Thrashing: Day 4: Burn

How to Scream: a Memoir

this is what i would call my book, if i ever wrote one.

i have never screamed. well, not since infancy.

i have just always known it was not allowed, and never even tried. never shrieked, playing with the other kids at the park or in the pool. never screamed across a crowded room to get someone’s attention. never cried out in fear, or from being startled. and i have never screamed that angry guttural one i feel burning down in my gut these days.

i never even used to feel angry. it wasn’t allowed. i spent a lifetime avoiding anger – others’, my own. only recently have i given myself permission to feel what comes, and to express it. because it matters. my voice matters. i matter.

i think the time is coming (and soon) that i’m going to have to let that scream out into the atmosphere.

***

six years ago, on the day i met my spiritual director, she took me and a few others out onto a mountainside to help me scream. they all let out these huge vibrant yells… and as the wind carried five out of six voices away, my mouth was open and nothing would come. 

just like in a nightmare when you can’t cry for help, can’t run, can’t scream.

***

learning to scream is, for me, a metaphor for learning to speak, learning to let my voice be heard, even when it doesn’t want to say pretty things. 

autumn is a season for shedding, letting go, exhaling what needs to be let out.

i have had a recurring image come to me the past few weeks, of a forest post-wildfire, and how that is a picture of what it is sometimes like at the end of a shedding season. things look a little bleak. but there is hope, even in that image, as i learned that serotinous pinecones could never release their seeds to replenish the forest, were it not for the high temperatures melting the resin holding them tightly.

Image

the autumn fire has come, and i have felt the loss, and i am going willingly. because what i am losing is the false self that lives to the expectations of others. because there is indeed beauty amongst the ashes, and life will show itself new, come spring. 

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