Tragedy is life’s proposal to honor our union with her “for better or worse.” Our broken heart is an invitation to say "YES" to life on her terms, independent of our desire for how she ought to be. By honoring her darkness and depth we choose to dance with life, no matter how risqué the cut of her gown.
My birth experience urged me to this kind of life affirming “YES” by demanding that I traverse the depths of the feminine wound. In accord with my stalwart and longstanding intention to “accept the gifts of nature,” I obliged. Gifts aren’t always adorned with fancy bows and accompanied by celebration. The most treasured gift I ever received was decorated in meconium and delivered devoid of breath. I have done my best to embrace every bestowal, without restriction.
Those I summoned to support me during the sacred time of transition were offered a unique opportunity to hold space for the delivery of nature’s fiercest gift. Without the same urgency I encountered, those invited to support me were presented with the prospect as a choice and not a requirement.
In keeping with the human tendency toward self-preservation, when the going got tough, those I had summoned to hold space for my experience chose instead to abandon my bedside. All but my beloved partner revoked their promises to embrace me and the dark manifestation crowning at my waist. When offered the opportunity to affirm life in her fiercest form, a fervent “NO” echoed emptied hallways.
What exactly was denied when those entrusted to hold space refused to do so? I would argue that life itself was denied, in its totality and truest form. The refusal to hold space is a refusal to honor the depth of the feminine wound. The denial to hold space is the denial to face upset with authenticity. The failure to hold space is the failure to step courageously into the unknown, where only vulnerability can illuminate our capacity for endurance.
We deny life when we offer ourselves to her only in celebration. Yet, life demands recognition of her grandeur and grotesqueness. And, as the old adage promises, she will always find a way. Where there is refusal to acknowledge the parts of her that stench, she will rip bows from her blessings and bestow us with a proper sense of smell. While spectators employed hand to cover nose, I did not have the same luxury. With arms bound to the operating table my eyes widened and nostrils flared, absorbing the full-flavor fragrance of fatality.
Just as a window can open to usher in fresh air where it has become stagnant and stuffy, hearts can open to hold space and help disperse the weight of trauma. Much of the time it feels like I am still strapped down in a room where all windows and hearts have been sealed. The oxygen mask muzzling my face is a far cry from the cleansing ocean breeze I long to feel caressing my wounds.
Won’t someone open a window and offer themselves as the breeze that helps dispel the stench?
Empty hallways still echo a foreboding “NO.” I’ve learned the hard way that, no matter how much I desire it to be so, the comfort I seek will not be provided by another. If I desire to feel that cleansing breeze, I must use my teeth to ravage the fancy bows that bind me. If I desire to take in fresh air I must take aim at those sealed windows. With extremities liberated I will wipe clean every altar and sepulchers where “NO” rests and denies the wholeness of life. Bows that disguise, crushed underfoot, a life affirming “YES” will echo in the wake of the havoc I wreak..
Each plunge and twist of the knife was necessary to remind me that...
I AM the capacity to suffer betrayal;
I AM the capacity to know abandonment;
I AM the capacity to watch my most treasured dreams disintegrate;
And I AM the capacity to survive it all.