Friday, November 7, 2008

Burning the robes

For most of my life, I have feared my own power and my own desires.

I have tried to suppress and deny and cloak them.

At a deep level, I have embraced the archetype of the priest in an attempt to contain them. I have worn that identity for so long that I began to mistake it for a second skin.

I sought an ideal of purity. I sought to lock my own desires away deep inside me, believing that I did not deserve to be loved completely and that there were parts of me that needed to be purified or burned away before I could show all of myself to anyone. At the same time I was afraid that allowing my core to be touched was a threat to my purity. Purity was my vestment.

The robe served to cloak my nakedness, to keep everyone from seeing the primal, virile, wild self that existed at my core, for fear that it might threaten or frighten or repulse people who came close to me. I did not believe that part of me could be loved or desired.

The robe also serves to shield me from the world, to keep out the air and sun and water that might feed that primal self while I tried to suffocate it out of existence.

Wearing that robe, I invited an intimacy that flowed in one direction. Come to me, show me all of who you are, and I will love you without judgement, I will support you through everything, I will take your pain as my own, I will pleasure you without expectation of return. But I will remain cloaked in my robe, hidden from you.

Sometimes, when I trusted a lover enough, I would shed that robe -- but the expectations and terms and dynamics of the relationship were already in place, and often those lovers would be confused or frightened when that all suddenly changed. And those experiences reinforced for me the idea that deep inside I was monstrous and hideous.

A very few saw through the robe from the beginning -- but convinced that if they saw deeply enough they would find something dark inside me I pushed them away.

It has taken me a long time to look deeply enough in myself to see all that I tried to conceal.

I see now that my wildness and strength are beautiful, just like the wildness and strength of the women who stir my desire.

I see now that in refusing to be seen and desired I have denied those who have tried to come close to me the very experiences I sought from them -- the pleasure of giving pleasure, the pleasure of feeling love and lust, the pleasure of touching deeply.

I see now that my wildness is at the core of my heart, that it is the wild part of me that is in love with the world and seeks to defend it, and that to tear out my wildness would be to tear out the beating heart that pumps my lifeblood.

Yes, I live in a culture that fears love, that fears strength, that fears wildness, that fears anything it cannot control.

But any fear our aggression I might trigger and inspire is far less a threat to my survival than my own attempts to sabotage myself.

I am throwing my robes on the fire.

And letting the rising flame illuminate me, revealing me in my nakedness.