Sometimes a pause and silence is inevitable. Change is inevitable, dumbness (muteness) as well. You may be paralysed by fright, but also by astonishment or great and unexpected surprise. In my case, it may be a mixture of all of them.
It would be easy to explain non-writing with the pace of life, the work that needs to be done, the life that needs to be lived. But it would be too easy, too superficial. The real reasons are much deeper. “Your self-image is shattered and you're still creating something new, adapting to a new self,” said one good person.
It was true.
It's weird when you look in the mirror or see yourself depicted somewhere and don't recognize yourself. You know it's you, but you don't recognize it anyway. And at the same time, you know that nothing bad has happened in your life. On the contrary, things are going well and you are in a good place. You are in the middle of change. And yet it's hard. You know, and it's frightening. Going into the unknown and meeting the unknown is scary. Meeting the unknown parts of your own self is even scarier. To admit, it’s you. It's also part of you. You are this person, the whole of it is you.
To live half of a lifetime and not meet some of the sides of yourself? Meet, but not to admit to them, not even see and recognize them. Slip over, close one of your eyes, forget about them. It is easier to stick to the one sided self-image, to trust the facade. It is far easier to engage in self-conviction and self-enduring self-affirmation. And yet, inevitably you can feel that something is wrong, something is missing from the picture.
A few years ago, when this journey began, I was quite frightened when I was asked to explore my own fragility in an introspective conversation. I was scared. When I was asked why I didn't want to and can't be gentle and fragile, I heard myself answering that it was impossible, because what if I would fall and shatter into thousand peaces. And yet it was the journey of studying my fragility that I, at that time, perhaps without knowing myself, had just embarked. And I also shattered on the way, perhaps not the whole of me, but parts of me definitely. Especially the facade, the one-sided image of myself that I had been using for so long.
It is more than reasonable that we have facades, images we parade of ourselves, these beautiful and flawless, or even untouched faces. Sometimes they are very much needed. However, they are unreal and reality is much richer and much more varied. Much more erroneous and flawed. I'm more often mistaken than I wanted to believe. More humane. And also flawed.
"Couldn't I be taken back to the shop and replaced with a newer, less flawed model," we sometimes joke with each other. And it helps to cope with oneself, not to take yourself so seriously. Acknowledging one's own shortcomings is a task that is easier on paper and more difficult to complete in life. Theoretically, of course, everyone is human, everyone makes mistakes. But to really be in a situation where you actually see and are forced to admit that the way I do things, the way I am sometimes, that this hurts others or worse, that it ignores other's feelings. To do that is another story. I am sometimes blind and rough. Like a tank in a porcelain shop. And I've done it many times, for years. Not admitted, not seen. I'm forgiven. This is how she is like, that's what she does, they think.
Seeing yourself in the mirror and seeing your shadows - it's scary. But it's even scarier when someone else sees them at the same time. You know that he sees, and all your efforts to hide or beautify these shadows are in vain. He sees. It's like looking behind closed cupboard doors. He says he loves you the way you are, the whole of you. But you are still afraid, it’s hard to believe it. Words are words. He will get scared and leave.
But he stays. He examines the inside of this cupboard with me, by my side, from behind me, holding my hand when I feel shaky. It's scary when a corner is dusty. The light has not shone there for years. He won't let me close the cupboard door comfortably, but will encourage me to get closer and get to know my inner piles of dust. Let's look further. Gradually, I get used to the fact that the cupboard with the dust piles is really part of me. Initially, it takes time to get used to acknowledging this fact. It's me. This is me. These are my shadows, my piles of dust.
Gradually, I dare to look at the cupboard myself and examine it. I'm starting to notice and recognize my dust piles. This is my pattern, this is what I do. I'm blind here. Unknowing. Clumsy.
I am beginning to understand why I have closed the doors of this cupboard so tightly for myself and why I needed to protect myself from its contents. Why I am who I am. I see the roots. I am angry. I prefer anger to sadness, I try to hide my sadness. It is easier to be angry than sad. Angry does not feel as weak as sad.
I can also be sad if I want to. I can even be fragile. If I want to. And if I want to, I'm victorious. I am flawed and yet lovable. I am able to love. Being flawed and admitting it to myself. I'm not so afraid of my cupboard and I'm ready to look at yours too. With you. To stand behind you. And you behind me. Together.
Strange that being together is so much about being yourself. Encouraging self-recognition. Encouraging the recognition of being alone and experiencing loneliness. Encouraging recognition and seeing our own shadows. To see them, get scared, even freeze, but still find room to come out of frozenness. Melt away, get scared again, until the scaredness becomes less. To dare. Again, to meet the unknown in me and in you. There is nothing else.
We just need time and courage.
The words will come.