In the past year I changed so much about my life that just to list all of the changes seems to trivialize them. Or, perhaps, enlarge them unduly, since most of the changes seemed to flow naturally and with much less stress than I would have expected.
At the same time, I battled inwardly and outwardly for control of the very life I was changing. The process of fighting to lead my own life against one who claimed my very essence was a sickness resulted in my closing off parts of myself.
It was a survival strategy. Once I felt safe, I began to re-open those parts of myself. And beginning to open those parts of myself back up helped me end the year with a stronger sense of flow than of battle.
But in spending time alone I’ve realized that there’s something I loved so much about myself when I first came out to myself. I loved how soft and open I felt inside. I loved that feeling so much. I loved the sense of possibility that came with that innate trust. It was a trust I had not felt in recent memory, and in fact it was a sense of trust that I had actively tried to root out of my life. To discover it as a part of my core identity made me happier than I can describe.
Well, that openness, that softness, that trust, it’s been ragged around the edges in the past year. At best it’s been ragged around the edges, that is – more commonly it’s been locked away.
It’s almost like the process of really coming out where it was scariest led me to lock in the closet the part of my lesbian identity that really meant the most to me. The openness, the softness, the trust. Yes, I came out and stayed out where it counted. And I did it with a combination of strength and dexterity that I think reflected well on my character – and kept my life stable even as my psyche, my morals, my sobriety, and my capacity to be a mother fell under sustained attack.
But to survive, even as an out lesbian, I had to hide. Or at least I felt I had to. Perhaps that’s not the case. Perhaps the kind of openness and softness and trust that I discovered could have stood me in good stead as I faced the onslaught. I don’t know, because I didn’t try. I just hid those parts away.
And in the last couple of days, especially today, I am bringing it all back. I want, in this year, to be open. To be soft. To trust. And I want to do this in a world where I was trained to see denying one’s truth, to see unfeeling strength, and to see mistrust as virtues.
How will I face the experiences that lie ahead? How can I live from that open, soft, trusting place I found inside of me over six years ago now? I have some ideas about how to find my way practically, and I look forward to implementing them. I have some ideas, too, about how to find inner openness and trust where I have felt most emotionally abused.
And I want to be soft, open, trusting, with every breath. Every step. Every gesture. Every note sung.
Happy New Year.