I have been recording the audio version of my first book, Deep Dark Blue this week. Aside from the amazing sound engineer who has been the tether through my headphones to the outside world, I have been spending eight or more hours alone in a tiny booth…that looks dangerously close to a padded cell. With nothing but my words, my voice, my memories, and, thankfully, the whole of who I am.
I remember, distinctly, living through each experience I detail in my memoir, and the feeling of emotional solitary confinement. There is never just physical or sexual violence that is inflicted by those who harm others. It often—if not always—comes with intimidation, aggressive psychological and emotional bullying, threats and a reinforcement that, ‘you will never be believed if you were to speak up’ about said events.
I remember, distinctly, sitting down to start writing about what had happened after the fact, and the feeling of total isolation. Rarely is there just one incident or attack after which, those of us that have endured it go straight to the authorities, then a medical professional, and deal, and heal, immediately thereafter. In fact, it often takes weeks, months, years to coax our wounded psyche, devastated heart and damaged spirit, out from behind the walls erected immediately after an assault.
For some, it takes a lifetime. But our bodies, our hearts, our spirits are incredible. Like a broken pipe behind your bathroom wall, our bodies leak what needs to be fixed through the fissure in our souls, until the walls of our lives are soggy, and we finally take notice that now is the time. Now is the time to tear down the wall that we have built around our hearts, and to fix and heal what damage has been done to our bodies, our selves, our souls.
Now is the time.
It doesn’t have to be public. It doesn’t have to involve family, or friends. It can just be you and a trusted professional; you and your artwork; you and your athletic challenge; or you and a pen, brush, lump of clay. You and your heart. Beating and beating and beating the wall around it down down down, to finally allow love in in in. Again.
As I sat in the small, padded, sound-proof booth, the silence started to beat to the rhythm of my heart. It pulsed, softly at first, and then stronger as I gave it my attention. It was posing a question in a steady, throbbing, percussive tone. We are beings who thrive on connection. Connection to our inner self. Connection to those we love most. Connection to those around us. Beautiful, brilliant, human connection. So, why put it off? Why delay for one more day that which is knocking on the door of your consciousness in a steady, emboldening rhythm? Why ignore for one more second the anthem of your body, mind and spirit…? Now is the time to listen. To get healthy. To do for you. To learn how to love yourself, Unconditionally. If not now, when?
As the forebears of Me Too and Time’s Up have shown us, and as all off the beautiful souls in the current discourse have reminded us, if we don’t stand up for ourselves now…Then when will we?
When is a good time to embrace all of who we are, to realize that WE ARE ENOUGH, and to love the whole of who we have come to be…?
We are all more than just one experience. We are all so much more.
It is our time. Our time to rise up, and be present in our own life experience. To show ourselves the love that we show others, the love that we admire, the love that we have always desired.
If not now…when?
We SO deserve it.
Sitting alone in the sound booth, I realized the quintessential difference between recalling the events of my past when I originally wrote my book, and recalling them to narrate it now; both solitary endeavors; both delving into the past. However, now, when I close my eyes, instead of the darkness of solitary confinement and isolation, there is the light of love, the light of connection splaying its warm rays to all corners of my psyche. I have left no unexplored territory, no dark and scary crevasses, or fissures yet to be sewn back up. I did the work to find the profound place of love, that if you allow it, can connect us to everyone else at that base level of oneness. It doesn’t mean that there won’t be other struggles, other times when life’s light dims, but the path has been made. The feeling place of love is ready and always waiting for me to find it. And by consciously nurturing the love I have for myself and others, if my own light dims, I know and trust that its surrounding reflection will brighten my path. When I close my eyes there is no darkness anymore. In the stillness of the tiny sound booth, there is the light of profound love making way for anything and everything that creatively comes forth.
It feels amazing. And we all deserve it.
Polo REO Tate was born in Lansing, Michigan, where her family has deep ties to the community. Her Great Great Grandfather was Ransom Eli Olds (R.E. Olds), a pioneer and prolific inventor most notably responsible for inventing the first internal combustion automobile—the Oldsmobile. Growing up, [...]