Things I Am No Longer Afraid Of
Things I am no longer afraid of:
I am no longer afraid of waking up alone to my thoughts. I’m no longer afraid to sit still or to rest.
I’m no longer afraid of being who I am becoming. I’m convinced I like her and it’s only in my acceptance of her that I will ever get to experience the full spectrum of what I was created to enjoy.
So I’m not afraid to enjoy — each thing and moment — no longer convinced that each will be taken away. I relish in slow movement and slow mornings; I look around me and fully see; I feast on what is given and fully taste. I believe now in resting, not hiding — retreating to coffee shops to write and reflect, not to escape but to fully understand and to feel. To fiercely protect the intimacy I am building with myself and with the God who made me.
I’m not afraid of being alone with myself. I’m not afraid of the thoughts I might have, of long hours every night spent turning and whirling in my head. Now, I sleep. I don’t stay up so late anymore — I don’t read books or watch television shows in an attempt to forget or to numb. I don’t stay out late drinking or dancing in dark places, don’t find significance or value in getting what I want from someone else. I’m not searching outside of myself for significance. I’m not afraid that the dark around me is endless. I’ve been born into a light that can’t be turned off and that pierces every situation I face.
I don’t walk crowded city blocks anymore, pounding out my pain in the sidewalks while I charge onward towards nowhere, headphones in with sad, slow music to mimic the slow sadness of my heart. My blood no longer pumps slowly like maple syrup, heavy with unforgiveness and pain. Now, I can feel it — with my hand on my chest, it’s there beneath the surface, beating quickly. I am alive again, I can feel it. No longer looking down but up. Less fight, more surrender. I don’t ride crowded subway trains feeling so alone. Instead, I feel thankful for the hundreds of train-journaled-pages written in underground tunnels that built a map of words I could follow to find my way home.
I am learning to be my own best friend, to enjoy what I think and say and how I say it. I’m learning to delight in even those things I’d berate myself for in anguish or made me turn red in the face — the pitch of my laughter, my never-straightened knees, my need for authentic connection and disinterest in surface-level chatter.
No longer lonely, no longer anxious, no longer pleading with myself to figure it out. Desperate, lonely pleading turned to lying on a tiled floor in Brooklyn, looking skyward acknowledging a God I wasn’t yet sure I wanted to trust. Tiled floor sacrifices turned to interstate journeys and real prayers, filled now not with anxiety but with faith.
I lived the lives of so many people in different states, different seasons. We got out of those places together — me, myself, and I. We survived Los Angeles and New York City, one car, multiple train lines, four apartments, two houses, and two coasts. One major heartbreak, a scatter of could-be- loves and almost-loves and definitely-not-loves — and a friendship that turned into marriage which turned into the redemption of the rest. And did most of it with more baggage than the suitcases I packed to tote behind me. For years I did not know how to move forward without bringing it with me, until one day I did. I have never felt this light.
I’m not ashamed of who I’ve been. I’m not embarrassed by the choices she made or the way she chose to protect herself, the way she sought after life and joy — even when in the wrong places. Eventually, she got it right. I got it right, eventually. There is nothing you can tell me that would take away the beauty of a broken heart that journeys towards home; there is not one fact that could cause me to question the exact path God himself laid for me to find.
And maybe this is the gift of a new decade becoming: the freedom to love and accept the person you are no longer beholden to be — the peace that descends when Love has gone deep to rebuild the ruins from the inside out, freeing one to move forward, unsteady no longer, strong on her feet.
No shame behind me and no fear before: this is the gift of a decade turning, of ten years being put to rest. This is the grace of falling in love with your own becoming; without deflecting or justifying. I believe now that I am something, that I am full and not empty. I am ready, eyes wide, and arms open — knowing full well I have already conquered so much, knowing there is no where my God won’t go with me.