This is an on-going series about secrets, truth-telling, and my boyfriend being in prison. The essays that follow are a raw, open, deliberate look at life lived and liberated. And just a touch uncensored.
When I moved out of New York City a few years ago I shared a house with two women. The slightly depressed homeowner did business via speaker phone from the couch with the television on, which was also where she tended to fall asleep — but she also socialized a fair amount, so she was out and about daily. Not great, but workable.
The other housemate was a transgender gamer who spent all her time in her room. She put black plastic over the windows and kept her own hours. She also OD’d and collapsed on the landing outside my room, foaming at the mouth, and I got to call 911 and handle the paramedics and calling her parents.
She never left the house except for a random couple of hours once or twice a week (and, of course, those few days in the hospital, please forgive me for being grateful about my alone time).
Because in those rare times they were both gone, I would start screaming into my pillow, give myself a loud orgasm, and then burst into sobs.
All I wanted was to be able to do that anytime I needed to.
And I needed to a lot.
My dad had just died, and the man I’d thought I was going to be with forever ditched me so he could keep drinking without interruption. I’d just moved to a new town and turned 40. Oh, and I was deciding to give up acting, go back to school, and open up my own coaching practice.
I was unsettled, to say the least. (I was an absolute mess.)
I needed my unfettered screaming, sobbing, writhing around on my bed (or the floor, or shower, wherever the grief and panic hit me) time. At all hours of the day and night.
Can you feel me on this?
Or maybe you’re wondering why you’re walking around, feeling like you’re on the edge of committing acts of violence, hiding in your car to secretly cry in the afternoon before heading home and acting normal. Well, let me be the one to tell you.
We’re not meant to live on company behavior. We’re not meant to act “normal” and “play well with others” at all times.
We’re souls living out a mission here on earth, and that mission means being in touch with the deepest parts of yourself, both human and other-worldly. Because you’re a flesh and bone human being, yes, but you’re also stardust come to life.
That is not an easy ride.
Society will tell you otherwise, sure. You’ll get told you’re “too much” or “sensitive” or “intense” or “different” if you feel strongly. You bet you are.
Because if you’re feeling anything like this – like you’re keeping a piece of your true self at bay because you’re pretty sure it’s not a socially acceptable part – you’re not alone.
In fact, you are called. You are called to access and admit to the existence of that soul part of your being, to bring it out into the light, and to give other people permission to do the same.
Don’t you ever wonder why so many of us binge and purge? Get wasted week after week? Numb out and stay in dead end jobs and listless relationships? Feel like screaming??
(Oh, did you think you were the only one? Haha! No. It’s everyone. Everyone who’s called, that is.)
And it’s because even when our lives look good on the outside, for those of us who are currently being asked to answer this soul call, there’s a yearning for more.
More wildness. More freedom of expression. The permission to dance – fuck that, to live! – like no one is watching. (And judging and ready to condemn us as crazy.)
That’s why living with other people can be so unbelievably awful. We’re programmed to do everything exactly as if we’re being watched all the time. And if you don’t have alone time (or if you haven’t yet granted yourself permission to let it all hang out when you are alone), you can start to get very pent up.
My boyfriend is currently in prison, and every single letter we write gets read by someone. Our phone conversations are listened to, and every couple of minutes a recording comes on that says, “This is a call from a federal prison,” in an unnaturally calm automated female voice.
I can’t even imagine what it feels like to be on the inside, because just my few experiences of visiting and being watched, assessed as a risk, frisked and controlled, have made me want to find a cave in the forest I can live out the rest of my life in.
So, how to be your socially unacceptable, soul-aligned self and still have friends and loved ones? And not have anybody call the cops so you have to live in total lock-down because the world calls you crazy?
You can head to the woods and let loose there.
You can wait for everybody to leave the house.
You can tell the people you live with that you’ll be letting it all hang out in your room, and not to worry, you’ll be fine in a minute. (Wouldn’t that be so liberating?? To be able to live with people who were cool with you sobbing hysterically, then, when you were done, laughing over hors d’oeuvres in the kitchen?)
Other than solitude, I believe that would be the best option. But it’s not for everybody. And I’m not doing it in my current situation, I admit it, but, boy, does it sound better than holding it all in, amirite?
But it would take making sure you were living with the right people. Everyone thinks that truth-telling is about being indiscriminately honest all the time. It’s not. It’s about being discerning. And kind. And honoring yourself. All at the same time.
A friend of mine told me that the first time he watched his new girlfriend do just that – take a moment to honor her need for emotional release and to howl and cry – he felt something inside him lift up and get set free. Just by witnessing her release.
But, what about the neighbors?
Well, there’s my friend who, in the throes of a very hard break-up, started doing what he called “car-tharsis”. He’d drive his car somewhere remote and let himself go.
Because that’s what all this desire to scream, and cry and get it all out is for – catharsis. (Or if you’re only able to find your sacred solitude in your car … you get the picture.)
Catharsis very very good. In fact, if you’re feeling any urge to find release, it become downright necessary. Sure, it looks scary and ugly and unpredictable, but when done right you come out the other side lighter and closer to God. Healed.
And better able to follow through on your soul mission, which is exactly what you’re here for.