There is so much I have to say to you. I am chalk-full of stories and tales and revelations and fantasmic weavings of words and if I could, I would spend all of my time, here at the end of my couch in my living room by the windows, currently next to our Christmas tree and the dog's bed half under the tree so the kids will give him some peace, hunched over my broken laptop, leaning into the space between as if the angle of my spine to my hips can actually accelerate the space between my brain and my words and this space and you, the anonymous you out there for whom I feel compelled to bleed it all out though I couldn't spot you in a crowd if I had to.
I would sit in this spot, taking breaks to crack my neck and my fingers and my shoulder blades, and I would flesh out every half-sentence that has ever crossed my mind only to be followed by now that would be a great blog post and I would do it fearlessly, passionately, ferociously, because I have these stories inside of me that I really think you would like to hear.
And I forget that sometimes.
I have that whisper of brilliance dance across the backs of my eyes and I think yes, let's write about that and I promise to do so after the kids go down or after I get back from class or once Kyle starts working on his schoolwork or or or or ...
... the pressure sets in. To do it right, to do it justice, to do all the things that Pinterest infographics tell me will make my post great and searchable and viral and so beloved that I will ascend some hierarchy of blogging royalty where at the ends lies everything I've ever wanted, every validation I've ever craved about my words and my thoughts and my stories and me, holy god me and then, then I will be able to breathe and the crushing pressure to write it all out will cease however momentarily and I will be able to say I did something here, look, I was loved by people for just the stories I carry inside of my very soul.
And I freeze.
I once read an argument that there is more to the fight or flight response, as it pertains to victims of sexual and domestic violence. The argument was that there is a third instinctual response to impending danger, beyond the hellfire of defense and the determination of escape.
It's to freeze. To panic and submit to the overpowering force if for nothing but hope for survival, to let it overcome you until it is done and over and then, then if you are permitted to see the light beyond the end of the tunnel you can return to yourself and your duties over time and with healing. But for some, especially those who have faced trauma, freezing is all we have in that split second. Some will be able to record every detail in that moment; others will black it all out in the name of self-preservation.
I've been slowly freezing here, for a very long time now. There are so many things that had I no outside obligations or regard for others' stories who intertwine with mine I would put here, in this space, to bleed out for you. But I stop, because the fear of the fallout in my life, from unattended to toddlers to deep, unheal-able woundings overcomes me, mixes comorbidly with the pressure of the stats and the reader counts and the page views and the "right" way to do whatever it is I'm doing here beyond constantly trying to find my voice, trying to find myself within myself while that anonymous you watches on silently, just out of real sight, never really actually existing beyond ghost-like tendrils across the comments and various social media outlets.
So I have sat frozen, grasping at the safe stories however hollow they echoed in my head, not taking the time to flesh out the "good ones" or watching myself try to do just that and seeing the stories become not at all what I wanted them to be and feeling the creep of self-doubt cross over my heart and my hands and my words, and that dreaded F word -- failure -- echos mercilessly in my bones because I have not "made it" yet, I am not everything I thought I somehow would magically become once I got to that unknown somewhere of accomplishment and self-worth. I have boxed myself into this ideal of what I should be and how to become that and it's suffocating me because the pin-holes through which I seep my everything are too small, too few and too far between to make a difference, for me to be seen.
Breaking out is painful. It hurts my heart and my hands and so often I sit here in this spot on the end of the couch, broken laptop balanced between one knee and a smushed-down throw pillow, listening to the dog snore and Kyle typing away at his lesson plans and I have silent tears filling my eyes and rolling down my cheeks because I am so afraid of what's out there, what's beyond the box that I don't fit into but it's all I know and in here, in here I can pretend I know a little bit about all of this, but outside?
Outside of the box is everything and that is so incredibly, beautifully daunting and I've been frozen for so long I don't know how else to be though I long to be everything but what I've become, what I've let my fear and insecurity create me to be.
I want to tell you that I know failure is not an option. We both know better.
But a very smart, kind woman whose face, whenever my memory conjures seeing for the first time in person, elicits big, wet, sloppy tears because of the kindness and greatness that rest there in her wide blue eyes when I sat at some of the most vulnerable I have been in quite some time, she said exactly what I needed to hear after another woman told the story I've been living inside myself, minus the validation and potential of a happy ending, and I am fooling myself into believing that she said those things, anonymously, to me, because she knows the truth she speaks and that it is the truth I needed to hear so that I may peek through the cracks of this box and my perfectionism and see that there are great things out there to be had, if you, if I, just reach for them.
I have so many stories I want to tell you -- whether there are 200 of you or just two -- I want to share these pieces of myself with you and I want you to want to hear them and to talk with me about them and I want this relationship to grow in kindness and understanding and them maybe, maybe someday if my dreams indeed end up being the path I go down in my life I will take you with me, and I so hope you would happily join as we grow this thing, whatever it may be, together.