The queaziness is coming on again, as expected. I enter into another round of seemingly interminable dry heaving. I get caught in. This has happened frequently enough now that I know to ask for help.
I get taken into a backroom where the leader encourages me to breath, focus on my breath, find that inner stillness. In any moment of pain or confusion, I can always simply return to my breath and find peace.
I sit and try to focus on my breath. Feelings of unworthiness start creeping into my being. I’m not worthy of this support. I am taking up too much space. I am a nuisance to the group. I don’t belong here.
I return to my breath. I let those thoughts dissipate into the background. I slowly find stillness and come back to center. The feelings of queasiness subside. All is well again.
I want some fresh air and I start making my way to the fire outside.
I can’t find my shoes. I am looking all around for them, shuffling, making noise, taking up space. I ask for more help. The helper cannot find them either. What a commotion. What an idiot I am. I can’t even find my own fucking shoes.
After what seems like an eternity, finally, I just decide to walk out in my bare feet. I could have thought of that about 15 minutes. What a fucking idiot I am. I shut the door behind me. Too loudly. Idiot! Can you not doing ANYTHING right? What an ordeal this is turning into.
I slowly walk out to the fire. What a relief it will be to sit by its warmth and let these feelings of shame wash off me. That will make all this hassle worth it, I tell myself. But as I walk up to the fire, I find that it hasn’t been lit. Ha! What a joke this night is becoming. What a joke I am.
I walk back inside. It’s time I settle back down. I’ve been too much of a nuisance. But I’d better go to the restroom first. I walk to the back of the house. The first bathoom room is occupied. I walk to another. That one is occupied too. What a mess! I can’t seem to do anything right! I can’t even go to the bathroom by myself.
My mind is now becoming overactive, confused, mired in shame. Where am I? What am I trying to do? What is wrong with me?
I am so confused. I get help back to my seat. The leader slowly helps me back into the room. I stumble slowly through the dark, head spinning. And I trip over someone! What a mess, a commotion in front of the whole room. Now they all see me. Ugly. Stupid. Can’t get anything right. Just a child who can’t find his own shoes, go to the bathroom, or walking without tripping over someone. Pathetic.
I finally get back to my seat. I curl into a ball and put blankets all over myself, shame streaming through my veins. I so hated to be seen by everyone as incompetent, powerless, ugly, bumbling. I so want to be seen, to feel, in control, like I have my shit together, like I know what I’m doing. How am I of any value to anyone otherwise?
But I don’t have my shit together. I’m not in control. Not in this moment certainly, but not in life either. I like to pretend to myself that I’m in control and know what I’m doing. But deep down, I am just stumbling through the dark, trying to do my best, just like everyone else. It’s all a facade. I am lost, just trying to find my way through the mystery, just like everyone else.
Slowly, the shame transmutes itself. I begin letting go of the idea of myself that I am in control. I accept that I am not in control. I accept that everyone in the room is going to see me as bumbling, frantic, stupid in this moment, just as I accept them.
I breathe in. I realize that everyone here accepts me, all of me. There is no judgment. No criticism. No laughs. Just loving acceptance and support.
I breathe out. What a fucking relief to not have to pretend that I’m control anymore. What a relief to simply be who I am, in my beauty, in my joy, in my ugliness, in my stupidity, in my awkwardness. All of it. Right here, not needing to be changed or apologized for. Just here.
All of it.