I am a forest, and a night of dark trees; but he who is not afraid of my darkness, will find banks full of roses under my cypresses.
I have always responded to the call of darkness. The lure. The fact that so many others are frightened of it pushes me deeper into the woods, into the caves of humanity to witness and share in the deeper parts of the psyche. But not just to witness, to stand guard, to lend strength, to share and participate and give the wounds salve until they heal. It’s not the draw of the macabre. It is the draw of desire and spirit. Pure and hallowed to delve deeper than the normal person would.
I serve the darker edges of humanity but specifically the wounds we carry. Wounds…be they physical, psychic or emotional tend to cause us the greatest amount of fear in our lives. And we guard our deepest, darkest fears more than anything in the world. Sure, you think about people who seem to wear their woundedness on their sleeve…almost boasting that they’ve suffered through life and are here to prove to humanity their strength. But what I’ve found is that they don’t put the greatest wounds on display…only the ones that they can wear without harm, without exposing the deeper ones that lay underneath. Those….those they guard fiercely and fight anyone who tries to disturb them.
The only superpower I really have is I am the person people trust with the greatest of their wounds. Their sorrows, their intense pain, their embarrassments, their sense of not-good-enough…these fears of divine dis-love that they try to keep secret from the rest of the world. They tell no one. Not their spouses. Not their lovers. Not their parents. But they tell me.
They tell me or rather….they show me. They creep slowly through the recesses of their psyche, the part they are barely aware of normally. The instinctual and immediate part of themselves that they can’t access unless someone trespasses against that territory. They invite me in. Grasping my hand for strength,clutching at the light that I bring with me for fear. Fear of the monsters laying in wait to overcome them and take control. Maybe if I’m there the monsters won’t attack. Won’t hurt them. Won’t try to take over their world.
And even now as I write this, I’m flooded with the memories of when this has happened. When I’ve seen all of someone, even the big, bad monster they thought they were holding at bay. The anger, the greed, the resentment, the frustration, the hurt, the deception…I’ve seen so much of it. And it is beautiful. It is beautiful because each person’s big, bad monster is an accumulation of humanity. It is a creation of our selves…and it is a part of ourselves. It is the part of ourselves that we’ve discarded, hoping that it will never return. Hoping that it will never find a way back into the light.
And I am overwhelmed with emotion because these people I have encountered have trusted me with it. With something so precious, so grotesque and fearsome…something that resembles them far more than they want to know.
Because at the end of that journey, I show them. I bring a light to the mirror and stand them next to their monster figure and show them…this is you….and I love you both. I love the monster and who you’ve tried to become in order to hide it. I love you both.
It is almost too much for them to bear. To feel that something so ugly within themselves can be loved and cherished. “Aren’t you afraid?” they inevitably ask me. How can I possibly be afraid? I can’t pretend to love someone without loving the fullness of who they are. And by embracing the beast I can now finally love the full person. Does the beast lash out? Yes. But only because it has been relegated to the darkness for so long it can no longer recognize how it feels to have light surround it and hold it safe.
But more than anything, I embrace the fullness of someone. Their light and dark…and I show that it is possible to melt the divide between light and dark within our own lives. That by embracing your own darkness and treating it with kindness and love that we heal the fears that placed it in the darkness to begin with…and that itself is love. True, abiding love for our own self.
This kind of healing isn’t a wound to be worn on the shoulder as evidence of your own bravery, to prove that you’ve suffered…it is one that glows from within and is embodied in your full presence and countenance. It is not a braggart’s courage,but a wounded soul who is now radiant with the joy of life. Nothing more needs to be said. No words are needed.
In an instant I can tell the difference between those who have walked through their darkness and embraced what they have found….and those who are still hiding it, protecting it and projecting the lesser wounds as their evidence of their “confidence”. I can tell…and the more one brags about their wounds, their victimization, their suffering, the more those words are just really big, giant “Keep OUT!” signs to loved ones and others that they will do everything in their power to keep their secret monsters safe and in the dark. They don’t trust themselves, they don’t trust their partners and they surely will never trust a professional to lead them to true healing. I don’t bother with them. They will continue to live a false life soaked in duality, an alchemy that falls flat and leaves them sour and needy.
No…I praise those who have done “the heavy lifting” and I await them at their next crossroads…when a new dark corner threatens to swallow them whole. I stand alone and wait for them to see me and invite me in when either everyone else has abandoned them or are too shallow to see the transformation, the little death, that must occur for them to heal and move forward.
