I understand now that I am not a mess, but a deeply feeling person in a messy world. I explain that now, when someone asks me why I cry so often. I say, “For the same reason I laugh so often – because I am paying attention”
Glennon Doyle Melton
There’s this thread of distance I’ve been feeling lately. The feeling of being unwanted, like I’m “too much”. Something that clearly sprouted from childhood and still creeps up on me more often than I’d like. Times when I have to remind myself about the reality of the situation. That I am enough. That I am loved. That this is a projection of a distorted reality I’ve created for myself, by myself.
But sometimes, I let myself drown in the feeling. Just to sink into it some more. And then I scream, silently of course because how dare I become so loud that I confirm what I fear the most? How can I even think to claim a space that is far too big to call my own? And this moment – the moment when you decide that you are far too large to fit into this world is what I call my vacuum moment.
It’s the moment where gravity shifts, slow enough that you don’t feel it coming, but loud enough that you can hear the suction begin. It’s the moment when you decide to become smaller and smaller so to squeeze into the size you have decided this world will accept you in. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. You will not cry. You will not scream. You will not make a sound. Instead, you will nod and conform. You will say things like “I am fine,” over and over until it becomes a whistle in your throat. An itch you can’t seem to scratch.
And you know what happens next? You start to disappear. And the scariest part of it all is that you don’t seem to mind. Actually, you might even like it. Because going unnoticed feels safer than being seen. It’s true, isn’t it? That’s what I thought, too. That is until I realized that it wasn’t a vacuum I was suctioning myself into. Something that small and material couldn’t hold me in if it tried.
No, I’m not a dust particle. I’m lava. A vacuum couldn’t sustain me, but a volcano could. We can’t disappear, not for long at least. Trust me, I’ve tried. So many freaking times! When I understood what was happening, only then could I try to manage it. The thing about dormant volcanos is that they pretend like they are inactive. They hide and the lava within them boils. It twists and turns and at any moment, when no one is watching or listening or caring, they will explode. They will erupt and they will destruct. And that was what my reality was looking like.
The sad part is, you make yourself believe it won’t happen again. That you can continue on with this pattern, and stop at hide. But we weren’t made to disappear. We were made to create, to play, to learn, to laugh, to be in pain, to cry, to love.
It’s been a long time since I found myself back here. That’s the thing about progress. It’s not linear. You find yourself backtracking to an old version of yourself you thought you’ve overcome, only to have to overcome her again. And then you move forward. And then you might backtrack some more. Become, un-become. Become again.
Besides, we’ll have to keep re-learning the same lessons until we face them. As Pema Chodron said, “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.”