Why is this so hard? Is it the being seen? Your mess being seen? You have chosen this method. The nakedness is no one else’s fault but your own. You know that this here is one of the best ways to see and share your process though you are very private, though you try to hide. You cannot hide here, My Love. Not anymore. Tell it. Tell it.
You are a light skinned, twenty something, Black, queer, femme, introvert born from and raised by other Black femme introverts in the Mid-Atlantic (sometimes considered southern) United States. You have come to make ritual. You have come to document a process. You are learning to access a more expansive, less stilted emotional landscape by rebuilding and recovering your own tenderness. It is scary. Sometimes the work of it hurts.
You have done the thing of getting older. (So has everyone else.) You are the oldest you have ever been. (So is everyone else.) In your age you have noticed a wound. Some time ago you learned to take off your softness and cast it aside. (To do battle? To harden and protect yourself? To hide? Did it hurt the first time?) The softness has become easier and easier each time to take off and harder to put back on. Sometimes after you take it off you forget where you laid it. You have noticed this pattern while some of your other less tender emotions proliferate the landscape. They present as land mines, devastating litter, far too easy to access despite their disguise, and indiscriminately destructive.
You suspect that some of this comes from being of a country, culture, and yes even family where very few emotions are acceptable to feel. There are so many rules about where and when and how to feel have emotions. Some of them go unacknowledged and invalidated. You also suspect that some of this comes from the stifling mixture of your own shame and pride.
When you look forward and back, you get tired of seeing yourself show up guarded. You get tired of micro-managing the intensity of the connections you have and feel for others (all in the name of avoiding hurt). Now, in your oldest of ages, you realize that avoiding hurt and refusing to go soft when it is most warranted and necessary means denying yourself.
And you are done with denying yourself.
Going soft is so urgent to you that you must write this down. You are human and it will be hard. It will require constant vigilance. Do not be afraid of the work of being naked. Do it, Beloved. Embrace you.