Dinner Guests

It felt taboo, making the conscious choice to invite my insecurities, my depression, my anxiety and irrational thoughts, my trauma and my past to the dinner table. To allow for such things to crawl back out from the shadows I banished them to. To shine a bright light upon them so that I might finally see them clearly, see myself more clearly. To sup with them from across the table as invited guests, no longer mortal enemies in exile. To see them. To hear them. To know them. To become familiar. To merge. An unholy union.

It’s unsettling – the resurfacing of demons and dirty laundry. Even more so when it’s a purposeful decision. It’s a self-inflicted wound. A bloodletting. A ritual suicide. And I guess in a way it was both therapeutic and a means to restore honor – falling upon one’s own sword for deliverance. 

I spent most of my days wishing and wanting the collective of my lived experiences to be thrust into the forgotten, buried in the subconscious, so that I could more easily pick and choose the altered versions of reality that suited me best. The ones void of pain, guilt, anger, and fear. The ones that told the better stories. The ones cultivated to keep me safe, to keep me sane, and give me the excuses I required to tread the same waters as the same person. It was owning a full wardrobe of clothes but resigning to the same pajama pants and worn out t-shirt – day in and day out. It was choosing the narrative I found most comfortable to live in. 

If only the sad things could disappear in the darkness altogether. If only the pain could heal on its own somewhere far away from the surface on a subconscious autopilot. If only the shame, guilt, and anger could fade like deep colors washed in hot water too many times.

I believed I could just will it all away. That I could forget about certain people, places, and things if I stuffed them down far enough. I could pretend they weren’t there until I didn’t need to pretend anymore. But what I also did in this process was will myself away and forget who I was. I became someone unfamiliar. I played a passive role in my own story. A stage double when I should have been the lead.

I swore the laundry on my clothesline was clean when I knew damn well it wasn’t. The truth was that I started to run out of room underneath my bed. Things started to pile up and topple over along with my excuses. The skeletons were being pushed from the closet, violently. The bodies of former selves past resurfaced like Jane Does in the water – blind-eyed and bloated. Evidence was strewn about everywhere, no longer hidden, no longer secret, no longer circumstantial. I just couldn’t run from the truth of it anymore, the truth of myself. 

I survived, then I existed, and now I wanted to live.

If I wanted to live, and I mean truly live, then I couldn’t live life in fragments and falsehoods. If I wanted to heal, I had to feel everything, not cower in the light because I was terrified to sit with myself in the dark.

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