My friend bravely extended his poker across the phone line, stretching it the 1,193 miles that spanned between us that day. He gingerly pressed it into my flesh, waiting to see if I would react. A flinch, a sigh, an ache of pain. I felt it push at me but knew this was not pain. This was pressure that I had asked for. I gave him instructions a long time ago, permitting him to push me outside my comfort zone. He knew that when the moment was right, he had my approval, my encouragement, my desire for him to reach across the distance and poke. After the first jab I was still comfortable. I wasn’t sure how far he would go but, thankfully he pushed further, again waiting for a reaction. I needed to hold my breath this time because it was starting to hurt. I was feeling the pressure and, while it was buffered with love and support, it was noticeable. I still refrained from reacting because I had committed myself to settling in with discomfort. I needed him to still go just a little bit further. He had my instructions, I gave him the map. I told him exactly where to aim. He may not have been sure of what he would find when he found the spot marked with an X but he was boldly willing to go there with me. And, one last time, he pushed and I could no longer hold it back. I exhaled and he knew he was in.
It was nearly two weeks ago that my best friend called me under the ruse of friendly chitchat. “Let’s catch up.” I’m smarter than that. I know that’s a code. We catch up via text. A phone call is unnecessary. A phone call means we need to dig into some stuff. I played along, all the well knowing that something was coming. And it did. And I was grateful. When he bravely intervened he was doing it under the guise of some friendly advice. He never expected he would pull a lever, switch a switch, turn on the lights, break down a wall, open an unlocked room. He had no idea where exactly we would land but the moment was right, the timing was exact. This was just what I needed, what I wanted, what was so remarkably necessary right at that very moment.
I feel like I have spent a huge portion of my life living behind a glass wall. I could observe everything going on in front of me and even portray that I was participating but, in fact, I have been hiding. I have shielded myself from truly being a part of my own life. Cloaked in the security blanket of my past, using my trauma as an escape and excuse for my inability to jump in and live this life, I hid in plain sight behind my glass wall. That day, that fateful call crashed my shield. The glass shattered yet no shards penetrated my skin. Unbelievably, there was no bloodshed. Instead, the glass crumbled to the ground, making way for me to step outside. Giving me the room to move beyond. It opened a passageway out. That day, my friend suggested that the photograph of my life was so large, so massive, so beautiful and encouraged me to move my frame just a mere six inches to the right to gain a new perspective. Look at some new faces. See things a bit differently. It all seems so simple now. So obvious. It’s incredibly silly that I could not see this before. Surely, I had the ability to shift my lens. I always have. It was always in my power. I had the tools to smash that glass. I simply was afraid. I had no idea what would happen when my force field was destroyed. I worried about who I might be, how I might exist. Fear dominated everything. It ruled me.
It’s been nearly two weeks. Just 13 days. Tomorrow we will tick off another day. Another 24 hours that I am free. 14 straight days that I have used my eyes differently. That I have breathed in my life, inhaling deeply and holding it until my chest feels like it cannot contract any further. Then, so effortlessly, I gently open my mouth and exhale and out goes the old. I release the toxins from within. They serve me no purpose any longer. They simply are waste, clogging my pores, blocking my pipes. I can see, for the first time – maybe ever – what my life can be. I am no longer an observer. I am a participant. I am a driver. I am leading the way, guiding myself and others. I worry not of my recklessness because I have guideposts and markers and guardian angels who protect me. I have love all around me, blanketing me, comforting me, cherishing me.
Two weeks later. I am peaceful.