A few years ago, I dreamed I was with my mom at an election booth. I looked down at my ID, and some people had altered my photo, so I looked hideous and distorted, like something I wasn’t. It was scary, in that madness inducing way that only dreams can be, eliciting more terror than any horror movie ever could. And then my mom took the ID from me and said, “You never looked like that,” and she fixed the photo. I saw myself wearing an “I voted” sticker and a white dress, beautiful and pure, shining in the sun, surrounded by people I loved, who in turn loved and respected me. She said, “That’s who you really are. No matter what, don’t let them make you forget. The truth will come out.”
My dreams are often prescient, so that one didn’t thrill me. I figured it heralded some not-so-good events heading my way. Sure enough, about a year ago, some people told some hideous lies about me, lies that cut me to my core. And they got worse in the few weeks before this election. But as hurt and angry as I was, something inside me (and the precious people around me) kept saying, “Don’t defend yourself. Let them think what they will. The people who love you know who you are. The truth always, always finds its voice. It takes time, but it happens.” So remembering that dream, I stayed silent, and let the ugly rumors fly, and buried myself deeper and deeper in my inner truth, and in the love of my beloved ones.
I did my best to trust that the loving, powerful Something Bigger that guides my every step would protect me, in its way, when the time was right, and that in the meantime, this pain would help me to grow into something more like the aforementioned vast, beautiful, nameless (but that doesn’t stop me from naming Him/Her) Something Bigger. Because life has taught me that even the worst pain comes bearing gifts. Which sounds all zen-mastery, but in the interest of full disclosure, let me admit I wasn’t always zen. I was 52% zen, 48% freaked the hell out. Sometimes, I cried, and sometimes, I yelled, and sometimes, I ate lots and lots of ice cream. There was a lot of snot involved in this process, and also, lots of potato chips and wine.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been in Arizona, helping my beautiful daughter Desi move. Yesterday, she got some bad news about the health of her beloved paternal grandmother, so last night, we made an impromptu drive to our mountain home in New Mexico. The stars stretched on forever, like I’ve only ever seen them do in the desert. Everything felt magical and clean. We listened to Panic at the Disco singing “Hallelujah” and ate foods that were really bad for us and laughed. Also, in the quieter moments, we spoke our truths. A crumbling marble of a moon hung overhead, reminding me of my heart, still luminescent, but cracked and black in places. I didn’t want to be cracked.
I asked Desi, my purple-haired sage, what I was supposed to do about the anger I felt at what has happened to me. I told her I didn’t want to be bitter. She said, “Well, have you given it to God?” I told her I had. She said, “Give it to God for real, and let it go. Don’t pick it up again.” I knew she was right. I hadn’t really let it go. I decided I was going to. As we were driving up the dirt road to my mom’s house, we saw three deer walking together, and Desi said it was a sign–me, her, and her brother, having broken through the darkness at last. She was right. It felt like a turning point.
Last night, as I fell asleep on my sacred mountain, I prayed for the people telling lies about me, and released them to God, and asked that I be separated completely from them in every way—physically, energetically, and spiritually—and that we all go our separate ways and find our true destinies. I asked that we all be forgiven for the harm we had done one another. I asked that when the time was right, the truth would be exposed, that light would shine in the darkness.
I slept better than I have in a long time, and I woke up feeling inexplicably overjoyed, which used to be my natural resting state, but hasn’t been for a long, long time. I’ve had moments of happiness, but nothing like the true bliss I used to abide in. Today, I found that bliss again. I had this feeling of separation from the darkness of the lies that have surrounded me, and an unsayable but palpable understanding of who I really am, no matter what anyone says. In a word, I felt whole and reinstated as my true self. On election day. With my mom. Just like in my dream.
Here’s to love and forgiveness and to truth and to new beginnings. The truth of what I am may have not been exposed to anyone else yet, but it’s been exposed to me. And I realize now that is the only thing that matters.
I’m going to run on those dirt roads now. I said that even the worst pain comes bearing gifts, and that has been true of this pain. The pain of the past year has forced me to get in shape. Did I mention that in the picture my mom showed me in my dream, I was considerably thinner than I was at the time of the dream? Well, I am. About 20 pounds thinner, to be exact. It was either become an exercise addict or a heroin addict. I decided exercise was better, partly because I didn’t want to die, partly because I hate needles, and partly because heroin is so darned hard to come by. (For those whose sarcasm meters are broken, that was a joke. I’ve never even seen heroin. I did, however, seriously consider becoming a hard core whiskey addict during this time of darkness. Exercise addiction prevailed.) Hopefully, I’ll see some deer. And then I’m going to visit my big brother. Because he is one of the most precious people in my world, who always sees the true me, who loves me no matter what. And who also usually has good ice cream on hand.
Which is a bonus.