Fear is a cold and dry woman. I have slept with her hard breast pressed against my back, her stringy arms around my waist. Her navel, a piercing iron mouth, pressed against my spine, slowly sucking my warmth never taking too much, for I was someone to feed her never-ending hunger; I was a good host. She caught me while I was still young and tender. My marrow still growing and my understanding slight. Her withered legs wrapped around my stretching limbs, she was the tourniquet to my rising sap. I thought that pain was normal, what everyone was feeling, what life was all about. It was what I saw all around me; I knew not of love. I can still smell the unsatisfied lust and need in her hair and I feel the strength and ferocity of her embrace.
I learned as a girl what love was, (for me that is). I learned that fear was the only thing that you can trust, a base emotion that doesn’t sneak out the back door or leave you high and then below ground. I began to love my fear, I comforted my self against those long years with the knowledge that I’d never be barren, I always had my fear. Something I could count on…
I could count on it in any situation, in the face of any confrontation. I became reckless, bold and indestructible.
Fear was my friend; my solace.
I went deep sea fishing once, when I was 10; as we cleared the bar and headed out into the open sea of the Gulf of Mexico, I remember thinking that we had just left earth, safe and solid earth. Just the open sea and the sky, (remember
I was young). I was shown by large men with callused hands, how to set out my line and adjust the drag if I got a bite. They talked of putting the hook in and when to ask for help, as they patted me on the head and laughed at my eagerness.
When I felt the first pull of the pole in my hands, fear hugged me so tight that my breath came in short bursts and my stomach lurched. I fought the forty-pound pound grouper for 3 hours, and the whole time the men wanted and waited to take the rod from my frail little girl hands. They encouraged me to give up, to hand it over to them; they would let me have the picture that they took of the fish at the dock. Nobody would ever know that I didn’t bring it in by myself.
I was so scared, I felt as though that rod were part of my arms, the line was coming from somewhere deep inside my belly, tethering me to my pride. That fish swam with its fear of death, and I hung on with my little girl fear. By the time it gave up and rose to the surface I was tired, bloody, sore and completely in love. All of that battling and warring had taken my fear and turned it into love for that wonderful denizen of the deep. I had fought hard and won. I wanted the fish thrown back, free to swim again in it’s cold, deep blue home.
The men laughed and pulled (the not really all that large for a grouper) grouper over the side of the boat, and whacked it with-the gaffing hook. Its giant lidless eye stared up at me, accusingly dead, and I cried.
We were never enemies.
I have this dream periodically, the fish isn’t a fish anymore, it’s the cold, dry woman. I am still fighting her hard as she takes my line, and circles back under the boat, diving deep below me; engorged on my love and warmth, she hungry for more. Her Capture means my Freedom. I strap myself to this back-less chair and take in my line inch by painful inch, fighting when she is trying to rest, and resting when she is trying to dive. I fight her until I pull her over the side; hit her over the head and gut her clean.
I look for her eye, I feel good that I won.
Combining faith with trust has brought me to the door of love. I have through the years, been digging a well, one deep and wide, one that has filled with the pure waters of my personal successes and failures. In that well, I dive from time to time and soak up what experience has left me, and wash with the soap of desires for my future. On the sandy beach of my dreams, I lie in the sun and let the wind dry me, evaporating the pain of my past, leaving me lighter each time. My wish has always been to be whole, to be able to love; without fear of what could become of that love, or of myself. I am there, at that place.
I am still but a child of this world let me hold that sweetness in my mouth for as long as I can stand it.
I am on my way.
Have a great day and thanks for being here!