Wednesday, May 29, 2013

the fear

Two more days. Two more days and I turn 32 years old.

I type this and then I shake my head to clear the static. But yeah, 32. Here we are.

I didn't see it coming. Not once, not ever. I can remember random days of cafeteria sitting in school, the strange agony of time and how she seemed utterly unmoving. I recall going to bed or walking through my grandmother's backyard while trying to move it all mentally. I agonized over the snail pace in most of my journals. I listened to radio hits and imagined the mythical day when I would be driving, or going out dancing or kissing someone without threat of curfew. The magical unrealness of the future. I pined for it.

I said yes to many things, and sometimes I said nothing and just went with it. The experience. I decided early on to experience everything I could because I knew I wanted to write, and I knew that I required a deep well to draw from. I fell for the misunderstood, musicians with tempers and criminals with hearts as soft as new mud. I swooned over new cities, dragging my hand along an unfamiliar wall as if to leave some sort of mark, or to let the place mark me. I professed things at terrible hours. Held on in a tangle. There is so much, this history. We all have them. And they are all strange and crooked and beautiful. I'm taking another step into my third decade, and I am proud to call this life mine. All the heartache and missteps, all the things that took my breath away. I desire this next year to be inspiring, for the wheel to stay firmly in my hands.

Recently I read something along the lines of "Everything you want is on the other side of fear." My goal for the 32nd year is to cross the bridge and tug the ends together to meet. To blow fear out of the water.

In June I have the privilege of attending The Pink Door Retreat, a three day writing retreat for women writers. I was, honestly, incredibly scared to pony up and register for this. There is this funny, ridiculous aspect to fear...I can point to it and say the word. I can identify what it does to my sympathetic system. But to explain why? To state exactly what I am afraid of? Can't do it. There is no worst case scenario to cause my hesitation...it is just the self standing in the way of self. It's a wall made of tissue. Yet still I agonized over my decision to register for the retreat.

Much love to my inksister Renee who listened patiently as I went back and forth over why I should or shouldn't embark on this particular adventure. She is always gentle and wonderful enough to point out that the fear isn't me. This is, after all, what I love the most. This is what I do; this is the ink that keeps my veins blue. This is beautiful, exquisite opportunity.

So I signed up and sent in my money. I did this officially at 12:03am, 3 minutes after registration officially opened. I was not going to let fear get the best of me--I wasn't going to miss this. I felt my heart start racing when I saw my name in the list of participants. Done deal. I'll be there with my tent and notebooks with 43 other women. How startling, the calm that came over me when I faced it.

This year there will be no tea or turned down beds for the ghosts that like to stay with me. They are no longer welcome. They are exhaled into a dissipating tendril that travels up and up and out of the room for good. I'm done. I'm done rocking the past in my arms, done reapplying bandages to skin that would heal if I just left it alone. I am not a quick decision or yellowed page. I am a person. I am a universe. I am not what happened to me, though I know those lessons. History is not a dagger in my back and I am not scar tissue around it. I've made it this far and I have nothing to lose.

Dear self: Honey, listen. No fear this year. And if there is, you're going to walk right through. You're gonna turn yourself machete and slice that fucker in two.

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