Each of us, as we grew up, probably had a place – whether real or imaginary – to which we went when we felt scared or threatened or terrified – somewhere we felt protected and safe. And for some of us, there was a very real place to which we were banished if we misbehaved in any way and to any degree. Did anyone ever say to you, à la W. C. Fields, “Go away kid. You bother me.”? Were you ever sent to your room?
In my childhood home, the place to which I was sent was the dark and stuffy closet built into the wall under the stairs leading up to the second floor of the house. Oh, there was a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling and I was too small to reach it to turn the light on. And so, if my presence bothered my father, I would be exiled to this tiny, dank, stultifying, and terrifying place. I rarely knew what I had done to merit such punishment. I rarely knew how long my sentence was to be. I worried that I would be forgotten and not let out. I couldn’t let myself out or I’d face more punishment.
I remember crying against the sentence pronounced on me, promising that I would be good only, “Please don’t make me sit in the closet!” I remember sitting huddled against the back wall of the closet crying because I was so scared. I remember feeling that I couldn’t breathe. I remember feeling as if the walls were closing in on me so the space was getting tighter. Is it any wonder that total unremitting darkness scared me, that I felt edgy in small spaces, and that noise, even from the television playing two rooms away helped me feel calm?
And today, March 20, 2017, I own that that was how I felt. I own that the strategies I put in place as a child in order to survive in the closet have been running my life and I’m no longer a child. I own that I have tried to outrun my fear; that I’ve told myself, à la Leonard’s mother, “Suck it up, sissy pants!”; that I’ve tried to be rational and ‘adult’; that I’ve lived in my head; that I’ve told myself that all I survived as a child didn’t matter anymore yet it was still there.
Today, March 20, 2017, I own that I have come out of the closet. I own that I no longer choose to go there. I own that how I feel is right and true for me. I own that the choices I make are right and true for me. I own that I am a being of light. I own that how I choose to live in each breath is a reflection of the absolute essence of who I know mySelf to be. I own that I no longer feel anticipation coupled with fear. I own that I feel anticipation and excitement.
Can it get any better than that? Nope! And most definitely, yup!
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