The absence of the words that were mine stilled the air. Silence far from golden, more dust gathering in the place where words spoken provided voice and freedom, no judgments of words gathered from my heart full of emotion. Sitting, swaying for comfort, flood of tears, hands covering my aching heart. Grief redirected the flow, momentarily stuck in time gathering memories keeping them vivid then locking them away to be let out of the box another day. Words gathered around me so tight begging me to speak by mouth, by pen or keyboard—even silently spoken in my mind would do. I stayed frozen as the lakes I once ice skated upon as a child, on which I played broom ball with my college crew. My small but tough frame pounding the ice in the battle for the ball. On this day off from work, it was life pounding at me from every side–holidays, birthdays, birth of a grandchild, joyous events, now spent distanced from my Loves. It hurt too much to cry more, so I went into my freeze response.
As a small child I had been held down, traumatized with no escape, my small frame not able to push back. The mask I wore then allowed me to breathe, to survive, to live momentarily in the illusion that no one had harmed me, that no one could see just how damaged my interior was. Life once again has me feeling boxed in, keeping me frozen in place. The mask now visible, covering half of my face. Masks required to be worn whenever we step out of the boxes we live in.
A house has walls, but home has no boundaries. Home is where we each feel loved, cherished, embraced, never judged, welcomed. Home is our center, where each of us is free to be our best self. If I couldn’t physically go where I felt most at home surrounded by my Loves, I needed to find home within me and steady my soul. Whether it was the feeling of bursting, the soft velvety cushion of the purple chair with fluffy pillows, the quiet, the string lights glowing in the dark, the tv episodes of love, of birth, I wasn’t certain. What I am certain of is that words reside in me and I in them.
Words, dreams, visions beneath my icy surface. I vowed to keep the words by my side. Further time and added comfort, I wrapped my written words around me, speaking more words aloud, through my tears and aching heart. No expectation but to be myself, to flow as I might, whatever pattern or motion was taken, accepted, not judged. The words kept telling me to practice because, you see, when a certain lot of them escaped to play, more and more of them were welcomed. Hand in hand they arrived, some dancing, some weeping, some laughing. All of them free flowing as the river, smoothing out the stones, flowing, flowing to the ocean, some crashing at the shore or against the rocks jutting out of the water. Never drowning but pushing me up above the water floating safely in the vast unknown, yet here with my words, I was home.
What pulls me out from underneath the ice or keeps me from drowning in the pain and challenges of life? Conversations with my (adult) children; unexpected texts or phone calls with a friend, Sister Love or brothers; quiet at work (mind at ease, no expectations or deadlines); a crying friend in need; a spontaneous invitation to spend the afternoon in good conversation; my favorite piece of art; visions and dreams–seeing words on every surface within my view; snuggles and kisses from my dog nephew; and so much more. The last blocks of ice being chiseled away or thawed.
Whether you call it stubbornness or determination, I don’t know how to give up. There is still much in me to write, and I continue to write every day. Writing is one outlet that improves my expressions of raw emotions versus locking my feelings inside. Whether I share a piece or keep it in my journal just for me, writing steadies my soul and keeps me standing. Yes, with the proper footwear I can take my position, step out and walk in my purpose. Forward. Soul and soles in sync. Home indeed.