on showing up

i didn’t know it yet
but the safety i was lacking
couldn’t come from others
no matter how hard i looked
i kept waiting to arrive in a place,
physical or emotional,
where i felt safe and accepted enough
to express all of me
and i have known such places,
but fleetingly!

so i deduced that my struggle in finding and maintaining
connection with them
reflected my unworthiness…
my lack of credibility…
my not having it together enough…

and so i waited
and doubted
and hid parts of myself away
and parts of me got stunted
and yearned to see the light

but it felt unsafe and scary
so i kept hiding and waiting
and judging myself for not showing up,
comparing to others who did
and wondering what allowed them to be brave
in ways that i couldn’t.

and then you asked a question
that opened my eyes

and all at once i saw
that the unsafety
didn’t come from others,
but from me.
and the place, the landscape, i’ve been seeking
has to exist within.
the safety i’ve been seeking,
to risk, to try, to fail, even,
has to come from me.

this realization is so new
i fear it might just slip away
and so i write these words,
hastily,
in the hope that in penning them down
some deeper understanding of the what and how of it all will sink in.

and little by little
my inner landscape might start to change,
softened by acceptance,
bolstered by safety,
and those parts i’ve been hiding will unfold themselves
and come out to play

[march 2016]

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