I trudge through the mud, pulling each foot slowly forward. Moving at a painstakingly slow pace, I’m not sure I can do this much longer. I contemplate sitting down and allowing the mud to overtake me. I’m in agony, exhausted and wracked with pain. It’s excruciating and I’m ready to give up. Done. No more. Not sure where I’m heading or where I’ve come from, all I know is the mud. It’s thick and cold with a deep earthy scent and I am nowhere.
The sky is dark and dreary with the sun sitting on the later side of the day. Soon darkness will come, providing little light, not that I know where I’m going or for what I am searching. There are no trees, houses or even a hill in sight. A vast expanse of mud is all that exists and I’m perplexed with this situation. How did I get here? Where did I come from? Where am I going? It was as if I woke up from a deep, dark sleep in the middle of this desert of mud.
Just as I’m ready to let go and allow the mud to swallow me, I see her. Just outside my vision, but standing over my shoulder, I can see her disdain spewing out of her. With arms crossed, looking down over her pointed nose, a snarl moves across her lips. I cower at the sight of her. Hair and features pulled tight.
“Who are you?” I ask.
She shows her teeth. “Where are you going?”
I cower again, not having an answer to her question.
She’s familiar, but unknown to me. I can’t seem to place her in my memory anywhere, but then again I’m not aware of anything outside of this moment in the mud. Pulling one foot forward at a time, trying desperately to make sense of where I am. I just can’t seem to remember who she is. But I know her, and the more I think about it the more I realize I know her very well. In fact, I sense that we are quite close.
Her stare begins to scare me. This stare, creates a putrid, ugly, yellow and green hue which emanates from her eyes. Her nose becomes more pointy and eyes more black as I scramble to push myself forward, away from her, out of sight. Regardless of how close we are, I want as much distance between us as possible.
My brain is tired and my body is beginning to crumble. I am on the brink of total collapse. I peer over my shoulder at her again and am enveloped by a tempest of the ugly yellow and green hue. Like a swarm of bees, it surrounds me, stinging my face and hands. It gets harder to move and I feel smaller. I’m cold. So cold and everything in me begins to solidify. Working to move forward, I realize I’m frozen, stuck in time and the putrid colors begin to penetrate my whole being. I look as if I’m jaundiced and there is nothing I can do to break free. The last of my strength is pulled from me. Out of the corner of my frozen eyes, I see a beautiful, brilliant blue moving out and away from me, as my heart fades in my chest. She reaches out and grabs the blue cloud, inhaling it. I fall to my knees and the mud welcomes me with its cold embrace.
Her contempt moves with her into my line of vision. The black eyes are the darkest thing I’ve ever seen. She says, “I hate you. I hate you with every ounce of my being.” I stop trying to push against my frozen bones and realize I am stuck here. Stuck in her hatred. Stuck in her resentment. Frozen completely in this god-forsaken place with this invective woman taunting me.
“You are nothing to me,” she spits. “Your very existence repulses me.”
A tear freezes on the edge of my eye.
“Ha! Crying? That isn’t going to move me to give a damn about you. I don’t care. You’re a worthless waste of time and there is no getting around that. Just release yourself into the mud and let me take you back. There is nothing out here for you anyway. You are smaller than you realize and no one is interested in you whatsoever. You might as well just be mud. Dirty, disgusting, thick and cold.”
With no more strength left in my being, I slip deeper and deeper into the mud. She stands over me, arms crossed, smirking with a deluge of evil pouring from her eyes. The mud is creeping up my body and I struggle against the frozen contempt, fighting with the inability to move.
Her smile fades and she quickly turns away with a flurry of hair whipping around behind her. I catch the faintest glimpse of something I hadn’t seen before. I am so focused on fighting while consumed with her hateful eyes and judgmental nose, I missed the tear that slipped out. I see the streak of not one but several tears, as their path catches the last of the setting sun. She hides her face from me as hateful words continue to ooze from her lips.
“You don’t matter! No one cares!”
She gnashes her teeth, throws her head back and screams. The screams are piercing and painful. She falls into a heap before me, whimpering.
