My battles -my most hard-fought and bloodying battles -are fought with my fears. I have one gigantic fear that rules with an iron fist: The Mother Fear. She has babies that sprout from her like long tentacles. I can whack and battle the tentacles whack-a-mole style, and it doesn't bother me much. But when The Kraken itself is awakened, I know I'm in for at least 3 days of warfare.
I am so afraid.
SO SO AFRAID.
That at some point, I'm going to make a mistake. In this instance, I'm afraid of staying married (it might be a mistake!) and I'm afraid of getting divorced (it might be a mistake!).
What if I mess up?
What if I do this wrong?
Monday morning, a trigger awoke the Kraken and I spent all day wondering about my current state of limbo. I received crazy amounts of outside advice from people who usually only speak to me to find out what time of day it is.
"Make a decision and go with it. God doesn't want you in limbo. Staying AND going could both be right -just pick one and GO."
"Be compassionate for him. Try and forgive."
These voices only compounded my fear that I was IN FACT totally and royally screwing this all up.
I prayed to God for help.
The violent sea grew more treacherous by the hour, and I knew God could calm it and me. But there was nothing in those prayers -just silence. A silent God, dangerous water, and a sea monster.
I only want to do what God wants me to do.
Please, GOD, what is the answer?
Silence. Fear. It was ripping me to shreds.
I kept very busy with work and teaching lessons and mothering and feeding everyone, and in one "quiet" moment, I opened my browser so I wouldn't have to THINK about the Kraken. As I scrolled through the names on my wall, one popped out at me.
Call her, the thought came. Did I even have her number? I did some digging, and YES, I did. I'd never spoke on the phone with her. We'd exchanged emails before, and though she wasn't well known to me, I'd always felt this woman to be kindred -no hint of Stranger Danger on my end. I texted her, asking if we could talk. We set up a time, and I went back into battle mode until that time crept around.
When I heard her voice, all sense of etiquette went out the window. Instead of niceties, I poured my yuck-ities into the phone.
Should I stay or should I go?
I'm going to make a mistake, right?
I'm so scared.
God is silent, no direction.
Is He waiting for ME to just MAKE a choice -both ARE right and God is waiting for ME to choose?
Am I doing this wrong?
AM I LIMBO-ING WRONG?!?!
Her voice was calm, something I craved amidst the tossing water around me. She spoke truth from experience, and though I can't remember her exact words, I remember her message:
You can not selectively numb. If you are numbing pain and fear, everything -including the good and God -is being numbed as well. God is not silent.
She confessed to me that she'd felt prompted to call ME a few days earlier but hadn't on account of us not "knowing" each other. "God put your name in my head," she said, "He has not forgotten you, and He isn't silent in your life." Numbing. YES. I've been numbing. I work three hours in the morning and come home to shove lunch in my mouth and take a nap before teaching lessons, and then it's homework, dinner... and inbetween times the house is always dirty, so I can always, always be cleaning.
I don't have time or space to FEEL.
The next day I shared this insight with my dearest piano student -one who is old enough to be my mother and wise enough to be my grandmother -and she said, "Alicia, you have been betrayed. Your trust has been betrayed, and you. went. numb. You have to go numb to survive."
My mind flashed back to three years ago, before I became pregnant with my now-toddler, and I was PERFECT. I was fit, my house was clean, there were freezer meals and fresh linens. I worked out every day and wore my skinny jeans and aired the house out with PERFECTION.
But really? REALLY? I was fully and completely numb. I was in total control of my own life, and I didn't NEED God because.
I got this.
Danny's life was chaotic and spinning out of control under the surface, but on the outside? He was RIGID and in control. My perfectionism lined up perfectly with his agenda.
Routine. Regime. Rigidity.
I was finally enough. And yet, I couldn't feel anything. I didn't care if he looked at porn. I didn't care if he didn't. I didn't write much of anything. And while the house sparkled and shined, my music became dusty and forgotten.
"It's like being in a snake hole," my friend continued, "You're perfect and doing your best. You look just right and act just right and eat just right and know that SURELY the snake that lives in the claustrophobic, dark hole will never strike at you because you're GOOD and sweet. But the snake always strikes. And you always get bit. The hole is dark. There is no light and no hope."
My heart wanted to beat out from it's rightful place and fall onto the piano in front of us.
She knows my pain.
In ALL of the outside voices, God had sent me TWO OF HIS OWN VOICES to let me know that
1) I am numbing
2) It's natural
3) It isn't His way
4) He is here for me
5) When I'm ready
6) It's okay that I'm not
7) BE GENTLE with myself
In all my years of being rejected, controlled, manipulated, and lied to, I never ONCE lost it. I never yelled or screamed or broke or threw anything... because in my broken thinking, ANGER is a mistake.
And I'm PETRIFIED when it comes to making mistakes.
I have a (growing) pile of things I want to burn -ready to scorch them out of my life. I have a poster covered in my idea of what I've lost in this addiction. I want to burn in.
I have phrases that trigger deep resentment and pain -I want to write them on a plate and SMASH them.
I want to beat a tree with a baseball bat and swear and shout and shake my fists at God and Danny and say, "THIS. HAS. TOTALLY. SUCKED."
But if I'm too busy, I will never do it and I will never feel it and I will exists in survival mode where things aren't felt or feeled and everyone swirls around me in comfortable chaos.
I shared this with Danny and he offered to get some defensive training gear from work. He said he could wear it while I beat him with my fists and feet. I know that isn't conventional, but I do believe it would be healing for me and quite possibly for him.
Most of my dear sister who I would love to have by my side during a big fat burning session live hours and/or days away, but this last week God put someone in my path who lives just minutes from me, and who offers no judgement, only love. And she approves of fires.
I gathered up my intense week and brought it to counseling Friday morning and dumped it on my counselor.
"Can you just listen for a while... while I talk?" I asked. He nodded because he's nice, and I shared it all.
The Kraken, the fear, the outside chatter, the monumental phone call, the snake hole, the tactical gear, the fire.
I cried and sputtered out, "I can't feel this. I can't be angry. HOW do I let myself LET IT OUT? Even thinking about it makes me feel awful."
He said, "When someone is physically injured as deeply as you have been emotionally injured, they are put into A COMA so they don't have to endure pain. Your numbing is natural. There is a better way, but don't shame yourself for becoming numb. It makes sense that you did."
He showed me a picture of Peter, the apostle. Peter had fallen in the sea and Christ was lifting him up.
"Peter didn't like to make any mistakes," my counselor said, "He was asked to step out of his own safety boat and into the unpredictable water. He succumbed to fear instead of faith and Christ IMMEDIATELY lifted him up. He didn't wait and let him flail around in the water to teach him a lesson, he IMMEDIATELY saved him."
I stared at the picture and saw my fear in Peter's eyes.
"And Alicia," my counselor said.
"The Kraken is imaginary. Don't forget that part of your metaphor."