My word of the year for 2011 turned into my word for TWO years. I didn’t know at the time that invoking a seemingly harmless sentiment would change my entire life, and cause me to go basically silent here (and with my music) for an entire year.
I knew that baring myself to others, and most importantly, to myself, would require some change. I knew that I could not go on as I had been. What I didn’t know was that I would essentially pull apart the structure of my life in order to reveal the foundations that I’d covered up for too long.
If you are familiar with the tarot, you may have gotten the Tower card in a reading. This card can be scary and intimidating and seem all doom & gloom, but I managed to become kind of intimate with it this year. (For a great post about the Tower, see Melissa’s tarot blog.)
Before, many people spoke to me as though I had a perfect life, as though everything was all set for me and was only getting better. I supported that illusion so I wouldn’t seem weak.
Before, I would not cry easily in front of others. I cried often, but mostly to myself and occasionally in front of a partner. I did not want to shake the image of my strength, the idea that I had it all together. I didn’t want to seem vulnerable, especially to people for whom I felt I was supposed to be offering support or help. I didn’t share my deepest heartaches or fears with anyone but my journal.
The Tower looks majestic and awe-inspiring. It looks as though it has a strong foundation and could go up and up forever – but it’s all struck down suddenly by a force of nature. When I chose bare as my word, I was inadvertently invoking The Tower as well. I was asking for the Truth, and that is never easy.
And then… I let the lightning hit and tear all of my illusions apart. It hurt like hell, it stunned me into silence, it left me raw, it left me bare, but it made room for something else.
If you ask me, I’ll tell you the Truth.
If I’m touched, for good or ill, I will cry and let you see it.
If I love you, I’ll try to show you without embarrassment.
If I’m singing for you, you are getting all that I have to give in that moment.
If I’m uncertain, I won’t pretend to have the answers.
If I’m joyful, I let it reverberate to my core and try to share it.
This foundation is stronger now. The mistakes I’ve made have taught me. Everything that comes after, while maybe not the shape I originally imagined, will be built to last.