My vacation has come to an end. I return to work today. Almost immediately upon opening my eyes this morning I berated myself: you should have had more fun; you should have done more of X, Y, and Z. I even berated myself for this blog, comparing myself to those who spill out their drama on social media. Instead of indulging this I decided to go for a walk.

On my walk I began a calmer internal dialogue with myself.

I appreciate what I have written this past week. It has been about saying aloud the things that are often too scary to say to myself. Plainly. Clearly. Without poetry or philosophy. It was a sort of dialogue with myself. A good deal of my life has been spent hiding in the dark corner of a closet–sometimes hoping to be found; sometimes hoping to shrivel away and die. Historically speaking, my defenses lead me in-and-away. More isolation is not the way for me (here I stress the difference between isolation and solitude).

In the silence of this holiday I entered a sort of madness where it felt like my very Being was at stake. In this delirium I needed to create my own companion. My struggle to love myself made that complicated so I turned to writing. I wrote to survive and to do so I needed to hear myself speak aloud. It was like stepping onto a stage in front of a tiny audience, closing my eyes and sharing the things I believe are the most shameful, ugly and scary about myself. I talked about the overwhelming maelstrom that I feel inside myself; the buffer I put between this maelstrom and the world; the inner conflict I carry between mind and body; and the deep well of loneliness this creates.

There was something relieving about coming out but it wasn’t about catharsis. And while it was kind of my friends and therapist to respond positively, it wasn’t about that either. I realize that from my madness and suffering sprang something important: an attempt to find humanness in all of the things that I think make me less than human; an attempt to appreciate that contained within my storm are all of the elements: earth, air, fire (so much fire) and water. I have a sense that if I can learn to embrace what I fear most about myself that I will feel….less alone.

My vacation may have been unconventional but it was not a waste of time. I needed the madness and suffering to get me to this point. And I imagine that there will be more suffering along the way. But my journey isn’t about avoiding suffering; it’s about finding my self-worth regardless of what comes my way.

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