And I am rewarded…like in the quote above…with roses and riches. Such beauty and such abundance of soul. I alone have been entrusted with their stories for I saw their darkness and did not run away or avoid it…I stood by them and loved them to the very end.
I’ve been struggling to write this post for a few weeks now. Ever since I learned that I passed the bar exam in my state, I have been struggling with how to write about it. How to reconcile it to what I’ve believed about myself for so long and more than anything deciding what to do with myself now.
This picture jumped out at me as I was trying to find a way to describe how I felt about taking the bar exam again. Taking the exam, while not the most important thing in the world, is a monumental and scary rite of passage. I was being asked to cross a chasm separating two immense mountains. The first is the mountain of my experience as a student. I had faced failure, faced success and conquered it all. The other mountain was the mountain of my profession. Several have crossed this path before. It shouldn’t be that hard…but the fall is so great if you’re unsuccessful that it’s daunting to even consider reaching that mountain. And that path, a tiny bridge between two worlds so similar but so very different looks as if the moment you step upon it, you’ll plummet to your doom.
The first time I took the bar exam I was full of confusion, hatred for the path and resentment. I fell and I fell hard. I didn’t pass the first time. I have used tons of excuses over the years to explain why I fell (“I was pregnant at the time”, “I was buying a house”), but the honest reason is I wasn’t sure I wanted to be on that mountain. After I fell, after I gave birth, I climbed back up to that precipice to try once more. But again, I lacked commitment and purpose (yes, even I lacked purpose). I allowed myself to become distracted and in truth I did a lot to sabotage myself because the same month I was supposed to take the exam is the same month my husband and I became polyamorous. Looking back on it, I can see why I fell, why I failed the bar that year. But nevertheless I was in that chasm dividing these two mountains.
A while back I had started a blog called “Love Priestess”. It was a name I came up with shortly after I was outed because I felt my particular message, my calling in the world was better served from the perspective of a Priestess of Love. Back then my partners and I were actively engaged in what we called a Love Movement. Even though all of us have gone our separate ways, I believe with my whole heart that we each are pursuing that movement in our own particular ways. Yet, my way has always been a bit unclear to me. Love Priestess fit at the time, but I haven’t been grasping the full potential of what it can be and more importantly who I can be.
I am blessed in so many ways. In particular I have a knack for romantic and intimate interpersonal relationships. They have always come easy to me. I’ve never been in a position where I’m “looking for love” or “waiting for the One”. I have blessed that those opportunities have always shown up on my doorstep rather magnificently. And each experience, each lover, each blessed being in my experience has been beneficial to my life. Even the ones who have hurt me. Each person I’ve encountered, each person I’ve shared myself with, including these partners who created this Love Movement together, has had an impact on my life. And if anything my life has been characterized by the relative ease I’ve had in embracing transformational shifts in relationship dynamics. A really fancy way of saying I flowed so easily with relationships that I always counted it as my most abundant blessing.
But something changed about 3 or 4 years ago that kept me from fully embracing the abundance that was being offered even in this relatively easy part of my personal life. I used to attribute it to any number of factors and triggers from being hurt by a messy break-up or “growing up” or gaining weight or whatever seemed to excuse my feelings of sadness and disconnectedness. I was no longer welcoming of that abundance of joy, pleasure and shared oneness. And even though I’ve blamed everything and everyone (especially myself for that), I couldn’t really get down to what was at the root of it all.
As some of you know I’m in the process of studying for the bar exam in my state. I have my law degree and I want my license. Yesterday, while on the phone with my husband I realized what I want to do to once I have my license and how I want to craft my life and my career. It’s actually not that far off from Love Movement as we might think. I have always wanted to change the world, but I finally have a way of making it happen…and forging a new path for law, policy, relationships, conflict, and acceptance of self. I haven’t fully fleshed out the idea yet, but I know in my heart that it’s what I’m meant to do.
But to do it, I’m going to have to consent to be in the spotlight.
That terrifies me. I have this image in my head that in order to accomplish what I want to accomplish, what every cell in my body is demanding of me, I am going to have to allow the spotlight to shine on me. Each time the spotlight has swung in my direction over the years I’ve run away, escaped and hidden in the shadows. The shadows, the darkness is a safe place for me. I shine brighter in the shadows. But eventually if I want to create the transformation I want…and if I want to be able to do it my way, I am going to have to finally consent to remaining in the spotlight.
