Friday, August 24, 2012

Collision

For years I lived in two worlds. In one world, I was myself, most of the time. I thought what I wanted to think. I did what I wanted to do. I breathed in the ease of being myself.

In my other world, I was my parents’ child. I said what they wanted to hear. I behaved how they wanted me to behave. I did what they said. I worried a lot.

The world where I breathed easily was mostly in my head. I thought all kinds of thoughts, but the other world bled over into it too often to ignore. I couldn’t get settled.

Over time it just became so difficult to live that interior life that I began to let it slip away. I was their child, his wife, their mother, the good Christian, the stay at home mom, the baker, the seamstress . . . and on and on.

I broke.

He asked me, “How did you used to feel?” And I answered, “Afraid.”

“Not all the time?”

“Yes. All the time.” But that wasn’t quite true. Sometimes, alone in my head, I wasn’t afraid.

I’ve spent nearly 12 years trying to learn to breathe in the ease of being myself all the time, not just in my head. It’s been a long road. Recently I passed a milestone of sorts.

I sent a letter to them. I told them the unvarnished truth of what they’d done and how badly it had hurt at the time, and how much it still hurts. I never dreamed I’d say those things to them. I was terrified the sun would fall from the sky. I’d stop existing. The world would cease to spin on its axis.

None of that happened. The world is still here. I am still breathing.

Nothing changed, except I wrote the truth. My two worlds collided and neither one ceased to exist.

They still live in their world, but I’m breathing easier in mine.

What happens when you brace for a collision and it’s almost imperceptible?

I’ve asked myself over and over for the past week, why did I wait so long?

The answer is actually quite simple – I had to get to the place where I wouldn’t be surprised by their non-reaction. I had to understand whatever I did was for myself, and I was worth facing the fear of collision.



linking up at Red Writing Hood

8 comments:

  1. My first reaction was that there was such power in this piece. I found it interesting then to go back and look again at smaller sections of it and find that at no time do you embellish any bit of it. It is plain spoken truth and that is where its power comes from.

    The line....They still live in their world, but I’m breathing easier in mine.
    almost made me cheer for you. It feels victorious.

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    1. I am so humbled when people use words like "power" in response to my words. I think you hit though -- the power is in the truth. Thank you.

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  2. Breathing easy in life. A beautiful phrase full of freedom and hope. Thanks for putting all these thoughts into words for us to appreciate.

    Visiting from Write on Edge.

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  3. congratulations on reaching this point. It can only get easier to breathe here on in.

    Beautiful, strong essay.

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  4. You write powerfully and with strength of the challenges you have in your life. It is good that your are breathing easier in life.

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  5. Stark and truthful collision here. Being easier with ourselves is a miraculous kind of freedom.

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  6. Whoever said women were the weaker sex didn't know you. The strength to live your life may not have come easily for you, but this piece proves it's no less a victory. Best wishes!

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    1. Thank you for this. I am stronger than I ever imagined and surrounded by crazy people as well!

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