good and comforting, and the ugly decay into what it is. I can’t help but stare. Hoping it’ll look better if I put my mascara on and smile at it. "Hi, Mess." (wink)
Every time I turn my head away my heart stirs violently and then throws the covers back over it’s head and tries desperately to sleep. But it’s eyes are wide open. Hoping no one can see it. And yet always hoping someone still knows it’s there. Perhaps if it lets a foot peek out and hang off the bed. Sly. Very sly, heart. And nice socks.
But more than enough time has been allowed for the less-than-fairy-tale realization that...no. No one is coming to bed tonight, heart. And as much as you want to still feel them, there are no familiar arms still holding you to keep you safe from the outside. Or more appropriately...the inside. No one’s warm, lovely breath rising and falling with yours. You’re breathing on your own now. No one’s body sinking into yours like a soft blanket. There is no more separation from you and you. Nap time is over. When you wake, there will be no one’s sleepy eyes to kiss. This night is yours alone to bare.
And my heart sits up and looks around. With it’s knees to it’s chest, she looks up at me with big, wild eyes. "But. It’s dark." She says it so innocently that I hesitate.
Yes. It is going to be very dark for awhile.
"But...why? I don’t like the dark."
"But...why is it dark now? Where did my light go?"
It went away. Don’t you remember? But someday, you’ll have a new light.
"I don’t need a new light. What was wrong with my old light? Didn’t it like me anymore?"
It...just...couldn’t come with you.
Don’t worry, we’ll find you another light that will be brighter and warmer. Wouldn’t you like that? Think of all the new things you’ll be able to see!
"No! No! No! I won’t like that at all!"
You’ll like it someday.
"NO! I WANT MY OLD LIGHT! I LOVED MY OLD LIGHT. IT WAS MINE! PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE...just let me have it. Just this once. I’ll take care of it. I’ll be good. I’ll do whatever you want! I’ll take out all the garbage and won’t leave my things lying around anymore. I’ll do all my chores and I won’t ever, ever, ever complain. I’ll do anything. Ok?"
...............................No. I’m sorry.
And then my heart did something it hadn’t done in a very long time. It screamed. But, it was that other-worldly kind of sound that you’d imagine would come from a spirit being pulled into hell...or cast away from heaven. A tortured, grinding vocalization of how it feels to suffer. And it never trailed off. It kept it’s strength and volume consistently. Like a person falling off a cliff or building; a long scream that only stops when the falling ends. Only when it finally hits Rock Bottom. I’d never known a sound so numbing and painful, and my heart has carried on A LOT in the past. Never like this. Perhaps it is worse to fall without that final blow. To just keep falling.
The screaming was accompanied by a desperate crying. Like that of a mother who has just lost her child, or a child who has just lost her mother. Riddled with need and disbelief. Angered by fate and timing and every other spiritual influence. Pleading and bargaining with the one Being that will have none. Then came the kicking and hitting. Stomping. Biting. Pouting. Spitting. More pleading. More crying in the echo of Jurassic screams. Hugging it’s knees and rocking back and forth. It wants what it wants...though it hasn’t realized what that truly is yet.
I tried giving my heart things to calm it down. Denial in a beautifully wrapped package of relentless Hope. It was shiny and it made her smile, especially the little bow of Happy Endings. She played with it and slept with it even after it had faded and cracked. But...eventually she saw the tiny tag that said "Made in Reality"...and just freaked. Like Carrie at the Senior Prom.
And even though I knew I could just give her another one to distract her for another long while... it was always going to end up the same way. With another tantrum. Another cycle of sadness that never lessens no matter how many times it runs it’s course. And I knew she was beginning to really destroy herself with those. She was developing this tick.......
I didn’t know what to do.
Then I remembered that I too was hurting. Feeling rejected and confused and no longer myself. The myself I thought I had known and developed into something. That girl that was confident and spontaneous with an edge of wicked charisma. But, this girl that could make anyone smile had slowly turned into the girl that no one could make smile. A girl that didn’t have the energy to hide it anymore. The living dead amongst a crowd of Happy faces. Come on, this was not my version. In mine, the girl was never angry and had a content, emotionally stable heart.
I got pissed that I had to play babysitter when my heart was supposed to be the strong one. Before this I could always fall apart all over the place and I knew that sucker was gonna keep beating. It’s main job is muscle. My brute squad. It’s supposed to go around kicking in doors, saying, "This is what I want and this is how your going to go about gettin’ it for me". And then ever so valiantly, "Sorry about the door."
