When I met her I felt I must be dreaming. I had to blink once, twice, a million times or more before I finally saw her as real. This great dream came true before my eyes, in my arms, now, then, forevermore. I still, a lifetime or two later, have trouble believing what I see, feel, or want to be true. I need to heal.
She smiled and the Sun rose above the horizon, exposing a fog lightly hugging the fragments of my life. I could see the firm ground where there was firm ground, but beyond that I could see a fine, white mist hiding parts of me I simply never wanted to admit existed. There was a fear there, a timely loss of awareness born as she slowly burnt away the veils that hid what laid beneath. Cracks in solid ground appeared as she dusted off those parts of me I had always felt and had always tried to forget. There would always be a shaky patch of ground in the otherwise solid earth, and she sought through no ill will to expose all of it. It was who she was, without excuse or apology.
Let’s not fool ourselves. There is a price to be paid for burning away the shrouds a man has donned in order to find security in this life. Fear shows itself to be a devil’s tool, a torture for the minds of even the strongest of men. Take me on physically, and I will stand firm. Challenge my fortitude and you will find layer after layer of a stone wall built by years of facing the shit thrown at me. Seek to find a trust from me and find a fear that can often create a Mr. Hyde running through the streets of our life. Even the most docile of creatures can become vicious when you touch their wounds, and I am no different. I don’t mean to react, I don’t want to react. Yet I flinch when the pain arrives and I suffer the moment I realize I have reacted.
These wounds are a strange thing. They are there, and they speak whispers whenever I flex the area around them. I’ve learned to ignore the whispers, but they become shouts the moment they are poked. There is my Beloved, running freely in the fields with me until she pokes unwittingly. I react, I pounce on my tormentor without ever realizing who is actually doing the tormenting. It is not her, it is me. I have not yet learned to ignore the wave of pain or the sinister thoughts that suggest she is somehow to blame for it. I cannot stop it, I cannot change it, I simply ride that wave as it crashes all around me often sweeping her up in the carnage. I try with all my might to stop it, but I am no match for the wall of water that has, by now, dwarfed even its creator in size. I simply stand by like a child as it destroys the landscape, ending the run and the freedom as the once-pristine fields become a muddy swamp of lost promise and torturous memory.
All of this because she unknowingly swept away the mist and touched the wound that laid beneath it. The ground shook and the wave came, and now if I am lucky we stand before each other locked in a steady gaze. A part of me feels grateful for her survival, for our survival, and a part of me seeks to protect her from further inundation. I want to take her to higher ground and leave her there, in tears, so that she may never have to swim for her life again. I am unsure and like a child again searching for her arms, her breast, her soothing voice. The tears I cry are hidden by the salty remains of the wave I let loose on the world, but they are there. Sometimes best cried in solitude, other times best hidden, especially from the parts of me that want to let them flow.
I know I have nearly drowned in myself, and I don’t want to take her down with me. I want her to leave, but I don’t have the guts to ask her to. I need her, the Sun, the Moon, the Stars as clearly as I need the breath inhaled upon rising from the wave’s remains. Where she stands is steady ground, and I want so desperately to be there. Yet my feet are stuck in the mud of my own design, and even as she demands me to “walk” I can’t even lift my leg. I stare at her, often hiding the grip of helplessness and fear that dominates my mind. “Please don’t leave me” I utter to her in words she will never hear.
She gives it to me. She gives me her embrace, her breast, her soothing voice. I exhale as if the air itself is burning my insides, but it is not. It was simply holding me up like the man I was taught to be, and without it I collapse into her completely. She accepts me. She loves me. And I am home.
I want her to love me, and soon I will forget this miracle. Another wound will be touched at some other time. Another wave may come, another time of reaching for her will arrive. I will touch her wounds, and a wave will hit me square in the face as she reaches for me. We both survive by loving the place where we stand together, strong and immovable even in the brutal face of human nature. The waves come so that we can experience each other after the crash, and in that experience we are healed.
I want her vulnerable even if she tries to hide it well. I want her to collapse into me after the storm as she exhales her strength into the void between us. I want her to need me, want me, and know that I am there. I don’t offer more than to suggest that I will be vulnerable if only to her. I will collapse into her waiting arms and embrace her with whatever strength I have remaining. I will need her, want her, and know that she is there. The power of that awesome place we stand is found when the waves come, and together we face the storm and survive it knowing something that most may never see. There is a safe place. There is a harbor here. There is a heart that beats for you and arms built to embrace you even when you are soaked to the bone. Especially when you are soaked to the bone. You will find warmth. Yes, you, too, are home.
Imagine such a place called “home”. Imagine even a single piece of ground so steady and strong as to survive all things. Imagine a Love so real as to know humanity and Divinity in the same place at the same time. Then close your eyes and see her and know that it is real. Feel it in the essence of the man you are embracing the woman she is. Feel its power. At that moment you realize that you did not choose it, it chose you. You are powerful and powerless all at the same time just as you are in all of this existence. You fight it in your humanity and surrender to it in your Divinity.
Now you see it. The scars begin to heal. The wounds no longer matter. You freely expose the tenderness that makes you the man you are. You allow the tears that form in the corners of your eyes at the sight of her to freely spill onto your face. You have found your true strength that goes beyond the physical prowess you have developed and the mental rigidity you have been taught. There is a firmness there, on that ground you share with her, and you will not relinquish an inch of it to fear. You no longer see yourself as “just a man” and you realize you can stand up to the wave. True strength does not show itself as that rigid, emotionless, tough man you were taught to be. Rather, it shows itself in Love, compassion, and an unbridled devotion to be who you are outside of who you were taught to be; who you have chosen to be.
Want to know what strength is? Cry in front of a crowded room. Wear your heart on your sleeve. Surrender to the woman who shares your love. Forget. Forgive. Love. That’s where real strength is shown. Remember. Don’t ever forget who you are in spite of what they told you.
Your love will heal you. You love will heal it all. Just trust, and you will see.