I am not afraid.
I’m not afraid of what it means to live my life. To live as me. To speak my truth. To hold myself accountable.
To have my heart seen. Unsheltered.
To share the stories of my wounds. And my mending.
To utter words of intimacy. So thick. Only the strongest of souls will be left standing to witness them.
Because I have been to the bottom of the burning torch lake. I have lost my voice. My breath. My sight. My ability to move. And slowly sunk in complete surrender to what the mother would do with me.
And when I found rest. And opened my eyes to the cold light. I was given the gift of vision. And instead of the eyes of another. I now only see the flicker of mine reflected.
I see what every person is dying to see. And I now know that I am not afraid to see it.
Because I have come face to face with Grendel’s mother. Only to find that the most ruthless of enemies, the one that nearly took my life, the monster who only the fiercest of warriors will ever meet. Shared my own face. Shared my own self. The self that wanted to lay hidden and unknown. The self that wanted to be secret and quiet. The self that had been buried, rejected, exiled.
The self that will ruin you if it remains unknown.
And then to whole-heartedly return to dry land. Beyond the bleached bones of the great-horned stags that refused to save their own life in that water.
And I know a secret:
They were never meant to aid my passage to the other side.
And this is a journey that only I can take.
Until, I see a traveler who sees their own flicker in mine.
And then I’ll know that I have found a true heart. Another who has stared into the mother's eyes. To find themselves.
Who is not afraid either.