I am empty….in the best way.
I have spent my time cozying up to silence.
Not trying to FILL. Not busy or distracting. Just allowing. Just being. Observing….my body, my emotions, my energy, my actions, the actions of others, the words of all, the birds, the water, the moon, the sun.
It isn’t all beautiful, but I can’t broadcast the tears as vulnerability is still a bounty being sought. Those moments, too sacred to share. The moments that are raw and scary are also the moments where I meet strength….and SELF.
It is easy to GO OUT when I feel good or write when I have something to say. It’s not so easy to GO IN. Into the menagerie, the inner workings where every step must be taken with care, with affection. Where there are no absolutes, no guard rails, no securities of what I may find.
Entering. Holding her hand while she shuffles past the shadows on the floor, as she finds her way. While she configures how she has arrived to this place. While she unboxes grief. While she tries on an old rag, a scream; when she slips and falls into a puddle of anger at her feet. While she peeps under the lid of a smile. Or when she touches joy under the wing of a blue king.
Lately, the path has been inhabited by many moments to be experienced. I have been taking my time. Learning how to proceed without FEAR and in FAITH. To look up, and be ready to greet the raw and unfiltered as it materializes.
There are no labels, there are no names, there are no formalities. There is no outside, no picture to fit. Everything is free game. And it is there that I have SEEN; in those moments, under the emotion…stands TRUTH.
A strength so potent, a softness, that doesn’t need to be proved. On this path, finding my feet for the first time. And the confidence to STAND. A strength that is a LOVE. A LOVE for this BODY, this SOUL, and this LIFE. One that can not be seen when covered with costumes, things to do, and places to be.
I haven’t lived this hard, this intensely, this passionately in a long time.
I haven’t cried this hard. I haven’t screamed this hard. I haven’t laughed this hard. I haven’t loved this hard.
A loving friend asked me the other day, “Who is the female inspiration on your journey in this moment?”. Caught off guard, I had to feel into it. I close my eyes and a huge grin grows across my face, “Truthfully...it’s me.”
I feel the heaviness in the heartbreak of my woman’s story. I turn back and see them all coming to gather. Peering through the line, managed by time, seen beyond space; I look to a deep grieving, long in the face. They rattle their cages and beg to be set free. The grey lusts to be flush with the sweet heat of passion, ravenous for life. They are calling back to the heartbeat once lost. The beat of the Earth, the pace of the moon. The story must be re-written soon.
My story. OUR strory. HERstory.
The Story that starts at the core, the pit that has formed. At the void that craves to be filled. It started when playing in the field was no longer fun, and harvesting failed to cultivate reward. It started where all was barren, yet overgrown. Where it left with a wanting; the life sucked from the Earth. A doom, when the wives tales were no longer TRUTH. It started when her hair became tight, and her lip taught.
Captured by chore, robbed of spirit in the name of production. Her softness bound by a cloak of survival. The story re-lived in each moment until granted pardon to leave.
A story fueled by fear. Not being enough. Not perfect. A story of complacency. Only what was expected of her. Aligning to the photo instead of the life. Ignoring her roots, her intuition. Disconnected from her truth. Creating a haze to live behind so as not to experience the grief; the loss of HerSelf over and over and over again.
Now left with a deep yearning to create, what has not yet been found.
A child. Naturally, what is meant to be. Pour into the babe the same vacant wanting. Grasp the un-known. A quest to match a love untold. A love so profound. A love so bold. But NO.
It is the Journey to meet Self.
The pieces spread out on the floor. Collected in piles, waiting to be sorted. The process messy. She picks through meticulously, intentionally. Set out to bring organization to the chaos. To establish a structure in which she can dance. To find a space that allows her to be SHE.
A softness craving to be free without fight. A strength without bite. To find a courage to dive beneath. A place where she touches the world, unrestricted, and WHOLE.
She weaves the twigs with stray hairs, bone, feather, honey and clay. Assembling a space to hold creation. Constructing a comfort where she can roost. She wiggles in, and takes a seat. The muscles twitch, and the bones shake. A spark that resounds. Her shoulders move unbound. The skin separates as the wings penetrate. She births HERSELF.
Life begins with Death.
