I was sitting in meditation and the phrase came to my head- “there is a story within.” Sometimes phrases pop into my mind either to render me full of questions or to leave me crying without knowing where the tears are coming from.
I hear yelling. It’s my aunt who is trying to calm my father, she yells, “No hagas esto! You don’t want to do this!” My mom just keeps screaming his name over and over again.
I am about 8 or 10 years old sitting in the living room as the adults are in the kitchen. I am seated next to my cousin. We are paralyzed with fear. What is happening.
What is happening is that my brother is not sitting with us. He’s all of 12 years old. He’s in the kitchen with the adults. We can hear my father and aunt screaming.
Next thing I know there is an eerie silence…
“That’s such a pretty ring,” the nurse says as she looks down at my left hand. The piece of jewelry on my ring finger is such a huge gaudy affair I wasn’t sure if she was serious- I thanked her anyway. What an odd thing to be chatting right now. She’s holding my hand and asking if I am OK.
Life seems to be fuzzy and warm right about now. The haze of Valium is beautiful. Valium is amazing. I stare at the poster on the ceiling wondering how weird it is that women spend so much time in stirrups that there is a need to distract them. Those ice capped mountains are not fooling anyone.
The humming of the machine in the background is somehow soothing – wow Valium is *Magical*.
When I was growing up, my maternal uncle lived near us. He was the sweetest uncle and he would always stop by after church. He loved telling jokes and stories. He brought joy into a room because of the amount of love, both for god and others.
It’s only now that I recognize that he was not only entertaining us but he was also teaching us great lessons in his modern day parables. He would make social commentary woven into his jokes and stories.
One thing that I vividly recall is him detailing how he only had three pairs of shoes. He was a simple man. He even questioned the extravagance of having 3 pairs- “You can only wear one pair at a time, really- so why would one need more?”
He was a devout catholic and I was so happy when he became my godfather… He made me promise that I would always search for god.
“Forgive me father for I have sinned.” I say into the phone as I realize that I might still be drunk. “What Mary, what did you do?” says my friend and confidant who is in for quite the story.
I had woken up. No, not really woken up but my body became conscious of its own existence as if I had been placed there. My eyes opened and the light seemed to widen from a narrow tunnel of darkness. I now could see a cold stark room. My senses became aware that I was in a bed. A bed with all white sheets and duvet that I did not recognize. I now whispered to myself, “No, no, no, no! What the f(*)ck happened,” I ask myself.
I turn around, my eyes widen and my mouth opens in shock. “OH NOOOO!!!!” I realize that I am not alone.
There is a story within. I am the father, I am the nurse holding a hand wishing to take it all away, I am the uncle telling those stories in the small living room and I am the writer telling it all. It’s all my story.
I never in a million years would have imagined that I would be sitting in California as I type this. Sitting in California after being FUNemployed since May of 2014. How did I survive without working? How am I surviving without working? How have I lived what I lived?
Does this even interest anyone?
The answer is: None of that matters for there is a story within that is waiting to be birthed. The how’s, the why’s or any other question that may arise is irrelevant. We all have our stories that are waiting to be told. We must bare witness to our lives. We must own our narratives, the diverse roles that we play in our lives and our internal struggles that have formed who we are.
Whether anything is of interest to anyone out there in cyberspace- my narrative wants out. It does not matter if I can’t recall all the facts, if I doubt if it ever happened- this is my story as told by me.
I am not keeping secrets anymore. I’d rather have stories to tell and my life to share. The way we live our lives and the way our lives are constructed- why do we constantly hide? Why do we become one big ball of secrets? Why don’t we see ourselves as this varied experience, this wisdom that is waiting to be shared?
This diversified human experience with all its secrets, omissions and silences is what unites us. we all have wounds. We wish that we can just wipe these experiences away.
Life is bigger than keeping secrets, life is bigger than being silent. Life is about connecting and extending from our very limited experience of being “me” to the collective consciousness, to that limitless, holy and wise place that is beyond us and, yet, in us. And so I don’t want to be silent anymore.
We were never meant to keep secrets. They say that trauma is encoded into our DNA and subsequently passed on to future generations. How crazy that something we think we are keeping is actually coded into our being and passed on to be inherited, whether we mean to or not.
I want to breathe. I want to be free. I want to share. I want to create my own community. I want to be part of something that is larger than me. that’s more than me. I wanted to be tapped in, plugged in and revved up. I want to experience my humanness. I want to acknowledge my flaws and not be defined by them…
And then our song played and we danced:
“To me you are more than just skin and bones.
You are elegance and freedom and everything I know
So come on and
Baby let your hair down
Let me run my fingers through it
We can be ourselves now
Go ahead, be foolish
No one’s on the clock now
Lying in this simple moment
You don’t gotta worry now
Just let your hair down“
We can be ourselves now. You don’t have to worry.
Do YOU feel called to share your story? How has keeping secrets played a role in your life? Let me know in the comment section your thoughts. I can’t wait to hear.
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