Words are my world. They are my comfort and my solace, they are my protection, they help me find peace inside when there is non to be found elsewhere. They open me up and empty me out and yet. And yet. And yet.
They are my weapon. They are my barrier. They keep a deep high wall between me and those I love. As much as I find threads of myself with words, I lose them again in the chatter. Those tender strands need to be found, yes, but they need to be followed in quiet, in awe, in silence. In order to hear the words of the heart, the sounds of Spirit, the call of the wild, there must be silence, hush, space. I fill the spaces with words, questions, curiosity, anxiety, guilt ridden searching. I would rather talk than make love. Talk than hug. Talk than sit in the quiet embrace of a friends non-conversation. I would rather see than feel and speak than listen because that has always been my way.
Before I was a writer I was a dancer. I emptied out my sadness and anger with movement that came from deep within myself. I allowed the language of my heart to flow through all of my limbs and not just my hands. When you dance you are fully present to each moment, to each emotion and after the dance comes stillness. A warm, softened stillness. A prayer has been offered and answered and all is well.
And then youth started to flee. Age and responsibility began to weigh upon me. Time was scarce, other people’s needs began to outweigh my own. It was easier to write my feelings than to really feel them, to work them out. I started to believe that it was too ridiculous, to embarrassing for me to dance. I stopped believing in the beauty of my body’s graceful prayer. I allowed myself to become stagnant with inertia, heavy with words my mouth couldn’t shape. I hated feeling foolish when I danced. I hated the way my once strong and graceful body now sagged and lumped along. I watched myself with a cruel and critical eye and I judged myself unworthy.
I cannot tell you when this became my truth. When did I began to care more about the messenger than the message? I only know that it truly doesn’t matter to Spirit what I look like when I dance, only that I dance, only that the prayer is offered. Even if it is offered imperfectly and halteringly and in shame and embarrassment. Even if it is offered by a short, fat, middle-aged woman, flapping chubby arms and stomping chubby legs and balancing on little toes and stretching out long fingers to meet the unknown presence, the Beloved, who dances unseen with me. Even then – the silent prayer is sweet. I don’t know when I forgot that but I’m remembering it now.
And so I wonder, who am I without my words? Who am I without my humour armour and my wit weapons? Who am I with my mouth closed and my heart, my mind, and my ears open?
Who am I when the page is blank?
Who am I?
Only dance, and your illusions will blow in the wind
Dance, and make joyous the love around you
Dance, and your veils which hide the Light
Shall swirl in a heap at your feet. – Rumi