“Yes, I have tricks in my pocket, I have things up my sleeve.
But I am the opposite of a stage magician.
He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth.
I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.”Tennessee Williams, “The Glass Menagerie”
Lately, I’ve found myself revisiting things I thoroughly enjoyed in my youth — activities that brought me joy, memories with special people in my life, reflecting on lessons I’ve learned along the way.
Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” was a secret favorite of mine when I was in my early teens. I found my sister’s copy of the play in her library, sneaked it off, and read it without really knowing what it was about. I found myself enjoying the dark yet wisely-written piece of work and posted multiple quotes that I resonated with on my LiveJournal. (Yes, those were the beautiful and innocent times of the internet-boom. There were no trolls then.)
One of my favorite quotes was:
“Nowadays, all the world is lit by lightning.”Tennessee Williams, The Glass Menagerie
During one of my Zoom update calls with a good friend, our conversation turned to classic writers that we love. It started with Mary Oliver, my favorite poet. Then we talked about Pablo Neruda.. and ultimately, the conversation turned to Tennessee Williams. The moment I uttered his name, I was transported back to my early teens and felt nostalgic for the feeling of reading “The Glass Menagerie.”
I realize that it has touched a part of me that I haven’t tended to for so many years and suddenly, I felt remembered, seen, validated, and integrated into this beautiful present moment. It’s like my past life and my present have fallen together so perfectly and things are finally making sense, once chunk at a time.
“He gives you illusion that has the appearance of truth.
I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.”
So much of this Great Pause (aka COVID-19 Pandemic) is an opportunity to reflect, release, and integrate. A lot of truth is found here, even with all the illusions of social media, the limitations to travel, and the heaviness of the news, nationally and worldwide.
And what is that truth?
For me, that truth points to the reality that we have disassociated from so many parts of ourselves that hurt and feel shameful. Instead of holding them with kindness, acceptance, and gentleness, we tend to shove them away, bury them deep, or deny them. The more we do this, the more we end up feeling afraid and insecure in our own bodies, leading us to feel unsafe in this world and seeing others as threats to our own well-being and happiness.
We have become so quick to judge, discriminate, and blame when ultimately, we do these things because we have forsaken ourselves so long ago. We just don’t want to face, accept, and heal it. We perpetuate a cycle of escaping accountability when we choose not to pause, breathe, and reflect.
It is truly scary and difficult in the beginning. But approach your inner work gently, gradually, and consistently. You are not alone and believe me, YOU CAN DO IT.
I can reassure you of this because, though it has taken me decades to even acknowledge that there’s something wrong with how I’ve been treating myself, the moment that I did, the healing came faster than I could ever have anticipated. It’s still coming.. but it won’t happen all at once. But it happens faster when you release your resistance to your own growth.
Let me reiterate:
You can do it too.
You can face your pain. You can forgive. You can heal.
You can love. You can transcend. And you can integrate.
You can remember. And you can be whole again.