Tonight was nothing short of cathartic.
I did something I haven’t done in a long while–which, as a witch and budding astrologer, is sort of embarrassing to admit. I sat outside, in the dark, under the moon. No phone, no companions, just me, myself, and that big beautiful luminary for 20 whole earth minutes.
For the last 5 years, I have been suffering with depersonalization disorder in varying degrees of intensity. One of the most insidious–but also deeply private & easy to hide–ways that my disorder manifested was that I became existentially petrified by the sight of the night sky. The daytime sky too, but the moon? Good fuckin bye.
Looking up at the stars–once a beloved imagination- & intuition-stimulating activity–became a 0-100mph acceleration into panic attacks that bordered on delusion. It would feel like I was immediately detached from my body, gravity gave out, and I was floating out into the abyss, never to return to the safety of my human meat canoe. Without fail. Everytime. Sometimes it would be immediate, sometimes it would take a few minutes, but the feeling always came on eventually.
While the worst of that fear has gone away, I still feel mild anxiety looking at the sky. If I look up, it can only be for a few moments, and it can only be if I have my phone near me so I can distract myself if I start to have a panic attack.
Tonight, home alone, I left my phone in my bedroom and sat out on the porch. I looked up and out and listened. I heard crickets and felt myself immediately disembodied, floating somewhere far from my self.
Let’s do this.
I let go. I said ok–float away, soul. See where you land.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe, but I went with it. My breathing felt labored and with my eyes shut, I had vivid memories of seeing my grandmother dying when I was 14. Then I felt like I was my grandmother dying, and then my great grandmother dying, and then the entirety of humanity grieving and dying and begging the moon for a witness to, a reason for their suffering.
I let out an enormous sob, tears heaving out of my chest. I could feel my breath in my toes this energy was pulling on me so intensely.
How many humans have stared at this moon, crying, begging for food, for money, for life, for explanation?
The deep sorrow I felt was not unfamiliar. I used to feel this as a child. Constantly. This immeasurable sensation, an intimate understanding of the weeping heart of human history. It would come to me looking at the moon. It would come to me on long car rides in the back seat of my parents’ car, staring out the window watching trees pass by.
Oddly, it felt like home.
After several minutes I became aware I was talking out loud, staring at the chair next to mine as if there was a human there listening.
“I’m healed now, you know.
I remember the anger of listening to someone who’d claimed to heal. I remember the hollow disappointment hearing someone explain how they overcame their trauma. That they’d found happiness again in a book, a friend, a job, a hobby.
‘So, that’s the lie you’ve decided to tell yourself? That’s the way you’ve deluded yourself into thinking you’re OK?’
I remember that feeling. The second-hand embarrassment of seeing someone claim to have an answer, when I knew the truth. Their happiness is covering up the reality that this is all a meaningless heap, confusing and dark and spinning without direction.
Here’s the thing. That? That’s the lie you’ve decided to tell yourself to stay stuck in your fear. It’s so much easier to feel disempowered and scared than it is to become stronger than that which knocked the life out of you.
Ah bup bup–I am not blaming you for your suffering.
Blame is an erroneous framework through which to process what I’m saying.
I’m not pointing blame; I’m claiming responsibility.
The original wound was never your fault. The subsequent wounds weren’t your fault, either. The ways in which you were raised to give up your power, those aren’t your fault. But the only way you can feel powerful again is to reclaim what you’ve given up. Take it all back. It belongs to you, and you are the only one who can restore it.”
I realize I’ve been saying this out loud. Who have I been talking to? Have I been talking to myself through myself? Has spirit been talking to me through myself? Has spirit been talking to itself through me?
I close my eyes and let out another heaving sob.
“How did I get so far away from myself?”
I used to talk like this for hours as a child. Trading off between the child receiving wisdom, and the old crone sharing wisdom with some imaginary child.
“I’m so sorry I stopped.”
Eyes shut, visions spinning through earlier versions of myself. I saw so many of my own deaths in this life. I saw all of the times when I abandoned myself.
Age 9, running away, leaving a suicide note, gone for 2 hours and returning to find no one had noticed I’d gone.
Age 19, depressed and anxious and heartbroken, running away to the top of a hill to smoke weed in an attempt to find hunger, but finding the pits of hell and dissociation.
Every age before, their backs turned from each other, resentful and bitter that none of them stepped in to stop the pain sooner. The 9 year old furious at the 19 year old furious at the 23 year old.
Why didn’t you listen to me when I tried to tell you I was hurting?
I wept and whispered, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me, I’m so sorry.”
All at once they snapped their heads around and ran towards each other in compassion–
“No, no, no. We forgive you. We forgive you.”
An integrated embrace, a collective cry, a deep unshattering and movement of grief.
I looked up at the moon.
“I’ll stay open if you keep me safe.”
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