Some women have large purses - I have this tote bag that I throw everything in. I think right now it has at least 5 (small) books in it, never mind the wet wipes, the headache medicine, the bandaids, kleenex, rolaids - oh and my wallet. I am continuously losing my keys in this mess so yesterday I set out to find a bigger key ring that would make it easier to find the keys to the van. Something so I wouldn't have to resort to shaking the tote in order to hopefully hear the jingle of keys in its depths.
I found a rack that had male and female key ringajigs. The kind that have names on them and say for ages 4 and up. No luck finding one bearing my name so I was going to settle for one that said "angel" on it. At the last moment I thought 'no'. I went back and started going through the male selection of key fobs. I found one I liked - I traded my pink and white girly one for a black and red one that said no fear. As soon as I picked it up I thought of the many times it says in the bible "Be not afraid". As I type this I wonder why there wasn't a feminine key fob that said no fear.
This week I painted a picture of the painful path in front of me as I saw it in my head. A sandy coloured background with a deep, red, thick line of paint through the middle. Fine little black dash marks went down the red line and every so often they went off the path and into the sand yet eventually looped back to join the path. Some black tangents went quite a way off to the right and others looked like a small circle. I like symmetry and wanted to paint tangents off to the left of the picture but they didn't appear like that in my head so I settled for having off balanced detours. When the picture came into my head I was instantly pissed off at God for showing me again that my path went through the pain.
I cannot see transformation happening in my life but I have a sense that it is going on deep within. I have been at the this painful place before and have let fear divert my attention. Always. Today I stand and say "no more". I want what waits for me on the other side of the pain. I want it enough to risk giving up my towers of fear for something better.
Many of my fear issues have to do with my sexuality. You mess with a person's sexuality and you mess with something in their core being. I have built walls of fat to keep safe. I have gone looking for sexual distraction to keep from true intimacy. Anything to keep from being known, from exposing the paper thin veil of my soul.
Last week I had a startling revelation when I verbalized to dearest one that I really only understood sex in two basic ways. From a position of power or one of being used. Bleck. The truth is startling sometimes. For sure there have been times of deep intimacy - when the veil has parted and vulnerability has been possible. But voicing my understanding of sex, saying it outloud, made me want intimacy more than any distortion. For over 25 years I have let these two ways define me sexually. Not because anyone else told me that was how it worked but because that was the only grid through which I could make any sense of sex.
I am standing on the path saying good bye to them. The desire for something healthier outweighs the need to hang on. You may wonder why I am sharing such details. But for those of you who have read this about my journey, this post is another step in a line of many little steps. Maybe sharing what the process looks like for me will give someone hope of their own. Often in Christian community all we hear is the after everything is said and done version of life. Entering into another person's pain is not something we are privy to very often. Hell, we don't want to enter into our own pain let alone one another's. We want tales of victory, not struggles of valour.
I have a sense lately that I am saying goodbye to sexual addiction too. Not that I am free of the temptation but simply gaining freedom from the compulsion. Intimacy and addiction do not make good bedfellows. And I want, am willing to risk everything that has felt safe to me, to gain intimacy.
I don't know how our warped views of how things work get cemented so tight in our beings that we go 20 plus years without challenging them. I know I have let fear of how I think men are short circuit the process all along. No matter how much logic told me dearest one was not like the men of my imagination, I couldn't get past the warped ideas in my head.
Along with these realizations comes a feeling of not being hell bent on getting anywhere. I cannot count the times in the past few weeks when it has come to me that all I need to do is be where I am. To feel the chair I am sitting in, to feel my feet connected to the floor, to the earth, to something so much bigger than me. I don't think there will ever be a post where I declare I am forever free of sexual temptation any more than there will be one saying I have arrived. I know I am willing to keep walking on the path to tomorrow. All the detours - all of them - are part of the journey. I will take the revelations as they come and know I may never get another one. I feel strangely at peace about that too. My prayer life has morphed into something I don't recognize. All I can say is that I feel like I am learning to be present to God a few seconds at a time.
Do I feel scared? Yes. I haven't been willing to walk past this point on the path before. I thought walking through it meant losing everything. What man would wait while I said I can't be with you in that way right now? I have always short circuited the healing journey out of fear that no man, my man, would get tired of being married to a women who was so wounded that she couldn't, wouldn't, until it came from a place other than fear. A man who would wait until she trusted the price of healing did not inevitably mean being alone. To walk through this part of the path involves trusting in a way I have never been willing to risk before. All I know is that I know I will be okay as I surrender to the process. It's not about the outcome here either.
When I look at my new key fob I feel no need to declare I have no fear. If I get real still I know that I am having moments of being scared shitless. It's more important that I give voice to my feelings, honour the truth than be at some other place on the path. "No fear" simply reminds me that when I am scared I will be picked up and carried.