Walking back to the choristers’ vestry after the Mass on Sunday. Close to tears, frantically trying to keep them hidden. My hands still shaking with the pointless, senseless anxiety still screaming its warning through my veins and in the nerves of my neck and shoulders. Wanting only to find somewhere alone, and hidden, and weep myself into exhausted silence: mourn what I’ve so far left unmourned until I’m utterly spent. Instead, I make meaningless conversation with a fellow chorister, and no one sees anything untoward, and the moment – the chance to mourn what I really need to learn to mourn – is lost.
I fear my vulnerability. Depending on the context, I hide it behind competence or quietness. I keep myself well-hidden and although I am surrounded by people who are gracious enough to show me love, I feel truly known by few of them (for the record, I’m grateful for that. I’m deeply and profoundly and overwhelmingly grateful for those friends who are true friends to me). Part of me wishes that this wasn’t the case. Part of me wishes I could simply hold out my vulnerability, my mourning, my fear and regret and shame, and how much it just all hurts sometimes, and allow those people I love and who I know love me – one of the blessedly many people – to simply cradle it all for me. Part of me longs for that. Part of me, though, recoils from the idea; of letting myself be seen, light and dark, beauty and shameful ugliness. Because it’s easier to be loved at a distance, by someone who sees only what I want them to see, than it is to be truly loved: accepted wholeheartedly, for all that I am. To be bathed in light and have to acknowledge my darkness, my shame. My hurt. It really is much easier to stay at a distance.