I made a promise to myself that I would not give up. It was not about any one specific goal I was trying to obtain or any one place I was trying to make it to. It was about achieving a state of peace and being able to acknowledge God within me at all times. Internally I felt chaotic. I was a jumbled mess of tears, anxiety, depression, fear and embarrassment. I had my hands around the prison bars shaking them violently, GIVE ME MY FUCKING FREEDOM. I screamed until my throat went dry and there were no more words left to exclaim, and then I cried an ocean. God just let me disappear, I begged endlessly. Pleading and wishing for anything that would take me out of the pain of my present moment. My body trembled as the plates inside me shifted causing earthquakes. I gasped for breath and shut my eyes tight hoping that if I just lay still enough I could melt into atmosphere peacefully never to be heard from again. Is that death?
When I woke up, my head hurt. My alarm went off to remind me to take my medicine. Shivering and nauseas I got up, poured a glass of juice and swallowed my three pills which at this point felt like magic beans. I wasn’t sure why but the opening lines from the poem Invictus came to mind.
Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be
for my unconquerable soul
I’d never much liked the poem, and took issue with the message that somehow we were the captains of our soul particularly because the poet was an atheist. But it didn’t matter. I could not get the words out of my head and in my own moment of desperation, these words came to me.
I was not feeling particularly unconquerable. A message from my mother reminded me that there is victory in effort. What could my effort be today? I wrapped my arms around myself and said, “I will not give up on you. I promise.” I said it over and over until I heard it and the words permeated my skin and sailed through my bloodstream. When I opened my eyes I had two thoughts:
- God is not changing your circumstance because God is trying to change you. Surrender ALL; let it go.
- If you’re going through hell, just keep going
And then I came home to words, finally I could breathe again.