Tuesday, November 18, 2014

After the Gasp-a work in progress

As I read through what I have finished of the story of my life so far, I am beginning to feel more comfortable in my own skin, even though things I'm revealing are very scary.  Today as I read the introduction, an overwhelming sense of peace came over me.

I have been fighting against writing this book since it became clear that I was supposed to do it.  You can ask anyone who has nudged, supported, encouraged me, and flat out pushed me along the way to not give up.  In my eyes, I kept wondering what the heck it was that they saw in me that would give them the idea to put energy into convincing me to write this book.

I'm starting to see it.  It's becoming clear, and I don't feel like I'm poking my brain with a sharp stick anymore when I think about completing it.  For the longest time, I would sit down to work on it, look around, and notice....well look at that.  I haven't scrubbed the baseboards of the kitchen for a long time.  I better do that first.

Because it was while reading over the introduction that I became freed from the bondage of letting my life be a tool to help others, I am going to share it with you today.

After the Gasp-The Death of Shame

There comes an unfailing moment every opportunity I have to tell the story of my life when time stands still.  It always comes at the same point in my story when I begin speaking about the 12th year of my life.  Gravity pulls my body heavily as if the earth is trying to absorb me through osmosis, and everything starts grinding to a painful halt.  I know the sentence is coming.  I lived it.  I wrote it in my speech.  I have said it before, but its weight is never less.  Frantically, I try to ignore the fact that it’s coming, but no matter what I do, it happens.  In one terrible ragged breath, the moment arrives.  Bright burning lights shine down making me overly aware of the space I fill.  I can feel it pressing in on me like I’m a tin can sinking to the bottom of the ocean.  Suddenly the crowd disappears into blinding blackness.  I want to see them.  I want to plead with them not to let me go on.  I want them to come pull me off the stage and tell me, “It’s okay, you don’t have to do this, if it’s too hard, we understand.”  They never do.

The glittering microphone sits heavily in my hand.  I wonder if everyone can see how much it trembles, because in my eyes, it looks like I’m in the uncontrollable end stages of Parkinson’s disease.  I breathe the heat from the lights in and it scrapes all the way down my throat and burns through my soul.  Then I say it, the sentence that changes everything.  The gasp from the crowd is so large that it seems as though all of the air has been sucked from my lungs and into theirs.  I want to run and hide, to be invisible.  Suddenly I know what Quasimodo felt like when the crowd at the Festival of Fools realized he wasn't in costume, but instead a big ugly deformed monster in their eyes.  Thoughts of escape flood my mind at warp speed, and then it hits me.  It’s not the air that has been sucked from my lungs, but pain of what I had to endure being pulled from my body.  Everything that happens before the gasp and much that happens after is very deeply raw.  I feel God nudging me forward, reminding me that I would be no better than the people who inflicted pain on me if I didn't give the crowd the gift of knowing there is life after the gasp.

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