It’s been awhile since I’ve written.
Most of what I’ve written lately has been sporadic pennings on a journal page, or in my poetry notebook. I’ve zipped myself shut for the silliest of reasons, but one I could not avoid. A monster in my closet with a double-fisted threat that steals all my breath and energy.
Fear. And its twin Shame.
I read Divergent this weekend. It’s odd how fiction can echo things you see in life. Stories are important, I’ve decided.
The past while I’ve spent drowning in fear. It treads my every footstep, a constant shadow, and its twin Shame covers the places Fear has missed. The both of them work together, laughing and taunting as they tie the ropes that keep me solidly inside of myself. Old, old patterns churn around and around and I stare at them, shaking.
I am crazy. I am acting crazy. No one would act as crazy as me, so I should keep it to myself. Shame sticks to me like a cold, icy blanket.
Furthermore, wanting and needing things will only get me in trouble. Conform. Stick to what I know. Get comfortable fitting in the shape of someone else’s skin. I blink wide chameleon eyes in a quest for acceptance. To deviate means destruction.
“What if I’ve always been, good enough in my skin, good enough in my skin?”
Maria Mena’s voice creaks under the record needle of the slim strand of truth still accessible to my mind.
They all want me to stay quiet. I am Beatrice in Abnegation. Always helpful, subservient, looking for approval. Giving away myself to someone else, not because they want it… because I am afraid. Being myself means losing the other person. This is my pattern, in the kaleidoscope of relationships in my life. I twist myself to conform to what they want.
My fears shake me and I react. Pounding heart, sweaty palms, I dissociate so far away from myself that I become unrecognizable, a tiny point of my former self. “Stay quiet, no one wants you to speak up, when you speak up, you lose. They will hate you for what you want. You will be alone.”
The crows come. I can’t lose control.
But recently I’m learning a different way. I read a simple quote last week. “Creative action, rather than destructive reaction.” This is my mantra. Creative Action. Do. Not. React.
I am Tris, Dauntless, in a simulation with all my fears hurtling themselves toward me. My pulse is pounding. But if you’ve read Divergent, you know how to transform simulations.
You don’t react. Not to the fear. You create something different, a new pathway. Strength. You shake in your boots, and then you change the picture. Or you calm down. Receptive to fear. Either way, you don’t react.
I’m learning. Feel fear. And do. not. react. Get creative. Change the picture. Transform fear.
It is the hardest thing I have ever done. To feel fear playing my heartstrings, clouding my mind with trembling terror, tricking me into believing the Universe does not care. That I will always be alone and it is useless to ask for what I want because even if I do get it, it will be taken away. “Just stay quiet,” the fear says. “If you smother yourself, maybe you won’t want something that will hurt everyone else.”
But I want to breathe. I want to live. And the only way through fear is the very thing that is the most scary. It’s something I wrote in a transformative poem that spoke through me after a meditation 2 years ago.
“You are not incarcerated by fear.
The key is in the space
and the door.
There is no distance between you and freedom.”
Breathe. Do not react. Open. Feel the space. Breathe. Feel the fear, feel the vast, immense space, and breathe open. Create – strength. Tremble with the fear – receive and stay open to it.
I am not just strength. I am not just receptivity. I am Tris, Dauntless. And I am Tris, Abnegation. Brave. AND selfless. Strength AND receptive. I have a voice. And I can use it with skill.
And in the space, the space between fear and reaction – is freedom.
“What if I’ve always been, good enough in my skin, good enough in my skin…”
I am still here.