”It is in your darkest hour, when you stand face to face with your inner demons that you understand who you are. It is also when you realize the depth of your strength and faith to overcome the compulsion to quit. The gift that comes from such a realization is knowing that the greater purpose you were conditioned for will provide all you need to forge ahead.”
Thanatophobia – An abnormal fear of death.
When I made the decision to reach out to victims of rape, incest, and domestic violence through my writing, poetry performances and speaking engagements, I had no idea where that path might lead. Little did I know that I would continue to relive my own experiences as I wrote my books and spoke to others. Oddly, I was disconnected to some degree, because I felt I had overcome my personal issues and forged ahead. The need to fulfill my dream to help others, overshadowed just how deeply mired I was in my own life experiences. It leads back to empathy, which is the subject of my previous blog post. I understood how other’s felt. I shared the nightmares. The tears of frustration became a common occurrence at random moments in my life. Nonetheless, I was determined to stick with it and give something back because of what I perceived to be the blessing of my life.
There was never a moment when I thought about checking out. The reason. I had two amazing kids that depended on me for their lives. I had a deeply ingrained understanding of that responsibility and though I had moments of weakness, when I thought I couldn’t go on, I knew that was not an option.
Now, my children are grown and I’m living on my own for the first time in my life. I’ve made it through menopause (without HRT), a rapid onset of illness (that has since ebbed), empty nest syndrome (my kids were always the center of my life), relocating to a new city (St. Petersburg), a single life (yes, I have moments of longing for a relationship), and above all else, realizing that my primary life responsibility is now to myself. Underneath all of that, the rocks and crags that have shaped my foundation through the decades, began to crumble.
When I did the photo shoot I opened a Pandora’s box. Hell, I blew the lid right off. Every demon I’ve kept at bay circled around my head like vultures waiting for me to drop so they could feast on my defeated remains.
Last night I questioned my decision to walk away from the in-the-box life I’ve been living and forge ahead as an artist and someone that can make a difference in the world, however small or large it may be. Last night I questioned my decision when I realized I don’t make enough money to support myself and every venture I attempt is circumvented. Those vultures were mighty persistent at pecking away at my positive convictions, so much so, that I collapsed in on myself and asked that question we are faced with when times are tough. WHY? All I knew is that I was tired and I didn’t want to play anymore. That led me to wonder if it was time to check out. If I was ever going to do it, last night would have been it. Ironically, among all of the other things I’ve been imbued with over time because of my journey, thanatophobia, is one of them. No matter how hard life might get for me or what may come my way, I can never end my life. I did not reach for an elusive God, or religious iconography, for in that second I knew that I was God personified. Whatever I did at that moment had nothing to do with an omnipotent being, but solely came from a choice. God is the Universal power within that connects all human beings to a deeper purpose than their individual journeys.
The greater understanding of my fear of death revealed itself in a burst of light. The fear stemmed from the idea that I will not have left my footprints upon the collective memories of those I love and those that love me. I know the first step was taken long ago and many more have followed. The deepest footprint I left on any psyche was planted firmly last night when I placed it in my own memory and accepted that I can love myself and I will make a difference. I already have.
That is all.