"A man's heart may have a secret sanctuary where only one person may enter, but it is full of little anterooms which are seldom vacant." ~Helen Rowland
Last evening, as I drove home from my friend Lucas' loft downtown, I watched a summer thunderstorm roll across the plains from the West. The lightening and clouds were an amazing display of power and beauty and for once, I did not turn the stereo on and distract my mind and heart from the inner dialogue and provoking musings that are always running deep below the surface of my life. The air conditioning kept the heat at bay and the only sounds were the gentle growl of the engine and soothing hum of tired on pavement as my little car ate up the miles willingly and without complaint.
In life I have always been moving, seeking, exploring. The days and years that have brought smiles to my face have always involved my hunger for adventuring the the wander lust that I seem to have been born with. The new horizon and next place have been a sirens call for me ever since I was a child. To see a place I have never laid eyes on, seeking out new faces and places, always just around the corner, a few more miles, a few more steps. Though I have never admitted it, all too often this has felt like I have been running away from rather than venturing to.
My serious thoughts lately have turned inward in a much more profound way and I have been unpacking my past and looking closely at the reality of the events and circumstances that have transpired in this length of days that I call my life.
I have realized that I have three vastly different stories that run like streams through my heart and head about what is going on, though they are not always seen to myself or the other people that join and leave me on this journey.
The first is the story that I present to others about what is happening and how I feel and emote about it. While it is parallel and fairly accurate with concurrent events, it is often scrubbed, cut and polished in order to reflect and paint my world and self in the best possible light. It is how I present to others and many of the deep and harsh things are selectively edited, as well as the baser and more conflicting emotions, wants and desires. I need them to assume the best about me and often this story line is written out of a hurting place of insecurity, a desperate need for acceptance and a plea and reaching out for love. Nothing too harsh is ever allowed to surface and break the illusion that all is right and well with my world. It is my best face forward, regardless of truth.
The second story is the version that I present to myself. It is my ultimate defense mechanism. In it, I take credit for things I cannot control, forcefully push away the pain and hurt I so often feel when things do not go my way or as planned and generally motivate myself in a somewhat self delusionary fashion. I explain to myself why I do not hurt and rotate, trim and fit each puzzle piece of my life into its place in such a way that keeps my emotions intact, hopefully, and provides the positive spin on events that keeps me pressing on, despite circumstances and how conflicted I can be internally. It is the script within the script, the movie within the movie. In it, my sanctity and peace is assured, come what may.
The final and third story is simply the unadulterated truth of reality without any alteration and editing. It is what is true and authentic. It is the one I often ignore, blissfully ignorant of facts unless emergencies, trauma or an event forces me to act and react in self preservation. This is the one that I am so often successful at sheltering myself and others from but should be the one that matters most.
This last one is the one I have been examining and slowly sharing with a few trusted friends that I know will not stomp on my heart. Opening up, even a little bit, and letting someone into that deep, inner recess is often so frightening. That feeling of being vulnerable and exposed poses such a risk the careful illusions that I have used my entire life to cope with the confusion, bewilderment and hurt and pain that others and life have wreaked upon me. Letting someone plunge their hands shoulder deep into the fragile and soft places is in some ways terrifying but also strangely freeing. It reminds me most of the deep sacrifice and willful submission that I have made at times when offering myself to another guy I love in bed. A place that only real love and intimacy will let me go. A vulnerable trust to let another completely in. That role reversal is so hard for a guy like me.
Telling truth. Sharing life. Letting others be the mirror that accurately reflects myself back into my own eyes. Opening up and finding a way to mate up these three lane views of life into a coherent statement and present myself authentically to myself and others.
In the midst of it all, I am finding soothing peace, unconditional love, simple acceptance, healing comfort and authentic solace in all those raw and frightening places that have lain hidden and quiet for far too long.
My heart is deep.
Would you like to take a swim?
Thyre be monstyrs here...