Desires, when left unattended to, curl up deep in the pit of your core. At first, they may wriggle uncomfortably and clang around, but then, after a period of time, they calm, turning in on themselves and seething quietly.
Until, finally, still and unanswered, they atrophy as your attention is directly elsewhere.
In my experience, no matter how long we ignore our desires, they will not disappear. Instead, they lay in wait until watered by a moment of inspiration or spirit-fueling engagement or intense jealousy.
In my experience, as our desires are ignored, our anger and frustration builds in a quiet roar.
I am familiar with the building of desire-turned-anger, broiling in my toes in rolling up my body in waves, threatening to flatten my partial truths and attempts at placation. I am familiar with the exact moment when my desires take over completely, and I am left, seeing spots and seeing red, with a looming mountain of holy-shit-how-are-we-going-to-get-from-here-to-there feelings.
Making space for desire, like a loving gardner tilling the earth and cultivating ample space for plants to grow, is an act of self-love. Letting your wildness, your sharp edges, your truth out of the closet and into the light of day, is an act of self-love .
It is brave love, the act of welcoming all of your parts to the table.
Too often, we keep parts of ourselves sequestered – the parts of ourselves that we don’t know what to do with. Our inconvenient truths. The parts of ourselves that won’t sit quietly and play well with others.
For many years, I hid parts of myself away. Mostly because I didn’t know what to do with them, but also because I had learned that they were too much and that people didn’t really like me very much when I became too much. I also hid them away because deep in my heart I told myself the story that I was unworthy.
My story, my internal call + response
The desire: Friendships – the deep kind. The ones you can call at 2 am.
The response: You just don’t have girl friends. You are a loner. They will always leave you. Get used to it.
The desire: Someone to share my life with.
The response: Sure they might think you are sexy and intriguing for a moment, like an exotic and wild doll adorable in her neediness. But, don’t get comfortable. No one will ever stay with you forever – at some point they will realize who you are and leave.
The desire: A life that means something.
The response: If you step into your full potential – you will be way too much. You will be all alone. Don’t shine to brightly. Don’t shake the status quo. Play nice. Walk the path laid out before you.
Heeding your desires (even when you’re scared)
This is unchartered territory. I would be surprised if you weren’t a bit afraid. I still get afraid and I charter a primarily desire-driven course these days. This is the place where desire, unattended to, gets let out of her teensy little cage – teeth and wings and anger at having been ignored.
When you are beginning, all you are is a bundle of desire and need and want.
When I was beginning, I was very angry. I was angry that I had wasted time, not supported myself, not believed that the life I truly wanted was even possible. I was resentful of everyone that I saw doing what I wanted to do.
I found myself deeply jealous. I was resentful of women that were wild and free and loved and unencumbered. Women who didn’t have to think before they spoke in fear that they would make a grave mis-step and be left alone forever.
The part of me that I had shut away threw the door open, throwing lamps and pulling down the curtains.
But really, could I blame her?
25 years of living without desire. 25 years of telling myself to be good. 25 years of locking my best parts away because I didn’t know how to accept them. 25 years of holding my breath, waiting until the conditions were perfect to begin living.
The path home to yourself
That thing that sparks the jealous coil in your stomach, momentarily causing your eyes to turn green as you writhe in your own jealous? That is desire.
That niggling inkling that you’d really like to try….? That is desire.
That uncomfortable urge to do something that is just SO unlike you? That is desire.
That hunger, deep in your body, that food can’t satisfy? That is desire.
We are called to notice desire as we experience jealousy when we encounter our desires fulfilled by others. We encounter anger when we tell ourselves, often repeatedly, that we do not deserve or are unworthy of our desires.
I am going to invite you to challenge that story.
Self-love, for me, is about making ample space for desire and allowing all of myself to show up in my life.
It is about taking that moment of jealousy and seeing how it is teaching me about the things that I deeply want for my own life. It is about heeding your desires – even if they initially disorient you or leave you breathless.
I welcome jealousy. It is my greatest teacher.
I welcome the discomfort of unearthing a new aspect of myself – a new wish, dream, heartfelt prayer, or call of my spirit.
It is in the welcoming that I meet myself where I am.
After a lifetime of ignoring my desires, sometimes jealousy knocks me out flat and shows me parts of myself that I haven’t yet explored. It is uncomfortable medicine at first, of course, but I know that you are brave.
Call the parts of yourself back. Make space for them. Allow your desire to unfurl.
Heed the call of your spirit. Walk the path home to yourself.
|This post is part of the Unencumbered Sharing Circle, a gathering of honest first-hand stories about self-loathing, self-love, and the journey between the two.Read more stories, and share your own, right here.|