And the spotlight is where my abundance lives. It is where the abundance that I once enjoyed in multiple relationships went to reside. It’s been drawing me there. The richness and fullness of my emotional, physical and mental life is waiting for me. I only have to overcome my fear enough to enter that circle. I have to be brave enough to let the light cascade down my body, exposing my soul and my life, my love and my vulnerability…because ultimately those are my strengths and that is how I can lead, can transform, can create. While I will always be comfortable working with the shadows, I cannot and must not dwell there.
Instead, my work, indeed the world I want to live in requires me to step fully into the light and to be seen and heard, to learn from others and lend my aid to those still lurking in the background, held back by their fear, guilt and shame.
This is my Love Movement.
This morning I participated in an online “oneness” meditation with hundreds of other people from around the country. While others had this immense feeling of well, oneness, and awakening, I felt something that has been virtually inaccessible to me for the past several years: my own light. I get glimpses of it from time to time, it shines through brightly only to fade silently into the twilight of my own fears and anxieties. While I have been a healer to others over the years, able to see the invisible energy centers twirling and dancing within, I’ve never been able to see my own. Until the meditation today.
Today I sat in the silence of my own truth and was able to see why I’ve grown so distant from myself, why it has been so hard for me to trust…not just others, but in particular myself and my own skills. Here is what I saw: Read the rest of this entry
It’s rare that I am inspired these days to write about my sexual experiences. It’s not that I don’t love talking about them, it’s that often I don’t believe I have anything new to say about them. That and I don’t really want to have to wrestle with the dilemma of whether I have the consent of my partners to reveal such personal information about them.
But early this week I was struck by a picture of my former Master on someone’s feed on FetLife. My friend was complimenting the woman who posted the picture but there was my Master’s thoughtful non-smile. (He was always careful not to smile in photographs…except one I had spontaneously snapped of him and my poly husband in 2006.)
We haven’t spoken since we broke up in early 2007. Even though the break-up itself was intended to be amicable, he wasn’t used to staying friends with exes. Despite his intentions to the contrary he couldn’t manage to make that happen for us. He defriended me, defrocked me as an administrator on a group we had all formed together (that one hurt the most) and started blocking me on social networking sites. I know I kept pushing my presence on him and I think it was enough for him to want nothing more of me.
But what that relationship did was solidify some growing feelings I was having about my compatibility with D/s relationships. As our relationship inched closer to the end I was growing increasingly dissatisfied with the expectations of our relationship. I wasn’t playing as often as I needed or wanted, but he was showing off his new slave rather regularly. I was going through all matter of personal turmoil and heartache over my job and it was difficult for him because he never felt like he was doing the right thing for me. But when I discovered that he was systematically excluding from areas of his life yet demanding full access to mine, I had enough. The neglect became not just obvious but intolerable.
I wondered this week what I might say to him now…how I might fill him in about where he hasn’t been for the past several years. How might I describe my submission, my feelings as a switch. And how might that story only reinforce his attitudes toward me? Might the story I tell today just prove all his suspicions right?
But it’s not about where he hasn’t been. No, this is about where I haven’t been. I still tried to find submission after our relationship. I was still able to with my two husbands back then. But I started losing faith in myself…and trust in my own abilities as a submissive and as a desirable partner. And even though my partners made mistakes I was using that to mask the fear and hurt I was walking into every scene with.
I used to tell people that I make my biggest mistakes when choosing to play out of desperation. No. That wasn’t it. Yes, I was desperate. But I was also choosing to play without ever assessing whether I trusted my own self anymore. I walked into scenes expecting to hear how “unpleasant” or “disappointing” I was. And I found ways to confirm that impression of myself. Never really opening up to partners because I expected to be told how utterly displeasing I am. Having a whole 3 page narrative about my limits, because I could no longer trust my own abilities or my own judgment about activities and partners.
Whatever happened to rolling with the punches?
It wasn’t because of my former Master, but because I put my full vulnerability out there to him and others and it didn’t work out. To anyone else I would have advised to trust and put yourself out there again. But I didn’t. No, I stayed locked up, haunted by indecision and caution, not even playing with my husbands.
I am learning how to trust myself again. To put my heart and submission on the line. Not because my partners are worthy (they are) but because I am worthy of that level of release and fulfillment. And I will never achieve it if I stayed locked up, stalled, walled off. I have each day I can live in fullness and as an adventure.
So, at the end of the week I am grateful to this man whose unexpectedly handsome face reminded me that my submission, my abilities as a switch, my body and especially my spirit are worth the fulfillment he wasn’t able to provide to me. I am worth trusting…
So tomorrow night Warrior and I will do our push-pull dance of ours. This will be how we talk…and how I will let go and go back to the place where I haven’t been in so very long.