Visiting Your Pain
It’s like stirring up something yucky and murky, like stepping into a warm dirty lake where the mud swirls around your ankles and something with teeth is undoubtedly lurking in the muck.
“Don’t put your feet in! Don’t put your feet in!” cries the anti-wading patrol from the banks. But as you wriggle your toes in the slime, you just know this is only the beginning. You are going to have to dive.
You take off your shirt to prepare to leap. The shoreline protestors gasp in outrage and hurl shame like rocks to deter you. You give them only a sideways glance and recognize them for who they are—your fears and insecurities and oh, there’s their mayor, your Overachieving Perfectionism. You refuse to pay them heed, you mutter a curse under your breath, throw a crude gesture toward the stone-casting crowd, and they are more scandalized than ever.
Just to defy them, you step out of your shorts—you will make this dive in your underwear, and even though your insecurities are laughing and pointing at the way your belly looks, their voices are barely carrying over the water now that you’ve decided your bravery is more important than their approval.
You are in up to your knees now. Something nips at the back of your calf, and you flinch. This is going to hurt. This is going to hurt. This is going to change everything.
Hell. Everything has already changed. You are standing half-naked in the middle of where you never wanted to go and you’ve tuned out the screaming angsts that used to control your every move. Where else can you go now but in and down and under and through the depths of your pain until you emerge like a glistening saint from the Jordan?