Growing up in an alcoholic and abusive home, I learned early on to hide the hurt. I learned to disassociate. I got very good at lying to myself and others. And, I developed a very presentable impression of a person who had her shit together.
But I definitely didn’t and somewhere in some closet there was another me. Hands tied, mouth gagged. The madwoman in the attic. A lot of effort went into keeping her quiet.
Maybe it’s age, maybe it’s all the therapy, maybe it’s the accumulation of thousands of downward dogs or green juice or meditation, but I can’t silence my madwoman anymore. Writer Anne Lamott describes herself as having dual citizenship “as children of God, [and] as regular old mixed-up, worried, flawed, precious human beings”. So, Public Service Announcement: my mixed-up flawed precious self is coming out of the attic. And she’s stretching her arms. And belting out an Aretha Franklin song and channeling Jennifer Beals in “Flashdance”. And like her, I’m a maniac. If you don’t get the reference, check it out on Youtube.
My inner maniac, the once I’ve silenced because she has weird cravings, likes to write at midnight, drink way too much coffee, and read books that make her cry, is fun and passionate and mysterious. She’s the one who inspires most of my poetry, who wants to climb mountains, learn Swedish, and move to Israel next year. She is the one who loves her children till it hurts, writes poems to her husband, and wants everyone in the world to love everyone else in the world. She’s innocent, naive, obviously embarrassing to her children who wonder when their mother will take off her yoga clothes and wear real clothes. She is the one who laughs through tears, who feels every age she’s ever been and gazes at the stars, certain she’s the reincarnation of some goddess.
Why would I want to silence her?
Life is messy. Complicated. Mysterious. But, it’s time we invite all of our amazing selves to the table and throw a party. Put on the Aretha or Bonnie Tyler or Taylor Swift or my new favorite–Esperanza Spalding. Serve ice cream or frozen yogurt, meatloaf or smore’s. We are beautiful. Messy. Flawed. But oh so interesting.