I’ve struggled with whether or not to lead this endeavor with my BIG story. The story I’ve been writing about the two years I spent in federal prison. The charge: conspiracy to distribute ecstasy.
Over a few months time I flew five thousand tablets from New York City to Springfield MO.
It was a year and a half after the party stopped, that the wheels of the justice system screeched up to my door and handed me an indictment.
I was spinning bananas around in a tiny food processor for my new baby.
It was another year and a half of drug tests and waiting before they decided I should do time.
My son was eighteen months old when I left.
This is not an easy story to tell.
In fact, there is a huge part of me that wants to leave it out all together. Separate it completely from this project.
I’ve deleted its page fifteen times; I’ve put the book on the back burner, making every excuse to get to it later. Every time I delete it something happens to bring it back into the light.
This story, like any truth, is like a beach ball underwater. It wont be submerged, and it takes so much energy to keep it down.
And really, it contains the broader message of my work. The background that informs the how and why I’ve been given the gift of being able to see the exquisite and extraordinary in you.
It was being incarcerated, so profoundly separated from any kind of identity markers, completely free falling that I had this vision:
Whether I would accept this time as a gift or a punishment was up to me.
The choice about whether I would inhabit my life with grace and love or whether I would wither from the shame was also mine.
Many dark days would cloud that vision, but, much like this story, it wouldn’t let me go.
I was able to make a deep internal connection about the way this very real prison emulated the prisons I had kept myself in previous to being there.
The prisons of addiction – drugs, relationships, food. The prison of fear, of success, of connection…. of keeping my real face masked and real voice silenced, incase what appeared was as unlovable as I imagined.
I had no idea the can of worms that would open. The ways that I would grieve the losses of the very things that kept me trapped. The amputation of leaving my baby that made me a better mother.
No. This story won’t be told in one post.
But I have to start somewhere.
Because I’ve come to realize, that a deep connection with you demands that I show you my soul.
I’ve come to realize that we are alike in our desire to create enduring, beautiful spaces for transformation and truth.
I’ve come to realize that this story isn’t static, it’s evolving as I write it.
I’ve come to realize that the finish line might not even exist and the story, the beauty, the transformation is happening now.
It’s you and I in this space, building our own raft of survival in a world that wants us to float, to fly together.
We can’t do it alone. Being seen and heard requires our pact to be the other’s witness.
I want to be yours.
As I write this, my nine-year-old boy sleeps soundly in his bedroom, in our loft apartment, surrounded by his new book about video games, a stuffed shark he calls Ash and a tangle of sweaty sheets.
I get up really early these days to build this life that’s been calling me all along.
And I’m choosing to lead with this important story, functioning on the faith that shining our awareness into the shadows produces great light.
This is our one precious life.
Are you in?