Imagine brushing hair from your eyes. Or going through a dense jungle, and pushing aside vines and hanging moss. Or swimming through the thick and salty ocean, reaching your hands forward to clear a way through a bank of seaweed. Or walking from room to room to room, pushing through curtains, some heavy and tenebrous, like dank velvet, others shredded and fluttering, light as air, but still, obscuring what’s ahead.
Some days that is my experience of being, living my life but straining, or wandering, pushing forward, trying to get a better look, trying to see the whole view, or as my friend Lindsey would say, trying to see A Design So Vast.
I do feel that I have been lost in the woods the past four years. There was something so dreadfully definite about being pushed off my roost into a cataclysmic storm of change. I often feel this strange, haunting guilt about the fact that I still feel so tender. I still feel confused, like I’m blinking into a strange new sun.
But bit by little bit, I am getting to clear. I know that is a Scientology term, but I am no Scientologist. Where dianetics is about learning to master and disconnect from painful and other reactive experiences, so you can live wholly in the now and in the rational (and, I suppose, then garner the prize of believing you are an ubermensch, and thus all the fame, fortune and etc. that supposedly comes with mastering the universe), I am about deeply connecting with those experiences, so I can become ever more tragically, romantically, misguidedly human.
And so see more clearly.
The more clearly I see, the more deeply I love, and forgive, and experience, and connect. No stories to be told, no histories to shed, no anxieties to burrow away from.
Seeing that photo of myself so “untouched” and alive threw me for a loop last week. I had a reaction that that woman in the photo was gone. But through some great, wise comments from my excellent friends and readers, I was able to synthesize, to “integrate,” as my therapist would call it, and recognize her as me, in a hundred different ways. What is gone, however, is the fantasy woman that photo represented for me: That if I could get successful enough, get sparkly enough, get smart enough, that I would be able to find my safe place, and be untouched by the heartaches of life. That is why my reaction was so extreme, because I was facing the end, the final, definitive end, of that dream and that fantasy, that had held me up and supported me through thirty-odd years of my life.
But truly, now, more than ever, I see that there is love and support all around me, all the time. And I am starting to trust that my wounds do not keep me from love—they lead me to it. The spots where I am tender and soft are like open mouths, trying to drink in the nectar of uncertainty, to fuel themselves with magic and mystery and grace, when the pathways I was building before were meant to create a fortress, a fortress that would never be able to stand up to the forces that life threw my way.
More and more I know there is nothing to see past those curtains I’ve been trying to clear, that I am in the clearing already. I am at home in myself in a way I never was before, and those moments that I am lured by my old constructions of safety are, in fact, the occlusions.
I am getting to clear, and it feels transcendent. It is not a feeling I can dwell in all day, as there are more wordly and earthbound matters to be tended to, and the mundane often carries more weight in our daily considerations.
But to know that my heart has always been the same means that I have always been home, even if I spent years, decades, believing I had to earn the right to deserve it.