I watched a woman who wrote like me, move from the bowels of life to the spotlight. I judged her. It triggered me that she was so stereotypically beautiful, fit, and always perfectly made up. I felt she had watered down her message to become more marketable. Turned deep truths into generic “top 4 tips to fuck her better.”
I watched her ascent with terrified curiosity.
That could be me couldn’t it? Of course, a bit fatter with a bump on my nose from my Dad. And possibly bigger boobs. (But the low hanging pendulous kind.) Wait, could I be on those magazine covers with belly fat, no yoga background, and an overbite?
I watched her struggle with herself and others on FB. Stepping into her warrioress and sometimes her Valley girl. Her preferences went from quirks, to a model, that others sought to learn from or criticize. And I thought, is this what it looks like to be elevated? You must not be sure if you are being worshipped or sacrificed.
Two years ago, she killed herself….
I remember my tax attorney 10 years ago, in a movie-like moment, telling me I could never sell my business because I was a brand. He was so passionate he looked like he was levitating. My wide eyed crazy Jesus. He sputtered, “Isis, you have CHARISMA!”
“Charisma.” What a word. Did that mean I was a charlatan? A narcissist? Or did he mean what I feel? That I do my best to show up, be transparent, and not get killed for it. The lights are on in the house of my body. I live in there. Perhaps that’s what people see? A woman with the lights on.
I remember what it was like, boarding up the windows with cardboard, smashing the bulbs, and curling up in the corner of the closet with the door closed. I was not “charismatic” then.
This is my second ascent. I have already reached a level of success once that scared me. I felt missed. As if my life had become a teaching story instead of something still lived on the edge. I was the oldest woman in my 20’s I knew. Wise. Mature. And decently known/respected/and judged.
When I ran and hid, I went to underworlds I couldn’t have fathomed. Dark dank dungeons that smelt like iron and piss. Fear that pulled out my arrogance like a second spine, or piece of liver. I spent stints in the hospital. Years in countries where I could only gesture and speak basic words. I lost my status. My business. My houses. My money. And something else…my false sense of self.
This second ascent is moving me from my knees. Where I have been hunched over in exhausted prayer.
I know it’s going to be imperfect.
But I know that I need to be on my feet
so I will be heard.
Perhaps I will even have to yell.
I don’t believe in myself anymore.
I believe in the journey that strips us to the marrow so we can love.
I believe in the pleasure that shows me “human.”
I believe in the passion that forces me to speak
I believe in this prayer.