I have been away awhile trying to grasp the reality of my life. I keep telling myself that everyone goes through ups and downs with the ebbs and flows of our existence. However, just like in adolescence there is always a long period of time where you feel that the problems you face are yours alone, never to be burdened by others. The isolation that envelops remains solidly in place for what feels like centuries. Never, have I ever experienced such internal grief, loneliness and shame. I wonder why as a woman their is such an internal expectation to be perfect? I never realized just how much I felt the need to have my womanhood validated until a single word glowed on a purple stick one November evening.
The time had finally come for me and I was going to be this new person. I was going to obtain this rite of passage that would solidify my mark and guarantee my place amongst my gender. I had dreams and images of a tiny ghost that would follow me around, asking lots of questions, making silly sounds, revealing unbelievable truths and bringing forth enormous laughter. So much laughter. I don’t think I ever realized how much I smiled. My face was a permanent image of happiness, warmth and success. I was going on a life changing adventure and it was real and it was the most wonderful time of my life.
11 weeks later, reality stepped in to inform me that I was in fact, dreaming. Of course! Why would I ever think that I deserve that kind of happiness, joy or validation? I discovered that I am not a perfect woman. My femininity had failed me. My body was broken. Somehow, I wasn’t surprised. How could I ever expect to be given such a beautiful gift? I felt myself falling in and out of time, not knowing if I was coming or going. Soon, sorrow came to visit, and decided to remain as a roommate alongside the darkness in my mind. Its very cold here.
As time passed, I slowly began to hide the shame away and push through the cold. I heard many stories from others who were like me, suffering in silence and shame. Wondering why they had to remember angels and hope for rainbows. Even though their stories helped me to feel that I was not alone, the darkness inside my head never went away. Mainly because my heart was in pieces scattered under my feet, like shards of glass, scratching and scarring as I stumbled through this new reality.
There was only one way to get out bed, go to work, smile and appear thankful for my haunted dreams: I borrowed courage. I borrowed from others, from faith, my spouse and surprisingly from despair. It gets easier, as one learns to endure pain. Pain changes, it morphs into a dull ache and finally a numb tingle, that flares up, every blue moon, or when you read a similar story or hear a tiny wail for their mothers embrace.
I just have to hold on and keep picking out the peppered pieces of crimson glass from the bottoms of my tired feet. I don’t want this trail of mayhem leading towards my secret shame, my tattered womanhood. I just pray that one day the bleeding will stop.
So, each morning, I remember to wrap my broken body tightly from the cold. And by night, I simply close my eyes and whisper sweet dreams to my beautiful angel.