Where to go from here

Self-protection as a way of life is not a way of life it is a way

of growing smaller and smaller

shrinking and shrinking

until you force your whole being to crouch down and curl up

Inside the little shell of identity your fears have built

That’s where you have to live now, welcome home!, it’s your whole world

and you stay there

feeling: compressed, confused, uncomfortable

but also feeling: safer, more in control, less chaotic, comfortable

You’re not willing to leave Why would I leave predictability

Avoiding (something like) pain or discomfort or rejection or whatever has become

the most important thing to avoid—


So you endure: the lack of growth, the compression and smallness, the stillness and stagnation, being crammed into something that doesn’t fit, doesn’t change—


And you pretend you like it This is the life I chose, I know what I want

But the secret rage rumbles (all this anger)

because—here is a list—

nobody wants to be limited like that not really

because the need for freedom never goes away

because the need for community never goes away and to commune you must be known

because you need to pretend this is the whole world

because you need your choices to be okay

because it’s not a thing you can consider that you’ve wasted so much life for nothing

because you need agreement and you need conformity Why would I trust myself

because of sunk cost fallacy

because you can’t stand the idea that someone could live with—here’s another list— more:

more freedom | more openness | more comfort | more joy | more risk | more out-there | more connection


could be safe? could be okay?

Could it be? Could I be? What does it mean?

It would mean,—here’s a final list—it would mean this, only this:

you’ve given up all that opportunity

you’ve lost all that time

you’ve chained yourself up for so long for nothing for no good reason

How was I to know?

Oh, you couldn’t have known

don’t worry about it

You can only start out by forgetting

you can only learn by not knowing

you can only move forward by falling back falling back falling back

letting the shell crack open

You didn’t plan it Who could plan their own becoming

You didn’t mess up There is nothing to aim for so there is nothing to miss

The bravest thing you can do is admit you’re not brave

Let your hard-earned knowledge undo you

unwind you

unbind you from the safe soft stifling robe of an identity worn too long, too close

Spiral out instead of in

up instead of down

You’re always moving, you don’t get to pick the movement or the speed or the flight pattern or the destination—

it will often be terrifying, no matter what—

you will often feel wrong, no matter what—

you will wonder at yourself, question it all, doubt, turn inside out, hurt, writhe in anguish, bear disappointment, learn to forgive (yourself), no matter what—

you don’t get to pick the experience, itself—

all you get to choose is the general direction.

So choose wisely:

point yourself in the direction of your own wildly beating heart.