By the time I realized where this blog was taking me, it was too late to turn back. I don’t say that as an admission of regret, rather I say it to record the truth.
Because the truth also is, if I could have seen the future of my unfolding here, the unpacking of my experiences, the journey of a fledgling creative, and the love-journey into mySelf, I would have turned and run like my ass was on fire.
I am doing here what every human being is born to do, I am shining my light into the world. I am doing what we have each done so naturally as children, from the time we are born, crying out to be heard, crying out to be fed. I am making myself known, to be seen and to be held whether the world chooses to meet me or not.
Humans are wired for connection. Period.
At first I shuddered at the notion. Seeking connection? Among strangers? Opening my heart, baring my soul? Nooo. Oh, I could never do that.
But why not?
Because it’s just not done, that’s why. What would people think?
And yet, the angels were whispering. And my heart was stirred, nudged gently from a dormant state, a natural sleep of waiting for a time which had finally arrived to meet her. I was as helpless to resist this writer’s journey as a dolphin resisting the urge to swim.
So I said yes to the calling that whispered into my heart.
I began writing here, at first with no small amount of trepidation: trembling, hesitant, embarrassed. Eventually, seeing no booing and hissing, my racing heart before each new post began to settle down, taking comfort in the routine.
And yet, when a book idea found me in Summer 2017, anxiety flooded my being like the aftermath of a broken dam. I quickly learned to push myself beyond panic, emerging on the other side of fear, to tackle book research and meeting with new people.
I discovered within me someone whom I had never met, someone full of courage, the kind of courage I often felt devoid of. It wasn’t that I hadn’t shown bravery in previous seasons, I had. But bravery was something I used sparingly, for very specific and large tasks, tasks like surviving to live another day and tasks like birthing babies. Tasks like sitting through a root canal and tasks like finding my way home in the dead of night on unfamiliar highways.
A new kind of courage emerged, one that was less reactionary and more proactive. My new courage asserted herself, turning unheard of corners, leading me to next levels.
The courage to write here was new. The courage to attempt a kind of book writing which relied partly on the ideas of strangers was also new. Merging the two together, soul-baring vulnerability through blog writing and inviting in-real-life subjects of said book (people whom I had surveyed and interviewed) to follow along on this writing journey—whoa!— that was an entire other level of courage I never even considered.
Why in the world would I ever choose such a daunting journey?
Phffft! I wouldn’t. The journey chose me.
All difficult endeavors in life choose us. No one willingly runs in the direction of suffering. The suffering comes into our lives to build us up and reveal to each of us just how strong and capable we really are.
I have suffered through writing here, disclosing weaknesses, exposing shame. It was my inevitable lot, a stipulation of the creative journey. I have sobbed privately and publicly over occasional feelings of ineptitude and overwhelm. I have watched helplessly as people quietly retreated from my daily life, seeing a burgeoning Maria they no longer knew.
Art finds numerous ways to birth itself, emerging through endless channels, muses and creators. Society attempts to regiment our thinking, setting boundaries on our ideas and lifestyles. It can not be helped, as humans, we are always testing the limits and breaking through set boundaries. This is how we grow and this is how we create.
My writing, in all of its seemingly strange nakedness, is such an example of art.
We, in this society, are suffering under a general collective malaise. We each harbor wounds in various stages of healing. We are evolving as a species whether we sense this awareness or not. The world is changing through its inevitable progression. We can cling to the false sense of safety felt in the familiar or we can spread our beautiful wings, be the captains of our own ships and grow.
We have been chosen for a deeper knowing. We can turn and face it, to meet with our unique gifts or we can look the other way, sticking with the familiar and the semblance of safe (the routines, the predictable). For those who choose safe and familiar, I’m right there with you because it’s way easier and more manageable than this journey I have been on.
Nevertheless, I’m here now and turning back is no longer an option. However, now that I am here, knowing all the things I have learned so far, I wouldn’t go back to my old life for all the money in the world.
I am astounded to know the woman I truly Am today. The woman who I thought I was— the woman who worked forty hours a week in an office two years ago, the woman who started this blog sixteen months ago, the woman who was once steeped in unworthy feelings, the alcoholic, the rape survivor— that woman was merely a composite of society’s projections. That woman was glued together pieces of me. That woman was masks and personas.
The world around us defined that woman: said she was just a mother, said she was just a drunk, said she was crazy, said she was guilty, said she was pushy, said she was just a victim, said she was just a nobody, said she was just a blogger, said she was damaged goods, said she was too light, said she was too dark, said she was too soft, said she was too bitchy, said she wasn’t smart enough, said she didn’t fit– said so many different things, she lost track of what was real and who she was.
Like so many women before me and so many women after me, I believed ALL OF IT. Each day of my life, like a rotating display in a store window, I slipped in and out of beliefs about who the world said I was.
As for the world? The world was everybody. Parents, children, friends, faux-friends, siblings, loved ones, strangers, co-workers, neighbors, store clerks, managers, lovers, and haters. Even the most well-meaning in our circles have at times struggled to see us beyond what they think they know about who each of us are.
What am I doing here?
I am ushering in mySelf. The Real Maria. Not the Maria everyone else tried to say I am, the Maria I have been writing to know. I almost died not knowing who she was …. who I Am.
So, I have moved beyond trepidation and mortification. This world, as it stands, with its restrictive rules about who we are, its narrow definitions, and its failure to foster the connections we each crave, this world will crush us if we let it. This world is ours to shape into something so much more gorgeous and so much more aligned with our natural selves.
We can choose. It is completely up to each of us. What I now know for sure is, when I see you, I see me. And if I win, you win too. We are all in this messy, amazing, confusing and delightful life together.