It was supposed to tell me what to do.
Instead I’m standing here, slowly shuffling in circles, like a homeless zombie. Not like zombies have homes, but I’m sure they did when they were living. Just as I did when I felt alive inside myself; this uncensored feeling of residence. Before the heater broke and this frozen hiatus kicked in. Plus a hole in the roof and it’s rained two days in a row. Figures, right. Cold and relentless to mirror my whole being. It’s like I’ve got that rain cloud on a string tied to my lungs and the heavier I breath the heavier it pours smack dab over top of me. And lightening strikes for effect. I’d add some thunder, but it’s already welling deep inside of me. Where the real storm is.
Without thinking, I yelled at my heart. I said horrible things and what was even more horrible is I wasn’t sure if I meant them or not. Things like, "I hate you" and "You’re so ugly". Words came out of my mouth that no doubt were carved on me internally centuries ago. Words that I learned by tracing my fingers on them as if they were my skin. There were all of these diseased adjectives that only I knew. An endless supply. After all, when graffiti had filled the inside of me, I used up a lifetime’s worth of pages writing them down so that I would never forget how I felt about myself. My own sacred diary of lullabies I would sing to myself to make it all not better. No wonder there was no light anymore. I had lyrics written over every window and mirror to my life long before I ever thought to look into them. So much so that when I look, it only reinforced the self-loathing, and I never had the chance to see underneath at what was real. And when you can’t see yourself clearly...how are you ever yourself? How do you ever have Light?
And how can your ever really know your heart? Well...my heart knew me, or whoever this was. My heart just so happened to know all of these old tunes. They had never really gotten old to me. Every time they played in my head it was like hearing them for the first time. And the beats were catchy. "Who could love you" and "You make me sick" were hit-listers. And I sang them at the top of my tied-and-gagged Lungs while my Heart tapped it's foot.
However, instead of withering and rotting like I had hoped... my Heart yelled back. Sat down. Gave me the finger. And stared. So I said, "Oh yeah?" And my Heart looked at me with Deniro-ish charm and said, "Yeeeeeeeeah." And we went at it. Twisting ears and pulling hair, we fought about who’s turn it was to keep it together. We played rock, paper, scissors. Best out of infinity. We slammed doors and turned over chairs. We pretended we couldn’t hear one another. For awhile we passed notes under the door. When we’d had it with each other there was a heavy, thick silence.
The silent treatment didn’t last long. Through all of the walls built up around us, the two of us could finally hear one another crying. And before I knew it we were in each others arms sincerely murmuring the same words:
"I’ll take care of you if no one else will."
Over and over. Our own personal mantra. And we shivered and cried together. When I thought my heart was dying I clutched my chest and held it. My heart thought I was dying, and she raced to keep me awake. But we weren’t dying. We were both awake creating new and improved sounds of the un-dead. Batting around a little ball of Loneliness with a couple of So Lost paddles. The two of us passed around boxes of tissues that we eventually used as blankets. Blankets that were truly Made in Reality.
Sometimes we made up new endings to our sad little story. That special piece of us we lost had returned and we were all happier than before. The three of us made blueberry waffles and napped on the couch intertwined. We danced and played and laughed. Just like we used to. We were complete again. Never again would we be foolish enough to lose it or any other piece again.
And then sometimes we didn’t have the energy for stories.
After a long, long while...there was a moment of complete emptiness.
The soul was patient. And silent. It had been sitting in a corner chair this whole time reading a book. It waited all of it out. The arguing, the mourning, the violence. The unyielding Depression. A grave Depression that had been so consuming, me and my heart hadn’t even noticed anyone else was there. Yet the soul had always been present.
Ever so slowly, long after the room had been ransacked and demolished by my heart and I, the soul looked up into the darkness. Since me and my out-of-work muscle were barely moving anymore, this subtle motion was like an earthquake. We jumped and muttered, "Oh my god...it’s just you, it’s just you, it’s just you..........................Who are you?"
Casually and with a tiny smirk, the Soul removed it’s glasses, closed the book with one hand and gently set it down. It’s demeanor led me to believe it was about to applaud. But it didn’t. It leaned forward. We leaned back. With it’s hands on it’s knees, the Soul stared at the two of us for a long, silent time. It looked pleased by whatever it saw. Every once in awhile it even chuckled and made sounds of approval. When I dared to catch it’s eyes, the soul made me feel pretty. Pretty in a way I had NEVER given myself the courtesy of. Not like "thank God I got a date to prom with this face" pretty...more like an "I am my own Light" kinda pretty. Yada yada yada.
