I’ve only begun to listen to myself recently , and I’ve discovered aspects of myself that I had no idea existed. As if I am just witnessing my birth, listening to the songs of praise on my mother’s lips, and allowing myself to suck in the warmth of my father’s cuddles. I have unearthed both good and unpleasant things, some exciting, some of them downright terrifying; some driving me to the edge of questioning my existence, and who I really want to create in the little things that are my bones and ashes.
Things that have made me so proud that I’ve taken a moment to celebrate myself. Things that have made me want to crawl out of my skin, to chew my tongue, and hide in the deepest recesses of my mind.
Listening to myself terrifies me because it’s meeting myself in my rawest form. It is sitting in front of a panel of many versions of myself, hearing and seeing things through their eyes. Watching them judge me, or clap me, or rebuke me for the things they warned me about,
I have seen myself sad, happy, furious, anxious, scared, grateful and everything in between.
And as I listen, I realize how much of myself I’ve been neglecting. I notice the lovely woven pieces I’ve been blind to. That I’ve been standing on the sidelines watching my life unfold, and now it’s time for me to get involved. Gently, so as not to injure pieces of me that are healing, proudly embracing those that have held my pieces together while fighting to release myself from everything that has kept me captive from the grace that is my own life.
Like fear, the chain around my ankle that’s sworn to keep me in my comfort zone, pulling me behind whenever my heart starts beating for things out of my norm. Like happiness, or freedom, or calm, or the in-between.
I’ve always carried fear in my pockets, and on days I wear pocket-less dresses, I carry it in my hands like a tank of extra oxygen. I see it more than anything on my body, and I know it better than the stretch marks on my thighs.
I’ve served it, kneeled in front of it, and been crowned with it. I’ve smelled it more than flowers or coffee, and I’ve had days when it was overwhelmingly heavy on my shoulders.
I know its feeding time because I’ve been the honey it sucked on. I know when it’s lonely because I’ve been its best friend, nursing and caring for it when I needed me the most.
I have intimately experienced fear in all its forms and dimensions, doubling up as the fragrance I wear so boldly, carrying a taste of nostalgia in the air I breathe.
I am afraid of getting attached to things that won’t last. Of loving someone who is not mine to keep, working hard for a job that’s not meant for me or making a home in the hearts of those who are only passing by.
I am afraid of things I haven’t lost yet. Of things people don’t talk about, and the bomb that lurks behind every unspoken word. I am afraid, always, of facing the pieces of me that still bleed and the emptiness left by lost pieces, craving to be filled by something more permanent.
I am afraid of the sun setting on me when my day is just beginning. Of things falling in the wrong places when I have it all right in my head. I am afraid of missing people whom I can’t have by my side. Of a love that will empty me, of places that hold hurt memories and dreams that carry nightmares.
I am afraid of storms I do not know how to calm, of pain I do not know how to carry. Of happiness traded for heartaches. Of bad things that could happen to good people on good days.
But I am learning to love myself enough to sit in my shadow and listen to the chaos and silence therein. To believe in myself and the big dreams that I carry. To accept that I am deserving of everything good, and I don’t have to poison it with fear.
To understand that some things will crumble even after years of labor, some take time to create, and others require a bit more effort to get them up and stable. That it’s okay to fail, to get all the Nos slammed in my face when I desperately need a Yes.
On days when the elevator is too slow to open, I am learning to take the stairs. To get off trains that are too slow for my pace. To be at peace with the endings that come at the beginning, because I’ve learned that some promises aren’t meant to last forever.
That some things, no matter how much we love and want them, always manage to slip out of our grasp.
I’m learning that though scary, some journeys must be undertaken alone. That some things will always shatter, no matter how hard I try to hold them together, and some days I will find myself unprepared for the worst.
That I will never be able to prevent some things from happening, and even without my sharp edges sticking out, I will be a thorn in some people’s sides.
So I am learning to walk, explore, and live without being held back by the hand of fear, because no matter how much I cling to it, I’m bound to make mistakes. To hurt others and me. To be wrong in God’s and my eyes. That, even if I have no idea what the future holds, I still have control over it.
I’m learning that of all the journeys I’d ever take, the journey to oneself is the hardest but also the most rewarding. That before the roller coaster, walking home to myself will be an uphill climb.
That beneath fear is an unlived life.
About the author:
Gracey Eunice is a Special needs teacher by profession, committed to raising disability awareness, a digital marketer by training, with a great niche in content creation, and a writer by passion. She finds solace in writing and peace in telling stories about her, mental health and things happening in her environment. Her headaches, she says, are from smiling too much.
If not on her blog, The Mirrored Voice, you can always read her on her Facebook page @Gracey Eunice.