Anger was comfortable, so I wore it as a garment to keep others from noticing my pain. I felt ashamed and disgraced. The torment boring into my soul made me age without actually growing older. Here was where I desperately wanted to be, but my need to be liberated was not as great as my need to feel protected, so the walls to my psychological fortress remained intact.

It’s hard to let yourself embody each moment as it occurs. You either lean on the past’s burdens or fall forward, pressing your hopes against an intangible future. I was neither here nor over there. I was caught in a parallel universe, rehearsing again and again what I could have done to secure my innocence while my body stood in the present, trying to focus my mind on my current situation.

She was calling me, beckoning me to be here. But being here felt too frightening. It would force me to lay aside every brick, every layer of wall that enclosed and shielded me from those who might hurt me. I wanted to be free, but not at the expense of being filled with enormous pain. Removing the layers would force me to acknowledge the stains mounted like memorials on my heart. I didn’t want to write a eulogy for my pain; I wanted to piss on the grave of my dysfunction and summon the dark forces that had killed my joy, to murder the happiness of anyone connected to the traumas I had endured. In other words, I wanted to forget the past, but I didn’t want the past to forget that I owed it vengeance, and revenge is impossible without holding onto the memories that locked you up in the first place.

When does one finally heal? Depression mounts like fear personified; it builds itself an empire and aspires to reach the heavens and become your god. My Babel started when I drew closer to the things that would hide self. It made me forget who I saw in the mirror. It made me paint her with rags and riches to cover my true decisions to be a witness of my own death.

The REAL Women Intensive by the Water was monumental for me.  The healing process that began is beyond words.  It’s so far out of the reach of what I am able to convey because what I experienced cannot be written in a summary, a short story, a poem, or song.  It is etched in the walls of my soul; reverberating in the beat of my heart.  You see, the sessions on spirituality, sexual healing, big rocks, boundaries, our stories, and self-worth, unlocked places within that allowed the little girl within to merge with the present; to find her way through the barriers of my stubbornness.

I’m now in the process of moving out of the space that had me stuck between here and there.  It was during the intensive and only then, that I came to realize the 10 years of my childhood that had been stored away into a vault by me.  While I have been in therapy, my sessions have become more profound and freeing.  There is something about keys that make their way into deadbolt locks: they find a way to enter into a place the home owner has worked hard to keep sealed off.  Let’s just say, the intensive started the release of me from my own cage; one I decorated and designed. I truly am becoming cage free from the traumas that I hadn’t cared to remember.

Maybe that’s you too.

I believe that while we all are afraid of our past, we strongly desire to make the terror disappear.  The only way to ease the pain of terror is, we must step out of the intermediate space between here and there.  Until then, our here will be in the past and our present will remain obsolete.

I challenge you to step out; to face your fears head-on to become the REAL and authentic you.

~Bathsheba Smithen

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