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this morning

liz lamoreux

portland street altar

portland street altar, april 2007

I sought a cocoon of solace as I slid the rings across the bar and felt the warm water touch my skin.

The words rang out with a crackle.

Your problem is, you always want to talk about things and other people don't want to.

Words from long ago, but words that stay with a person.

For almost thirty years, I tried to package it all up in nice pretty bows so they didn't have to hear it. But, when people opened the packages, out would jump confusion, empty space, disconnection, trying to please, untruths, hurt, fakeness, and other images that were often not what I meant at all. And, I talked and talked and talked about the confusion with a few trusted souls, but I never really gave myself the space to change.

It was my body that finally got me to shut up and listen as it gave me a package full of my unsaid words in the form of a ping-pong ball size round cyst in my throat that lived in my body during the months of November and December last year.

The space it used to take up has become a barometer of sorts now that alerts me to a sudden tiptoeing back to past ways. And as those words rang out today, that space gave a little ba-boom, ba-boom and began to ache.

I reached up for my throat and sank to my knees as fine, whatever you want rang out in my head. In child's pose with the hot water beating on my back, I didn't sob but opened my eyes and watched the water dropping from my forehead. I heard Deb Talan's words and began to sing along with her in my mind…

Tell your story
Tell it, tell it
Tell your story
To anyone who'll listen
Tell your story
Don't stop talking
Tell your story walking

I sang these words on repeat until my older-than-my-years knees reminded me to move. I stood and pressed my head against the cool wall and took several deep breaths. I called on my teachers, one by one, seeking.

Then, I heard their whispered chorus,

You are on your path.

My voice mingled with theirs as we said it again and again.

Until the water heater needed a break.

Until it was time for me to emerge.