to be free you must walk through hell backwards
July 16, 2012
To be free you must walk through hell backwards.
I first said this a couple of days ago. Once it was spoken I knew I was near the end. It has been a long time coming. A journey few know and fewer understand. I write about it here, in bits and pieces. I write a novel of three days in August 1998, and even then, it’s just a snapshot. Even Ms. Fitts, who has been my guiding light, was shocked last night when I told her how it has been, abuse every single day until I found Mr. Brown two years ago. And to speak this, to see how abuse has been what I had taken for love, to see how deeply it had distorted my reactions to any man who ever touched my heart, and to see how poorly I acted as a result.
A chain of events was set into motion just two weeks ago and it is only that once I looked into the eyes of death, I could change the road I was on. My stairway to heaven, I didn’t know what that meant. The stairway to heaven is the stairway out of hell.
I wrote four letters this morning, each one more painful than the next. It was the first letter I wrote that inspired me to release myself. I wrote that I did not expect understanding, and undoubtedly I was given none. I claim it fully. I am a freak. And finally, for once in my life, I feel no shame in that.
Because I am not just a freak. I am so many things to many people. But some people only know my pain and I wish it were not this way. But life can only be exactly as it is, and to fully understand it I consider life is predetermined in retrospect. The choices I made were never choices. They were that which I had to do to get me to where I am today. If it were to have been anything else, it would have been. But it only could have ever been this way. There is a grand design.
I balance the knowledge that some know the worst in me with the knowledge that I know the worst in them. I find solace in knowing that I will do my best to treat their memories with respect even if the same is not given to me. I rarely speak on anyone who hurt me other than my family. I find speaking of the good or the bad in one’s past as something I cannot yet describe but within me it is known. I do not wish to exist as a series of stories of who I was any longer.
I find balance in knowing some have never seen the ugly in me. Not that I was hiding it from them. But that there was no place for it to manifest between us. These people are so rare that it is to them I dedicate my energies. As I said to Mr. Ex yesterday, Natural selection has its benefits.
I find balance in knowing that some who have seen me at my worst have forgiven me, while others will never do this. But that is not my burden to bear. Because the time has come that forgiveness is all that remains. In order to exit the door to hell, I must forgive everyone, including myself. And so this morning I did something I never thought possible. I found the strength deep in my heart to forgive my parents and to tell them this.
Forgiveness has haunted me like nothing else. The inability to do so was like a noose around my neck. I couldn’t let them off the hook, yet I was the one who hung. I was there, gasping and choking for breath, volatile, enraged, acting out, recreating pain. I was caught between this rage and this knowledge that I didn’t know how to forgive them. I was tormented by my torment, and by my inability to free myself from their hate and their pain and their shame and their fear and their anger and their guilt.
It is an amazing thing to sit hear with hot tears streaming from red, red eyes and yet my chest doesn’t throb and my throat doesn’t close and I don’t feel anger or pain, just pure sadness. And as the tears fall, they stream in consolation to something that was lost, and something that only I can replace.
I remember a long time ago I said to Miss Chen my aspiration in life would be able to speak my truth and cry without shame. And that’s it. The shame is gone. The lowest vibration of the earth. A freak is not a bad thing when there is no shame attached to your opinion of yourself.
I smile. I breathe. I continue my path. The most incredible thing is this feeling that I cannot be stopped. Not that I’m full steam ahead. Not that I am running away from my sadness. But rather, in the middle of all of this intense personal resolution I am writing professional emails. I am making introductions for what might be a true Love Connection between some of the most inspiring people I know. I am requesting Brooklyn Buzz and Ai Weiwei for review for Le Journal de la Photographie. I am scheduling a walk through for the Tribeca rooftop later this afternoon. I am writing about African Mami. I am living my life fully integrated, pain and pleasure, public and private. I am writing for release and I am writing for solace.
Yes. A freak, an absolute freak indeed. Only a freak could be fully at peace with the good, the bad, and the ugly in herself and in others. Only a freak could find beauty and love and inspiration in the darkest depths of her heart. Because, me I am a freak. But I am also something else.
Forgiveness, like love and compassion, has no object. It is a state of being, a state of surrender, a kind of freedom that can only exist when the ego is no longer the meaning of life.