Things must die to re-new. A constant creator and destroyer or our own stories, of our reality, of each moment. The third act awaits. REBIRTH. Within the cycles we are FULL, WHOLE. Complete in the release. The STORY was never anyone’s to OWN.
We are round. We spiral up, we spiral down. We are WOMAN. Unfiltered, raw.
“To love pleasure takes little, to LOVE TRULY takes a hero who can manage her own fear.”
- Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.
Women Who Run With the Wolves
I throw the duvet aside and hop to my feet. Taking a deep breath, I wiggle my toes. One, two, three…ten; all there, I am here. I stretch my arms over my head, a sensation shoots through my fingertips. Good morning, we meet again. Another 24 hours, what will I do with this day?
Business as usual; the trajectory of others doesn’t cease. As the quietness settles, there is nowhere else to go but in.
Caught between opposites, emotions waiver to extremes. My giddy and my grief gather at my feet like the petals of a little girl’s dream; he loves me, he loves me not. I sit in silence, picking at the rose as the days merge with the nights.
Today I woke up and ate cheesecake, then went back to sleep. Today I cried. Today I couldn’t even look at my phone in fear that someone would be on the other side. Today I let the fear consume me.
But how could that be? Yesterday felt so sweet.
Each moment, each day marks its own destiny. Gratitude. Hope. Anguish. Helplessness. Joy. Anger. Release. Sadness. Ecstasy. Devotion. Strength.
Life, in all of its heaviness holds the beauty simultaneously. As much as I try to compartmentalize each aspect, trash and treasure; the more I notice how inseparable they are. Swirling together, there is the opportunity to SEE.
As I weed out the clutter and distraction; my vision clarifies. The stronger the urge is to run away. A dance whose steps have been memorized.
I said I wasn’t afraid of much anymore. That was I lie, leaving little room for the truth; a disguise. I am most afraid to see myself. To see it ALL. To see the mess, to see the ‘ugly’, to see the shadow, to see the imperfection. To see the beauty. To see the strength.
I am afraid of the MERGING. Afraid that it could be possible. What if it’s too beautiful to hold?
IT is not to be held. It is to be given, and to be received. There is no goal. No point A to point B. How do I get from FEAR to FREEDOM?
The path is LOVE. The steps are tethered by COURAGE.
The courage it takes to TRUST yourself, to LOVE every bit of yourself. To hold hands with the shadow, to nurture her too. To accept her. To allow her to surface, to allow her to be. To eat cheesecake, and smile because IT is so SWEET.
Today, I will not look away. Today, I will arrive at my own eyes. No goal, no plan, I will come as I am.
Today I will LOVE fearlessly. Me.
[2017 -- Minca, Colombia]
The fog rolls in from the left, rider of the night.
Alerting the coming of her highness.
Creeping down the mountain’s thighs,
touching each crevasse, the tongues flip to the sky above.
She reaches towards the light,
the warmth of the Sun.
He beckons her,
a beacon for her.
Taking their time.
Learning about one another. Seeing each other.
Taking turns fanning their feathers.
Spreading their wings.
She paints herself thinly around his core,
wrapping him in her cloak.
She retreats, allowing him to chase.
He peaks his head over the horizon once more,
Then becomes heavy,
and fades fast asleep.
She reaches out to tuck him in.
They stand at opposite ends.
Together for just one moment.
If only we could freeze,
But now it is her time.
And she must hold her ground.
Standing strong in the chills of the night,
she watches while everyone sleeps.
She releases her wisdom into their dreams.
She speaks through pictures, and paints the truth.
Her ancient wisdom soothes.
He illuminates her dark corners,
the Moon shines as an ode to his soul.
They face one another.
They reflect one another.
They forever chase one another.
Dancing in circles they spiral in
to complete one another.
I have spent years on the search for what it means to be FEMALE, for what it means to THRIVE, for what it means to be ALIVE. This path has lead me all over the world, drawn to women and their children, to communities, to SPIRIT, and ultimately BACK to MYSELF. Here I will share my most recent adventure, navigating a diagnosis of triple positive BREAST CANCER and each step of the way I figure out how to be a little more ME. I am Catherine-Ayer Gresham a 30 year old woman