I’m Still Here

Source: Bibliofiend.com

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
between you
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.

15 Replies to “I’m Still Here”

    1. Self-acceptance is the hardest. :/ I’ve been learning self compassion, too. I tend to HATE myself for even freaking out, for feeling the fears that I do. I tend to shut down instead. It’s hard to see my fears, be honest with them, and accept them. I don’t want to, either. But I’m trying…

      1. I admire you for trying. At the moment I am reacting, resisting, and probably a bunch of other ‘re-‘ words which mean I *am* a dickhead after all.

        I’m impressed by your determination to be creative in your way forward. Bravo. If it was worth a jot, I’d stand up and clap.

      2. Oh girl, believe me… it has taken me quite awhile to get to the spot where I just watch the fear and stop reacting to it. It is HARD and it does not mean that you are a dickhead if that’s what you’re doing. I think it’s fairly human. I think you’re wonderful, anyway. 🙂
        I am trying! Hence, the writing. 🙂 and it is worth a jot, it is to me. Thank you.

  1. Beautiful, heart-felt writing as always, Laurie. I can relate. Oh, how I can relate to fear and shame. But you know what the antithesis to fear is? Naming it, just as you are. Breaking that heavy cloud into smaller, very specific pieces. This is a transformative process and unconditional self-compassion is just ’round the corner. I’ve been practicing not abandoning myself when I make a mistake. It’s weird, and so different to the self-abandonment I have practiced for so long, but it is wonderful. Thank you for sharing your journey. You are not alone. I consider you one of the bravest women I ‘know.’ Xxx

  2. ***Breathe. Do not react. Open. Feel the space. Breathe. Feel the fear, feel the vast, immense space, and breathe open.***

    I understand. I am trying to breathe, smile, live.

    xxx Fabulous writing.

  3. I read a quote recently that said, “We get what we think we deserve.” It’s been my life long struggle to think I deserve more than fear and shame but I recognize the lie now. What really transformed me was realizing that it’s not all on my shoulders to think the right things in order for good to show up in my life. Love and light is everywhere and amazingly wonderful things happen for me whether I’m in a foul place mentally or not. That space where I feel the fear but breathe through it, that’s the space where I open up to what’s already there waiting for me. It sounds like you’re there too. xo

  4. Hi Laurie, I’ve been following your blog for a little while now (found via Sarah Somewhere), and I just gotta say wow and thank you for this post. I can so relate to this. I’m struggling so much with my fear in a particular situation right now. This quote: “stay quiet, no one wants you to speak up, when you speak up you lose… ” is exactly my fearful reaction to this situation. You have articulated my feelings so well here. Well, you are not alone, that is for sure. I am trying to change the picture and shift my energy into a new direction rather than waste that same energy on being frustrated and angry with the status quo. Creative action, YES! It is so damn hard though! I’ll try to remember to breathe. Thank you for sharing all that you do. You’ve now also inspired me to read/see “Divergent”.

  5. I am glad you’re back. I’m not doing a great job of coping with my fear today…but I know it’s possible and the tools are there if I open up to using them.

  6. SUCH a good song. Haven’t listened to it in a while.
    And I feel like I used to be very good at reframing my fear into more productive energies… I need to put myself in scary situations again, just to test that, I think.

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