3am. I wake and feel startled. my throat feeling the familiar strain that only stress can bring. Restricted vocal chords, a tight air supply, my heavy chains are once again dragging. It's a fine balance between sounding mad and whiny yet exposing my hearts reality. This is a snapshot of what my world has felt like for a long time. But I’m making changes. Big changes. Life altering kinds of change (more on that in upcoming posts). I was recently involved in a workshop and my instructor asked me to photograph and write about my greatest fear. I had to think about it for awhile. So much to choose from. Fears, who doesn't have them?! Should I start by photographing myself on a high ladder to show my fear of falling? My recurring nightmare that I am back in elementary school and the only clothes I have are a pair of pajamas and everyone is staring at me. Oh, and here's a good one, the dream where all my teeth fall out. As you can see, the ideas were a rollin' in. But when I actually sat down to write, a whole other part of me spilled out. Here I was, face to face with some of my greatest unspoken fears. This is what I posted for my assignment.
Perhaps my greatest fear is being alone, yet when I'm surrounded by people I need to be alone. I live in a virtual tug of war of push pull, of getting close yet keeping distant. Do I need to stand alone or is it better to be held? Do I want my cup filled or emptied to quench this impossible thirst? I'm opinionated, but silent. The peacemaker that hides the hell raiser. A vow keeper, a trusted true with stab wounds in my back. But I continue to trust, i must trust, I keep trust marching on. What if I never find my courage? What if I keep doing what makes others happy without filling my own need? Will I die by being strangled in my own safety harness? My greatest fear is that I will never come out from the shadows and let myself be seen, known or heard for who I really am.
Isn't it amazing that in a few short words someone can speak into your life such soul rich words. Here is my instructors response.
This totally hit me in the guts:
Will I die by being strangled in my own safety harness?
The answer, is yes. Not just you, but me, and everyone. We choke on all of the words we want to say. We get chronic pain from all of the secrets we absorb, calcifying. Our hearts break and our wells run dry. But. The good news is, at any time we can step out of the harness. There are no knots, no locks, no cages. At any moment, we are free. You are brave. Repeat 100x tomorrow “I am brave. I am free. I am alive."
For the next several days I found myself repeating over and over, “I am brave. I am free. I am alive.” “I am brave. I am free. I am alive.” "I am brave. I am free. I am alive.” Then more words came. “I am acceptable. I am loved. I matter.” “I am capable of great things. My stuck words will be free. I can capture beauty.” “I will let myself be loved and cherished." " I will open my wings and soar with the wind. Soar really high, high into the sky, up and up.” My chant was reaching the heavens and it was unraveling this heavily woven tapestry that represented my chains. I felt myself step out of my safety harness, that "safety net" that was choking the life force out of me. Ya, that thing, I walked away from it.
Sometimes you just have a take a bold leap of faith.