The Chronicle Sessions - Resistance
I’m staring a blank page not knowing what to write…
I’m standing alone, looking up at a wall in front of me, knowing I have to break it down; but I look around and all I have to use are my empty hands. I take a breath and rest my hand against the cold surface of the divide that separates me from the other side. My fingertips are left cold. What is there to do? Climb it? No…it’s too high. Go around it? No…it stretches too far in both directions. Break it? No…the strength of my hands won’t be enough. Fists clenched and I try anyway; pounding on the door of the unknown expecting an answer. I cry out in frustration and fall to my knees, staring up into the sky. The sun stings my eyes with it’s brightness and I have to look away. I close my eyes and darkness is all I see.
I’m at a loss. How did I get here? Is it time? To let go. I don’t know…Thoughts scatter my mind to a point where I can’t think straight any longer. I’m too close and the pictures in front of me have become blurry. Maybe that’s my problem. Maybe I’ve been looking at it the wrong way this whole time. Trying too hard to hold onto all the things I thought were real and true. But what the fuck do I know? This wall of resistance isn’t new to me, so why does it feel different this time? This wall looks higher and stretches farther than anything I’ve seen before and this is the first time I know what’s on the other side. A different self. The one I’ve forgotten about or suppressed. I don’t want to be this person any longer and I’m not sure if this other version even exists. Going backwards simply isn’t an option anymore. I can see the light through the wall illuminating the way, but the road I’m on is blanketed in thick mist and I can’t seem to see what’s in front of me. It’s through the clouds and darkness I go…into the depths below…
Dig a little deeper…
Dig a little deeper…
Come on, it’s there.
I know it.
Why is this so hard?
I need to sit here for a while;
At these depths,
Where no light seeps through.
Take my hand,
Tell me it will be alright.
My shadow self.
Take my hand,
And guide me where I need to go.
Layer upon layer.
Farther into myself.
Just relax, don’t resist.
You’re only making it harder for yourself.
A little further to go,
Hold on just a little longer…
The wave begins to settle and I’m still.
Darkness surrounds me,
But I am comforted by the blanket it creates.
Hello old friend,
You’ve been knocking at my door.
You know I’ve kept it locked as best I could,
But I’ve fallen to your persistence to come in.
Face to face.
Back to back.
I am here,
And so are you.
So what do we do?
What do you have to show me that I don’t know?
How many times do you have to bring me here to help me grow?
I guess I’ve gotten in backwards this whole time.
A counter-clockwise rotation of myself.
Why do I resist when I must persist?
Poem written by Kirsten Toth
I meet it time and time again. Resistance stands in my path, obstructing and distorting the way I need to go. What does this resistance look like? For me, it looks like rejection, judgement, fear (lots of fear), isolation, disappointment, longing…and a wall I built by myself, of myself. More specifically, the dark, negative parts that I haven’t been able to accept and that I continually resist. I need to go away for a little while; just enough time to take a step back to see things clearer. I’m too close to the action and my vision has become blurred. I step away and step back into myself, making the choice to dive deeper than I ever have before. I’m terrified of what I know is there. But I need to sink as far as possible. This shadow is not something I need to resist anymore. Now I’m sitting here befriending my faults and my failures so they no longer hold power over me. And it hurts like hell.
Resistance takes shape in many different forms, but the message is always the same. Are you going to let me win? I could hear it whisper. I’m giving you an opportunity. But all I keep seeing are trials set out to push me further away from where I want to be.
A book I recently finished reading gave me a different perspective on why I was facing these challenges consistently over this last year. It explained resistance in a way that turned it into a form, a figured shape next to you wherever you go. Sounds a lot like a shadow to me… Resistance is smart; and because it’s always so close to you it always knows your next move. When it realizes what you’re up to, pushing yourself to elevate and grow, it does anything in it’s power to push you back down. The closer you get to the finish line, the harder it hammers. It knows you are about to break that wall down. All of the negative experiences we go through, the shitty people we deal with and our own personal self-sabotage plans are only forms of resistance trying to keep you where you are and prevent you from progressing. It doesn’t want to see you succeed.
I felt the wrath of resistance more than ever this month. I spent weeks feeling paralyzed in fear. What the fuck am I afraid of? I’ve been at war my myself. Disconnected and unsure. I’ve been terrified of letting go of all the things I’ve come to define myself by. I’ve attached myself to so many things, people, accomplishments and ideas of myself that losing them would feel like pieces of myself being taken away. If failure was a past fear I’ve overcome, then the fear of success has easily taken its place. Where is my confidence? I’ve been rejected and told no too many times. I’ve been scared to speak my truth and stand up for myself. Where has my voice been? Restricted by sickness, too quiet to be heard. Well I’m screaming now…can you hear me?
I’ve been as passive as a rock in a river; letting the water run over me, loosening my affinity to stable ground and washing me down stream. Pieces are broken away with every catastrophic collision as it’s carried with the motion of the water. It begins to permeate every pore in my skin, slowly dissolving my shape from the inside out until I am dissolved and indistinguishable. I am flowing as the water now and nothing can stop the movement. Resistance disappears. I open my eyes from the darkness to find the scene hasn’t changed and the wall still presents itself in front of me. Only something is different. I place my hand on the wall and rest it gently until the coolness on my palm turns to heat and it’s melting into the brick and my entire body is now the wall and the wall is now me. I can’t see the wall anymore; it has disappeared into the shape of me.
Resistance is an illusionary wall we build for ourselves. This wall has a face; and the closer I look the more I start to see it is a mirror reflecting my own image back to me. This wall is not real. It is only a projection of delusionary thoughts swirling endlessly in my own mind.
This wall is not real.
Squeezing my eyes closed as hard as I can, washing away myself with my tears. I no longer exist as I am now; and neither does this resistance. Tighter, and tighter, and tighter I hold…just decide. To let go. It seeps out of every inch of me, until there’s nothing left. I am particles floating in the atmosphere. I look to the wall and with no reflection I do see. The wall has disappeared and I am free.
Photograph by Kirsten Toth
I open my eyes to the stillness I see,
Not a shadow in sight.
Under the waters that run deep,
Deep through my veins.
The tides keep turning,
Just like the moon, she wanes.
Every time I let it slip,
The feeling washes over turning me to flow.
Loosening my grip,
Enough to let go.
Pour yourself empty,
Into the waters below.
Poem by Kirsten Toth