As I watch this manic episode play out before me, I see her resolve weaken, tears dripping from her chin, hair wild and loose. She lifts her head and makes contact with my frozen eyes. I see her face-to-face for the first time. She’s me. A younger me, long hair pulled back into a ponytail, face flushed with the pain and agony raging through her entire body. I feel her. I know her. Compassion floods my heart as I want so desperately to hold her. Her agony spills into and through my body like a wildfire. The deep pain rises within and I scream.
She reaches out to touch me and my frozen bones begin to release. Her features soften and I hold her gaze. While we are caught in the eyes of one another, my bones begin to move and the tempest forms again. The putrid yellow hue fades from my skin as it swarms around the both of us. With the wind pulls wildly at our hair, she drags me from the mud. We stand in full view of one another as the storm wreaks havoc all around us. At this moment, I am vulnerable, open and completely consumed by compassion.
Again, tears form on the edge of my eyes. This time, they spill out onto my cheeks. She gives a half smile and reaches for me. I pull her close and we hold onto each other as the storm progresses.
It shifts from the putrid yellow and green to a brilliant blue and white. As we hold onto each other, the colors swirl and move around us. My arms wrapped around her waist, hers around my neck. The winds increase and I feel her slipping away from me. With all my might, I pull her close and suddenly, it’s over and she’s gone.
Slowly I open my eyes and see that I’m laying in a forest, on the grass of a small opening looking up at a blue sky with white puffy clouds floating by. A small brook is babbling behind the trees. My cheeks are warm and I am clean. For the first time, I remember. I remember everything.
Sitting up, I see something out of the corner of my eye. Flitting among the trees and splashing in the brook. The midday sun is split among the shade of the trees. I can see shadows moving in the shade and catches of something in the light. Is that giggling?
I stand up and begin walking towards the sounds of water. The tall meadow grass brushing my legs and hands as I make my way towards the woods edge. I’ve had enough darkness for a lifetime and not sure I want to cross over into the forest, but my foot steps forward with a lightness I didn’t expect. The ground is soft and covered with fallen leaves and brush. I see a path and my feet direct me into it. My heart is hesitant to go in this direction, but my feet are sure, confident and determined to walk this way. With pounding in my chest, I work to slow myself down, breathing deeply and taking notice of the trees around me. Leaves shimmering in the sunlight as the breeze makes them share their whisperings. I stop, in awe at the incredible beauty that is all around me. Breathing deeply, I take in the scent of dirt, decaying wood and pine. My body begins pulsing with the movement of the creaking trees. My heart settles and I find peace.
I look up just in time to see someone dart between the trees. I’m sure this time it’s a person. They are moving so fast I can hardly get a glimpse.
“Over here!” Is sung to me from further down the path. A smile creeps across my lips and I take another step. “This way!” Another sing-songy call.
Before I know it, I’m standing on the edge of the brook and I see her. She’s sitting on a bank downstream, feet dangling and splashing, soaked from head to toe wearing a white shift. She turns her face toward me and our eyes meet. Long hair dripping wet, cheeks flushed with joy, and a smile embraces her lips. My heart leaps with joy knowing that she is here with me. Her giggle carries on the breeze as the trees croak their appreciation.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. It’s taken me about a year to get comfortable with sharing this part of myself. There are still certain paragraphs that bring tears to my eyes or a lump in my throat, but that’s huge progress.
My accusatory voice causes me to freeze and makes moving forward impossible. When I take the time to sit with her, have compassion for the parts of me that are afraid, out of control, or contemptuous, I find that moving forward becomes possible again. I also realize that I need to visit with her on a regular basis, to make sure that I am offering myself the compassion I need, or I will find myself frozen in the mud again. This is definitely a self-care practice I need to maintain.
As I share this with my readers, it makes me curious:
Who is your accusatory voice? Is it you, or someone else?
How does this voice cause you to react? Do you freeze like I do, or do you do something different?
What does he or she need from you?
Please share your experiences with me. Write in the comments, send me an email or private message. I’d love to hear from you.