But the opposite was true.
We felt everything. We felt everything so deeply, so fully, so painfully that sometimes we took shallow breaths, little sips, so no one could hear us. So we could keep breathing. So we could go on.
Because we were scared. We were frightened. We were terrified.
And it was easier to block, to put off, to form a wall around ourselves.
If we not only felt all those emotions, but if the others knew what we were feeling? Thinking? Being? How big would that wind be? And how could we ever withstand such a gale?
How could we go on? So exposed, so bare, so vulnerable?
Surely we would perish or, worse, languish in our pain.
We were certain of this fact. But, get this: We were wrong.
Beautifully stubborn. Breathtakingly obstinate. Captivating as we drive off the cliff like fatefully flawed Thelmas and Louises. See our scarves wave in the wind and listen oh so carefully because the breeze carries just a whisper of our phantom screams.
The reveal happened despite our best efforts—or maybe precisely because of those efforts.
One day, after it hurt so much to continually hold that heavy cloak of protection around ourselves, after we were so tired that we could no longer grasp the shield in our hands, on our backs, over our heads, so many hours per day, so many minutes, so many breaths, around so many people all the time … well, one day, we stopped.
We put down the shields.
Let the wind blow through us. Let the rain soak us to the bone. Felt the pain.
Hurt so much we thought we would die.
And—surprise, oh crazy fucking ironic fabulous surprise—we lived.
“Who’d ever thought that I would have the guts to change?” — Maria McKee, “I’ve Forgotten What It Was in You (That Put the Need in Me)”