This made me unbearably uncomfortable. I couldn’t imagine with puffy eyes and pouty faces my heart and I looked like much at all. I still felt like an empty shell that had caved in and been buried. Felt old. Used. Dry. But the Soul nodded and smiled as it watched my heart and I nervously glaring back at it. It seemed to be in awe. Then it took a long inhale, and calmly and playfully said:
The voice was the most soothing and loving sound I’d ever heard. I looked at my heart and my heart looked at me. We smiled and sighed.
"......no." We said in unison...and then hung our heads down in shame and embarassment. Damn it. We were pretty sure that was NOT the right answer. Too bad we never included the Brain in on any of this stuff.
I mean, here it was... my love, my truth, my Self finally right in front of me...and I couldn’t promise that I could let go of all those pieces I didn’t need anymore and excitedly hunt for new ones. I was scared. Terrified to strip myself of what I thought I knew and step outside, or inside rather, and say in a clear, confident voice, "This is me". Seriously, how could I do that, because I saw it as an incomplete statement. This is me. What is? Who is? I had too many questions. Still. Never mind knowing that I wasn’t getting any answers and that the phrase "This is me" is a True Sentiment. It is true already. Without definity. Without glamour. Without resolution. This. Is. Me.
I was so close. I know ALL of these things. I know all of the answers to all of the questions. So well that I could help anyone else find it. (*phone rings off the hook*)
Then I question something else I know the answer to. Why can’t I find it for myself? There is still SOMEHOW after all of my progress and inner searching...something I’m missing. *sigh* Glancing around at my scattered surroundings, I asked under my breath, "Where in the shit did I put it?". Because I know I put it somewhere I thought would make it easy for me to find it again. Doing this just proves how little I pretend to know about myself...because sure as it’s in Godzilla’s nature to destroy his environment, I don’t make anything easy for myself. My Tokyo is full of screaming people and fire. When of course it would’ve been much easier to come in Peace.
My heart has fallen asleep at this point.
I look up at my Soul. Apparantly it is still smiling. It’s eyes are lit up with Trust and Love. Of me. For a moment I am sarcastically reflective on this odd gesture. (I would’ve raised an eyebrow if it was genetically possible.) But the truth is, I feel it like a faint breeze on a summer day that still filtrates and sings through your entire body. It is Divine. Every time I’m about to roll my eyes about what a lost cause I turned out to be, I am calmed. Something makes me think that it is part of my journey to suffer and truly feel darkness. Not because I feel I deserve it. I don’t. I would be doing it for a reason bigger than myself. So that once it is over, and I have found the Light that resides within me, I will have the wisdom to show others their Light. Through my Light I will show you yours.
It’s a beautiful thought. However, even with this quick inspiration, I realize I’m still jump-roping with Sadness. And skinned knees.
My darkness is still defiantly lingering after all this time. My knowledge is growing, but not yet Wise.
My soul touches me and whispers, "It’s Okay," without the slightest annoyance or frustration. As if it has some minor errands to run while it waits for me. No biggie. It wipes my eyes and cups my face in it’s hands. I feel like a flu-ridden chipmunk.
"When I look at you" she says, "...................I see Life."
I hold my breath and my eyes well up with oceans. My throat makes gagging noises. I blink and feel the cold of my tears stream down my face in a beautiful slow motion. And she holds me there until she sees her words sinking in. Anchoring me in resolution.
I am still.
When she knows I understand her, she backs off. She sits back in the chair, puts her glasses back on and picks up her book. She is content in doing so, I can tell, which amazes me. Content to wait. That is a whole new lesson for me.
My Soul has transformed in these last few minutes with me. Almost as if from adult to child. She has pigtails now and is wearing pajamas. And she hums as she reads. Joy. The word comes to me effortlessly. No...it isn’t a word...it’s a name. I like it. I start using it in sentences. Have you met Joy? Joy is here with me. I think it’s wonderful Joy likes to read. And then I noticed the title of the book.
The Missing Peace
by Lisa Dawn Foertsch
And as I scooped my tired heart up into my lap...I couldn’t help but wonder if there were pictures."