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Posts Tagged ‘selfworth’

Worth

In life, Restart on November 23, 2014 at 1:06 pm

worthThis isn’t a pity-blog. I write, with sub-zero intention to ask for sympathy, which in my books is the poorest form of begging. I write, because what I’m about to say, is clearly not something we hear enough. The power to be, the freedom to be, are the branches of the same tree, that’s rooted deeply in responsibility.

21h30, Upper East Side, Park Avenue, a night where it was too cold to sit at a concrete street corner. I was walking home, briskly, in my own zone, as usual, because my jungle education has trained me that a prolonged, or even an establishment of eye-contact with a stranger could mean trouble. On the streets, I oscillate between the observer and the oblivious, depending on mood, distractions, immediate environment, company… Most of the time, I’m focused on my audiobook. Most of the time, I don’t give a second glance to street-dwellers; I don’t give to encourage begging. Perhaps that makes me heartless, but I believe any fully able-bodied being can, and therefore should, contribute to their society by taking care of themselves, so to reduce the amount of #firstworldproblems, which by definition and existence, is somewhat of a privileged thing.

I walked past such a street-dweller last night. Caught my eye because she was too beautiful; she didn’t belong. If this had been a scene in a movie, the casting director must have been high. But it’s real life. Whether she belonged or not, she was there. In real life, as we do in movies, we all look for that one thing we identify with – the parallel; the relevance; the relate-able elements. As I walked past her, my shadows merged with her existence. My bones felt a familiar chill. The echos of my footsteps became increasingly uncomfortable for the next block, until I turned around, and there I was, at her end of the street corner.

How life imitates art.

What unfolded was almost a modern rendition of Bernard-Marie Koltès’ “The Night Just Before the Forests.” A long monologue I had studied tirelessly, rehearsed endlessly, and performed in no less than a dozen ways. The ways of being had long been adapted to heart; my acting coach hit this one on the bullseye. Every character I play stays with me, in some form or fragment. She said I was strong enough to play the part written for a man. She saw more in me than I cared to believe.

I reached out to her, the beautiful, crying, woman partially out of instinct, and partially conditioned by training. As I do with most tasks in life, being an artist, after all. It’s unbelievable how much you feel safe to reveal to a stranger, who are never so unforgiving as those who claim to love you. I listened to her as she shared her stories, told her that at least she had the spine and dignity to remain sitting up, while sunk below my lowest points, I was completely horizontal on concrete…only about a year ago. She had just run away from an abusive husband. Her second marriage.

S: “I don’t know if I just attract abusive men, or if all men are the same.”

X: “I would say it’s both.”

I shared a lot of my past that I don’t care to relive. I don’t have the answers to all the questions she posed me. But I know with concrete certainty, that under no circumstance, should we bleed our own worth in the name of someone else’s pain. Not even in hell, would our worth be traded below battered spirits and marked bodies.

S: “It’s happened before… we just had dinner, and we both made a list – a list to work on…but when we got home…”

X: “Have you reported it to anyone?”

S: “No. Everybody loves him. No one believes me.”

Why did I even ask? Have I reported to anyone? I did, that first time, when I was 9. No one believed me. I stayed at home, pretending to be sick for the whole week… 16 years and 28 countries later, the matrix of danger have only grown richer. Rich enough to see patterns; rich enough to see that life, is a battlefield; rich enough to know that my acting coach was right, that to survive, you have to be no less than a warrior.

I gave her a number of support lines, resources, therapy-related things I had gathered during my darker times. I told her that help is there… counseling is there… but perhaps the most direct way of help, is simply sheltering her for the night.

We stayed at that corner until she ran out of the crumbled (but clean) Starbucks napkins I had (out of slight embarrassment) offered her; until I could no longer feel my legs.

S: “I don’t know what to do. I want to just run away, to leave, from everything. Or should I go back and deal with it?

X: “You have to deal with it… Nothing resolves itself. But you don’t have to deal with it right away, or right now. Do it when you’re ready…”

There are different ways to go about healing. For a while, I spent 5 hours of my Tuesday evenings deep in BK, with a group I didn’t feel the slightest sense of belonging. I choose to spend my life differently now. But I remember the scars as I do with the burns. I use it to fuel my art now. I use it to light up inside.

Worth begins with self-care. Love and light are the two essentials, without which life would be a path of decay. Those who dare diminish your worth is criminal. If you allow it, you are the accomplice. Never too late to walk away. Never too late to start a new journey. Never too late to start loving yourself.

{x}

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