The rain pelts you in a steady rhythm, first joining your tears, then washing them away, then replacing them as your tire of crying. The path is hard to find these days, your soul sobs.The rain drops are oddly warm and at last you look up.
There are thousands of others in the trees around you, all weeping. You look further and see a clear endless sky free of clouds.
When your eyes return to the earth you find my lantern in front of your face. There is no light in it.
Your brow wrinkles in confusion. "I thought it was always lit, that you are always strong, that you know the way out of here."
My feet shuffle in the damp earth as I slowly adjust and crouch down. "No one's lantern burns here."
I strike a match *scritch*
I light the lantern, and instantly the flame is drowned out by the falling tears.
The weight of your heart pulls your shoulders down. "anyone ever drown here?"
My voice cracks. "Yes"
"how do I move from here? What if I never move from here, what if I am stuck here?" you feel your body slowly embracing and settling into the muck.
My shove is so unexpected it takes you second to realize I shoved you.
"what was that for?" you whisper.
I shove you again. You willing let the momentum topple you to the dirt.
"hey." you meekly squawk.
"abuse makes you grow accustom to being shoved around, makes you learn to accept it without complaint. Makes your voice grow silent and your soul wither." I shove you again and before you can regain your balance I nudge you off balance again.
You stay on the ground and don't get up.
"See what happens when you don't fight back now?" I squat and put my lantern handle in your hand. "It wasn't safe to fight back as a kid. You learned to be silent and still." I offer you my hand. "Get up."
You take it and I gently yank you onto your feet.
"look up." I command pointing upwards. "let all the air out of you lungs and hold it. You're under the surface. Open your mouth wide and breath in deeply and feel your chest rise up. You're swimming up to the surface, with each breath."
"My mouth is wide open, won't I drown?" you enquirer with half a grin.
"You have been holding your breath for a life time."
"Ye...." you don't get to finish your though as I have shoved you again and the ground knocks the wind out of you.
I gently put my foot on your chest and make breathing difficult for you. "you said 'That path is hard to find these days...' that is because you are in the path and its all around you. IN it and ON it are two different things."
"how do I get on it vs being in it?" you gasp, from under my foot.
"well for starters you have to find your voice and start telling life to stuff it. That will lead to you reconnecting with dignity. Once you embrace the basic human right to dignity it will lead to finding anger and outrage at the abuse you were forced to endure."
"How do I do that?"
'Huh?" you blink.
"you let me stand here and shove you around and restrict your breathing and you say nothing. Not a 'stop it!' or 'quit it!' or a 'get your paws off of me you damn dirty ape!' nothing, again that is how the abuse has conditioned you. I will tell you a secret....its okay now to stand up and speak up, and come up swinging and start that healing anger and outrage with your self."
You struggle to draw in a breath as you ponder my words.
"it's safe now." I say. These words are the secret key to unlock so much. When the mental tapes start looping in your head, when the memories get ganging up on you. repeat them. Write them on your body, so when you poise to be self destructive they will be there. It's safe now."
it's safe now
"get your foot off of me." you at last say meekly.
it's safe now
"GET your foot off of me." you say as you feel the unfamiliar surge of power within yourself.
it's safe now
"GET YOU FOOT OFF OF ME!!" you firmly command.
I do so and you come up swinging, but as you go to punch me the lantern in your hand draws your attention.
and you see that it is now lit.
and burning brightly.
it's safe now.