It’s familiar feeling, it’s not comfortable, but it’s a known quality. The feeling is one of disturbance, of boundaries being pushed, old fears haunting, struggling to rise to a challenge that can’t be met in the moment. This feeling is one that always comes up for at dance camp, and it’s a bit of comfort to know that it doesn’t need to be in my usual community, that the places that hold my hurt, that my terrors can be mined in more than one place. There has been a welling up of tears that are more in my body than in my eyes that has come and gone since yesterday – this is physical/emotional place where that bottomless pit is uncovered and wants to rise like lava.
My lesson seems still and always has been how to release, but I learned to shut down tears so long ago and it’s so ingrained and feels almost innate not to cry and yet I long to be able to have it erupt naturally and ebb downward without the fear that I will dive into that it and never emerge. Even when crying I hold back much of the time because while the fear of never returning from a place that feels like it could verge into never ending hysteria; while not as strong as when I was younger the vestiges of it still exist like valve that only allows so much flow at any given time.
Crying just doesn’t feel safe; I think that’s what it comes down to for me. There are times when I have really tried to figure out how to make it safe. I suppose therapy could help, or maybe just making dates with myself to have feelings in silence, no tv not even in another room, no surfing the web or driving when the tears come. Allow myself times to just be with the feelings. There have been those moments but I still find myself saying okay that’s enough, or feeling like it’s not really a deep cry, only surface so it’s time to stop. Many years ago my uncle told me that my father used to tell me from another room to just stop crying if I woke up from a bad dream. I guess I really internalized the message to just stop regardless of whether I was done or I had received the comfort that was needed. It seems a really long time to still be in that place.
I am sitting on a rounded deck shaded by sequoia and California oak trees with a small body of water that we call Zen Lake. There is an outcropping of reeds and some exposed rocks just a bit from the land edge. Birds are singing, and occasionally a frog bellows a call, butterflies flit by. A camper is sitting here as well, playing his guitar. There are classes going on but any sound from them is muted. Every once in awhile the water moves as some creature stirs, but mostly the surface is very still, the faint breeze barely impacting. The location is remote, no cell service, it’s quite a drive down to main road, small as it is. The elevation is about 4000 ft after being at about 10 feet above sea level in the Bay Area. In many ways it’s the perfect place to let the tears fall but I am always caught between wanting to let it happen regardless of location and not wanting to attract attention. But then I am caught be a small bird landing on a reed and think how beautiful it is here and wonder how I can feel this type of peace, even with the swirl of emotions, more of the time in my “real” life.
Being somewhere like my camps it makes me think about what I want to refocus and how I would like to shape and mold myself. But once home I am more often swept up in the day to day of life and don’t take the time that is needed to do those things. It’s an ongoing struggle but as I get older the time is less and right now I am feeling more urgency to move forward the ways I am stuck and to heal those old wounds and keep evolving more actively to who I want to be instead of sitting on the sidelines wishing for something that I only think is beyond my reach.