The Terror of Me

All I ever wanted was to belong. Somewhere. Anywhere. Even if it meant just some small group on the sidelines of humanity, if that was all it could be. Just a place in the world, is what I wanted. And a life, a real one, with the ability to show my authentic self, and to be seen and received by the few people that were able to handle and understand everything that meant.

White Rabbit: “And the fear was?”

Lisa: “That those people didn’t exist.”

I stood in the school yard one day watching the crowds, sort of frozen in time, with my feelings of loneliness and difference sweeping over me, like so many times before. I stood and watched my peers playing, the bright faces of the little boys and girls around me, so full of life, when it hit me, the realization that the joy that they shared with each other would always be beyond my reach, and that their feelings of togetherness would never be mine. Something in me was fundamentally different, causing my life to move in a different direction.

In that moment, I saw the future lives of my peers roll past my eyes. I don’t know how I saw this, but it was written on their faces and gestures somehow, in the same way as the knowledge of blue skies, wind and leaves already exists in a tree seed. I saw the sprouts take form, I saw the shape that they were taking, as seeds can only grow a certain way, and with sadness I watched my friends grow away from me towards bright skies. I watched with the knowledge that my life would depart from theirs and lead me down a very lonely path, away from the fullness that they would enjoy and that I so envied. I knew that they would grow rich with experience, and that there would be many loves; I saw how most of them would become lovers, husbands and wives, creating families and building lives together, and how through those bonds they would know happiness, and sorrow too, and that through the sorrow, joy, tears, struggles, and all the laughter and the pain, they would live, live, live!

But I wouldn’t be able to share in any of that.

Instead, I would be set aside in the future, and there would be no one for me. I knew this with absolute certainty. That’s what the “voice” told me, this feeling that rose from deep within me on that day on the school yard, at age seven. And what the voice told me was correct, looking back at it now, in mid-life, knowing that it really did happen that way – I was separated from life. And that separation, the worst form of human isolation that I could imagine for anyone, is what this story is about, the story I’ve been trying to tell for so long.

White Rabbit: “Just keep trying. You’ll get there, eventually.”

It came from deep within me, that voice, like a faint warning. It was almost as if I was being prepared for war, and the knowledge of it would somehow serve as a protective armor for me. I didn’t know it then, but I was standing on the threshold of a major life change and was already in the beginning stages of it. Soon my life would take a drastic turn in a very different direction. All I knew that day was what the voice inside of me was telling me – that in the future I would be isolated and prevented from human intimacy by an invisible wall that no one could penetrate.

And I grieved that separation, and the love that wouldn't be mine, and the life experiences that would slip through my fingers. But I couldn’t tell anyone about it. There wasn't a soul that could’ve understood.

White Rabbit: “How about now?”

Lisa: “Let’s just say: I’m not holding my breath.”

White Rabbit: “Just tell the story.”

I tried to fit in, so badly, and be like everyone else, constantly trying to squeeze myself into some mold of normalcy — as I imagined it — desperately trying to portray a life that would look like everyone else’s, sometimes almost succeeding at it, at least momentarily. After all, there was a lot about me that was completely normal and average, too. But those moments of normalcy never lasted. At some point, I’d always see the dream come apart. And it had to. Because all it was, in the end, was an illusion.

All you needed to do was to step a little closer and scratch that tame surface a little and watch my facade of normalcy crumble and collapse, watch everything in me start to bubble up and splatter in all directions. You’d quickly learn that nothing about me was average and tame at all! For right there, inside of me, sleeping just two feet underneath the surface, tightly boxed in and hidden in my chest — was a volcano, a storm, a hurricane! Just waiting for the chance to rise up! While I wanted nothing else than to keep it hidden, keep it tightly packed under the lid, desperately squeezing it in, hopping over it and cramming it down with my heels, hoping it would stay there forever, the secret, the power…

Lisa: “And this is the part where I always hit the wall and don’t know how to go on anymore.”

White Rabbit: “Why don’t you tell it exactly how you think? What power?”

Lisa: “The power of God.”

White Rabbit: “Go on.”

How can I explain the terror, the loneliness? And who would listen to me without laughing, or ruling me crazy?

What it was then, as it still is today, is like a window that would open up inside of my mind from time to time, looking out to eternity. Or a strong wind blowing through me with knowledge and truth, causing my mind to expand, giving me no choice but to listen to its voice! What could I do but to fall into the river that rushed through me? How could I resist the truth when it came over me like a torrent? It came into my body, my hands and feet, and I had no choice but to take it in! Just surrender to the awareness and let it carry me away, let it remove all the veils before my eyes, let them all fall off and reveal the true, shining colors of life, as I couldn’t hide from it now, couldn’t run away anymore. Oh, it was beauty and love, don’t get me wrong! It was truth and peace, and everything good, and nothing bad, healing and love for every little thing in me, and around me—it was open arms that stayed open forever, always giving and not knowing how not to…

But when it came, the loneliness always came hand in hand, the terror of the isolation that I feared came with it, as it pulled me deeper and deeper, pulled me all the way down to the truth of existence, to the bottom of myself…

What if I will always remain this way? I asked.

