There was a time, not so long ago, (yet long enough) when I was in one of the biggest Ace of Spades moments of my life. Deeply troubled, deeply tormented, hurting and heart broken and so very afraid that things would change drastically or even worse, what if they did not change at all?
Just home from a brief interlude with near death, I was sixteen years old, sitting in the middle of my bed listening to “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas. Over and over again I played this song as if it was somehow the very thing that would keep me from drowning in the past few months. Those months were a sadness of such depth that it still shakes me to the core at its memory. The culmination of those months seemed to me to be the end of everything good.
Over and Over I played that song. As if it was also somehow keeping me from moving forward. The thought of letting go of what had happened, of even letting myself get off of my bed terrified me. Nothing was going to be the same after all of ‘that.’ How could it? I could not imagine for the life of me that if things changed they could get better. All I knew for sure was that at the moment, on my bed, crying and frozen in place I was in the calm of the storm and nothing could touch me.
Yet at some point an inner strength of some sort drew me ever so slowly off of my bed. Obviously I took that step though I can’t recall what it was at this moment. SO much of that time is a blur. Such is the way of great change. You find yourself, like the butterfly wrapped up tightly in a cocoon of the finest intentions. Wound together by silken threads of melancholy and hopelessness, yet you are at peace.
You are so much at peace that you no longer notice that you have begun to melt. You are transforming into a version of yourself that is strong enough to rise and fight for your own happiness and place in this ever expanding universe. You melt and you change. You change because staying the same is no longer an option. You need wings now, or you will perish and you can’t. The universe needs you as you need it. There is still too much left to do, and you are the only one who can do what you do in this world.
The thing with sprouting wings at last, is you seldom realize you have them until you are ‘forced off a cliff’ and have no choice but to flap your wings and fly. It is in that very moment you remember that you wanted to live. Flapping your wings is a choice and if you were still bogged down by fear, you would have chosen to fall.
The trouble with “Ace of Spades” moments, as I call them, is that they have a tendency to linger somewhere in you if you are not careful. This happens when you don’t release every aspect of those moments. To do this, you need to be brutally honest with yourself. You need to fiercely love and forgive yourself. You need to purge every lie you ever told yourself about anything.
The sheer pain of these kinds of events often create a wall that hides these things deep inside you until something triggers them to break free. Until that time you often find yourself reliving similar experiences, until you are ‘forced off a cliff’ and must choose to fly or fall. What do you need to release? What will truly set you free?
For me, I realized there are many things I forgot to acknowledge and release about that time when I was sixteen:
I forgot that my hurting also hurt others.
I forgot that my hurting caused me to act in ways that were hurtful and confusing to others.
I forgot that I had the right to love unconditionally without having it used against me.
I forgot that I was a child and should not have been placed in the position I had been placed.
I forgot that it was OK and necessary to be angry.
I forgot that my value was not in how a man looked at me.
I forgot to forgive myself for forgetting all the above and staying stuck in that horrible moment.
I forgot that it is OK to be afraid.
I forgot to keep moving in spite of fear.
I forgot to love myself fully and completely and without apology.
Many people know full well that cards like the Ace of Spades or the Death card are about change, transformation, release and not really about ‘physical’ death. I put it to you that when you find yourself in a moment where death seems the only option, what you are really feeling is an intense need for a change of some sort, but NOT physical death. ‘Death’ of a situation, ‘death’ of a relationship, ‘death’ of only little aspects of situations are what is needed. Not the death of you. At no time will the ending of your own life ever be the thing that fixes everything.
Fight, cry, scream, ask for help but please don’t choose to fall. Stay and fly.
Yes this post is gloomy. It is dark. It is cliche in places. You know what else though? It exists. If I had chosen to ‘fall’ all those years ago I would have missed so many other moments. I would have missed falling in love. I would have missed having children. I would have missed concerts and books and gallons of coffee happily consumed with friends and family. I would have missed singing and laughing. I would have missed feeling passionate. I would have missed creating and sharing and expressing myself. I would have missed it all and nothing is worth that.