Friday, May 3, 2013

Can Hearts Fly?

I went to my Nia class and during the cool-down, lying flat on my back on a mat in the darkened room.  I did as instructed and pressed my shoulder blades deep against the floor.  With hands clasped softly above my head, my chest opened to the ceiling, I felt the expansion of my ribs and there — in that quiet room, splayed open — I felt my heart fly out of its cage and sail above me.  It was light and quietly, liltingly, drifting above me in that darkened room.

A heart with wings was something that never seemed plausible to me. I'd never felt a heart so light that it might fly.  

During my childhood and into my early twenties, my heart had been heavy. Heavy, heavy, heavy.  Laden with worry and fright.  I had food, I had clothing, I had shelter.  I wasn't physically abused in any way  but emotionally I lived in a day-to-day state fraught with tension, walking on eggshells, trying to avoid the next impending explosion. 

Weekly eruptions of frustration and rage were our norm. Without much provocation the storm would quickly, very quickly envelop the house.  It might begin with raised voices, loud yells and then  only one voice — shouting, screaming in anger — culminating in a slammed door or at times, a fist or a foot through a door or a wall.  

Never feeling calm or happy or safe.  Always anticipating the next big bang that would topple the bit of happiness and sanctity that I came home from school with  I held on to that feeling of security as long as I possibly could — until the volcano that was my father started churning and rumbling and pops of rock would spew from his beet-red face, until his lid blew and hot lava covered everything in sight.

The attic was a great place to hide.

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