White Rabbit: “And what do you think now?”

Lisa: “I’m still asking it.”

There were also these rapids that I used to dream of. I need to tell you about them. I had dreamt about them since a very young age, I couldn’t have been more than one or two the first time I had the dream. I know, such an early memory, but I remember it just the same. They would always follow me in my dreams, these rapids, night after night, hunting me down in different scenarios, always with the same message. I’d see violent waters circling underneath me, and sometimes, I’d be standing on a rock in the midst of the waters and watch the current underneath me circling around the rocks, black waters with white foam on top.

And God was always with me there, in the waters. I felt the Truth rising up from the waters, and from within me, calling me, and asking me to surrender to it, fully, because somehow I had compromised myself and needed to heal. Come Lisa to the truth, let yourself go, the Truth would say. And I wanted to, and didn’t, and couldn’t, and wouldn’t, because I was terrified of the power, which was in me, which was me, and was so close, almost reaching me, and never-ending, limitless…

Lisa: “I need to talk about Mom too, I need to put her in there somewhere.”

White Rabbit: “Yes. She’s part of the wound.”

Lisa: “She’s part of everything.”

And in there, in those rapids with me in the dream, was my mother too! sleeping on the palm of my hand! Oh the terror! Of not knowing where God ended and I began! Because there she was, sleeping on my hand like a child, with the tables turned now, because I was her mother and she was the child, in need of me, in need of drinking the truth from the palm of my hand to be freed from her lies! And for that short moment I knew everything, it all blew through me, the knowledge, making me the scariest little girl alive! I was terrible and beautiful and all-knowing, for that short moment, standing on a high platform, looking down on the world that was at my feet, and I was full of love and truth!

That was the power. And the fear. The Love and Truth in me for that short moment, and my ability to see everything for what it was, with ice clear vision.

White Rabbit: “Why was seeing the truth so scary?”

Lisa: “Because it made me see people’s lies and self-deception — their masks! So clearly! And then the Truth, the hurricane in me, would want to remove them. I felt it needed to be done! I felt the need to say: ‘Why don’t you take that off? It’s okay. Don’t be afraid. You’ll be much better off without it.’ And I knew that they would hate me for it. And that they would desert me because of it.”

White Rabbit: “Like your mother did.”

Lisa: “Yes. Just like my mother did.”

So I didn’t want the power. Never, never wanted the power! I wanted nothing to do with it, I wanted to run from it and sink into a kelp of lies and hide, sleep there forever, place myself in a dreamy box of my own design, where I resembled everyone else and none of this was true and real, but instead the dream was real and I was just a little girl, who was like everyone else, who belonged.

And I did forget for a while, it all evened out, the day-to-day stuff erased the dream, life took over, little ordinary things occupied me, and I forgot, and I was back to normal again, and for a while things were almost fine, until I’d dream about the rapids again, which forced me to look at the truth again. And then I couldn’t help seeing it! And I would see it, the opposite lie, so clearly, I saw it in others and I saw it in me! I saw its shapes in my mind, I observed its tentacles, how they’d taken hold of me and attached themselves to every part of me, wanting to hold on forever and never let go. And while I saw it, side by side with the lie and the kelp was the Truth, calling, roaring into my ear, and then gently whispering, singing with an intoxicating Siren’s song. HOW could anyone resist it? The beauty of it, and the terror of it, and the purity of it. WHICH just was, was everything, and in everything, making the whole world fall into place, every little thing make sense, be part of another. And the love – I stood on the rock in the midst of violent, stormy waters and crossed my hands over my chest, without thinking, as a gesture of involuntary worship that no one had taught me but my body knew. And holiness was all around me and inside of me.

On that day in the school yard the window opened up again, and my safe little world was temporarily destroyed and the rug of illusions was pulled out from under me. My eyes were opened and once again I was presented with an image of my true self, the one I had so desperately wanted to forget.

This is who you really are, the voice said.

And right then, in that moment, the voice also told me that a day would come, sometime in the future, when I would have no choice but to be open about who I was and what my truth was, including my experiences with my mom. Just everything, all my hidden secrets. It would come and reach its peak on this day, the truth, and it was already in the making, the day that I feared more than death itself. It was on its way, was written in my DNA, the day when all my polite masks would fall off and my true face would come out with the force of God! It would roll into my life with a roar, and all my awful secrets, the unspoken, unbelievable, unforgivable taboos and truths would pour from my lips, no matter what the outcome, and what the consequences, no matter how socially ostracized this would make me. It would happen, had to happen, because it was the truth and demanded to come out! And I knew right then that I would have to drink the cup of suffering to the last drop.

That’s what the voice told me.

And it was right.

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