Do You Believe In Magic?
“Show me your scars and I won’t walk away”
The sweet spot once a subway car starts moving is with your legs rooted to the floor, slightly apart and your arms down by your side. Balance comes from believing you won’t fall and knowing how to pick yourself up if you do. The train made its way back underground on 125th street and I stood confidently, vulnerably.
One abrupt stop would jostle me forward towards the doors or I’d fall to my right and end up holding onto the sleeve of the man standing next to me, who wasn’t as reckless as I was and was in fact holding onto the pole. Taking turns on being the reckless one, something I've been yearning for.
I stood alone but surrounded. A familiar feeling lately. The problem with feeling alone in the middle of a sea of people is that deep down you know what, or who, would make you feel less lonely. Still, you stand, confidently, vulnerably.
I show up. If you ask anyone they’ll say, “Oh, Viv, yeah, she shows up.” Up until Monday I couldn’t look in the mirror and say those words to my own reflection. The mirror was foggy. I was physically there, but invisible. I wasn’t showing up. For months. Days on days on days, they piled up, each 24-hour span adding more distance between me and my own feelings. I didn’t feel safe, physically or emotionally, so I don’t blame myself for not being honest with myself. It takes feeling safe to be vulnerable. You can't have one without the other. That being said, I do take responsibility for the times I let the anger and hurt sit inside of me instead of directing them towards the bodies that harmed and angered me. I wasn't being fair to myself.
Days on days on days, they piled up, each 24-hour span contributing to my increased safety, to my weight, to my personal brand of vulnerable strength. And with each day, the mirror was less foggy, the vision of me with tears streaking down my face more, more, more, more real. Thank God.
I was showing up. The heat was cooling down in the bathroom and as the steam poured through the window and the mirror cleared up, I showed up. I showed up, as beautiful as I’d ever been, because my eyes no longer told stories of a girl who believed that she had two problems when upset — to be angry and to apologize to herself on their behalf again — now she knew she was only responsible for the first, the second rested on wider shoulders than hers. The tears fell and cleansed. To new beginnings. To love. To bodies that were respected. To knowing what and who she wants. To accepting faulty humanity for what it is. To not wanting to control. To giving to herself. To extending forgiveness. To taking what God was giving her — the patience to wait for the chase she always wanted. To giving to those who appreciate her giving, who don’t take it for granted. To to to…to toasting herself, all she has to offer, all she wants to receive.
Too often we cut ourselves off right before the miracle comes in. It’s like as the Hail Mary pass makes its way down field, writing our names in the air letter by letter, we decide we're not worthy of a win, so we leap at the 2 yard line to stop it before it can spell it out in its entirety. We need to learn to stand still and process, especially when our anxiety calls us to stand in our own way. We need to learn to let the magic happen because a few more seconds, a few more rooted moments without self-sabotaging, and we would have had a touchdown.
I learned to believe in magic by way of human tricks over the last year and it taught me about how letting magic weave itself into our lives made for more fun and more happiness and more spontaneity than we could have envisioned on our own. When the cards were shuffled with ease, and the one was pulled from the deck, and the eyes glistened on both ends of the trick, you don’t want to know how it happens, you’re just happy it did.
One minute I wasn’t in the mirror and the next I was there, in all my rawness, in all my vulnerability. Magic.
One minute I was petrified that admitting that I was hurt would lead to me bleeding out again, to people running again, to me hiding again, and the next it was the reason why I could see myself in the mirror. The tears were giving me permission to just feel for the first time in months. I'd emptied myself for the salvation of others and in the process deprived myself of the boundaries that made me feel safe. They were back and so was I. It's hard to accept that for months I wasn't showing up for myself, to admit that I knew no other way to heal than to erase my feelings and focus on the physical only. Salvation is born from body and soul though.
My heart needed permission to show up and the card trick with the smooth slide, it brought it back. Magic.
I needed to know that I could be vulnerable with myself and hug the feelings that existed in me, whether they were "good" or "bad". I needed to know that shame had no place renting space in my heart. Allowing myself the possibility to be human and flawed and loved now means that I can honestly extend the same offer to someone else. To be human, flawed, and still loved. Magic.
"Show me your scars and I won't walk away." It's the only invitation I ever want now. It's the only one I want to give. Perfection gives us no guarantees. Hiding our most vulnerable parts, disqualifying ourselves from what we really want, none of it gives us guarantees. We're not trading our soul to the Devil, we're handing our being to the world even when we know it won't give us anything but self-doubt and regrets in return. We need to be more protective keepers of our integrity and of the magic that surrounds us and lives in our own scars.
"Show me your scars and I won't walk away," it doesn't offer guarantees either, but at least the mirror won't be foggy, at least we won't be invisible.