Master the Chaos
By Z Zoccolante
“The best thing you could do is master the chaos in you. You are not thrown into the fire. You are the fire.” – Mama Indigo
There was a time when I felt like chaos, when I felt like the hurricane swooping unpredictably into the black hole of myself. There was a time when a gust of wind from me would throw those in my orbit off kilter.
I remember the people who tried to love me then. I remember how I didn’t let them in, how I pushed and pulled against their wanting to nurture and support me. How I’d duck and weave their love wanting the whole time to be loved so deeply.
Back then, I believed that no one understood me. That if they saw all of me then run away. So I held them at arms length giving them breadcrumbs and honey and running back to the gingerbread house to hide away with my secret pains.
Still, people loved me in their own ways. I remember dark school nights in my living room, all the lights turned off and my friend talking on the phone with me for hours as I danced around my metaphorical depression and my eating disorder that didn’t exist out loud. My brother took me outdoors on adventures – to the beach, hiking in the mountains. When I was with him I felt free, even if it was just for those few hours, till I got sucked back into the black hole in my mind that housed the eating disorder like a rabid, caged pet.
I remember the first friend I ever told that I had an eating disorder. I was starting recovery (honestly, this time) but I was terrified that she was going to look at me like I was freak, back quietly out of the room, and then sitting in class with her would be weird from then on – that unbearable discomfort of having someone know your deepest shame and turn awkwardly away from you. I was brave and told her and instead we became best friends.
We are all made up of many parts. Some of them we want to show off. Some we want to hide. And there is still that part of me that is chaos, a fire that burns ember blue.
I know that I used to drawn towards darkness like a moth, if only to validate that what I saw there, was also in me. We all have unspoken darkness. I used to think this was me in totality. I used to think that I’d been thrown into a battle I was perpetually loosing.
Then the thought came – if there was no chaos in me, there’d be nothing to reflect. So I worked on the chaos within. I worked on the fire that burned down my relationships, my self, my home.
In the midst of the fire’s glow I went to therapy, inpatient treatment at a hospital, did somatic work, screamed in my car, cried a lot, went to sex therapy, journaled, made a prayer room, watched my marriage implode without my consent, felt love and loss and emotions in-between, prayed more, sat down to tea with anxiety and depression, adventured with who I am and why I’m here and does any of this even matter a drop.
I emerged. I went back under. I’d emerge again.
Healing’s not a straight line. It’s a spiral.
I wouldn’t say I’m master because everything’s a journey, but I can sit with myself now in a way that I could never before. I can now see that I was the fire, that I lit the matches, that my beliefs, thoughts, and actions kept it full of fuel, burning hot.
I found the flame in me that was worthy, no matter what any part of me had done.
I found that acceptance is a beautiful thing. That we are all on a journey of mastery, doing our best.
We are all on our own little weird adventures. All the strange journeys of this life – sometimes a forest of darkness, the peak of the mountain at sunset, warm wind in the meadow, liquid sunlight on my skin. Sometimes black holes. But I am shifting like digging toes through the earth, sediment and stone. And I am reaching hands, arms, fingers, like tree branches in all directions – warmth, sun, water, air, soil, sky
. . . and maybe everything is bliss.