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A Cautious, Unfolding Presence

“My past is everything I failed to be.” ― Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

(Image my own)

In the beginning there was a woman, and she is me. In the beginning a woman sat reluctantly in front of her computer wishing to acquiesce to one of many distractions she invents to scoot her seat away from her desk and not type a word. In the beginning she/me struggles to expand herself, to unlock, dislodge and unfold her/myself. This is the beginning of the present; the beginning of her/my shaking voice, learning to adjust its volume.

My task today is to only write briefly of the past that gagged me, shrank me and built for me, the safest (sic), most remote hideaway to disengage from the things that challenge or frighten me. It is fitting that I begin this blog (finally) on the anniversary of my husband’s death. A loss that preceded — but not by long — the loss of my voice, my dignity, and my courage. I had a bit of a breakdown. The details are unimportant, the resultant isolation is another matter. I cut people I loved out of my world. I cut things I once loved out. To make up for the losses of people and things, I filled the void with other, more abusive, people and things. Until finally, the pain grew tedious, and I cut those off. I emerge now a damaged, but otherwise promising foundation to build upon.

Project Extroversion. Perhaps a bit enthusiastic. I am lumbering my way through a process of presence; both presence in the present, and presence in the mutual presence of others. Travelling down this mad road amid a global pandemic poses a few snags. I am camera-shy. Skype and Face-Time make my mouth go dry. Even over the phone, without accompanying video, I garble my words and struggle to keep up with the conversation. Or, conversely, I babble on breathlessly, feeling mortified and embarrassed after the call ends. I know this sounds painful and sad, but it’s not. This is growth through longing; longing to connect, longing to heal and a longing to risk vulnerability once more in my life. I am sharing my ‘cheerful story’ — this is my debut.

So welcome, stranger. Welcome old friend. Welcome to Shrieking Lizzy, where I shall lay myself open (cautiously) chancing failure and sounding stupid as I step out into this Brave New World in search of presence in the presence of you.

Faithfully yours,


Lobo Loco, All right in Louisiana

#mentalhealth #courage #socialanxiety #vulnerability #healing

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