That’s how I said it to Daniel. I think it’s a great descriptor.
The door was locked so I had to go around. When I got up the stairs I found James Napoleon—handsome kid that he is—and I found out that he was going to be in my same class. That helped, sure, but when the smell of the classroom came into my nostrils I knew it was going to be bad. How can anyone be comfortable in this classroom?
The room started to fill up. Some people I knew, some I didn’t. As the time got closer and closer, my panic grew. “Just drop the class! No one will know! It won’t matter!” But soon the class started and I felt that I should at least give it a go.
As Kelly explained the class I felt my nerves building up again. How am I going to do this? I’m such a giant geek I just don’t know why I’m here.
The business out of the way, the class started. We all stood in a circle quietly for two minutes, not talking, just looking around at everyone. It was a bit nerve-racking…but as I let go of “what are they thinking of me” and instead started seeing how beautiful everyone is, then it became an experiment in diversity. Everyone…so different. Tall, short, fat, thin, brown, blond, whatever…each possessing a certain beauty.
Next came an exercise to choose a partner. As per usual, I was chosen last. My partner is Delaney. He’s also a bit of a writer, and I know him, so that made it easier and less intimidating. For a moment anyway.
First exercise. I was the “Giver” and I was to give comfort to Delaney without using words. We sat on the floor in front of each other and I put my hands on his shoulder and I sent comfort from my eyes to his. I felt him relax and at the end of the two minutes of sending comfort, I felt better. I felt a little more relaxed about the class.
Next exercise. Change places. Now Delaney was giving comfort to me and I was receiving it. Now, some of you know me better than others…here’s what I’m going to say: I always need hugs. I rarely ask for them. Delaney’s intuition led him to hold me in his arms. At the end of the two minutes we were breathing in the same rhythm. It was very comforting! He made me feel safe in an environment that had, just a few minutes before, made me feel terror!
Third exercise, turn to your partner and tell them what frightens you most of all. Not “I’m afraid of spiders” but that thing that is so deeply a part of you that it follows you everywhere you go. What? Use my voice and admit out loud the thing that scares me? Admit this to a stranger? I can write it down on a scrap of paper…but to say it out loud to my partner and subsequently the other 22 people in the room? How can I do that? And I had to go first. Suddenly I heard my fear expressed from across the room. That gave me the courage to say it. I used my voice, my mouth, and all that is in me to say to Delaney, “I’m afraid to be alone.” (Immediately after I said it I wanted to explain, “But it’s okay. I’ll be fine. I’ve got good friends. It hurts and all, but I’ll be okay.” I suppose that’s just another wall we build for ourselves, the “I’m okay” wall that keeps us from letting people in.) This fear was echoed all over the classroom. And when it was Delaney’s turn, he said the same thing. With the time left in the exercise Delaney and I hugged each other. We’d both said it out loud. We’d both admitted to this fear that everyone has.
Kelly was saying that everyone has the desire to be loved. And we all have the fear of being hurt. Everyone feels that. I am not the only one. She said that we stand at the same door and beat the hell out of it hoping that the person on the other side will open it and love us. I do that. I know I do. I stand there beating at the door, “Open it! Open it and let me in! Love me! Love me, damn it! I am worthy of love!” It’s the same door I’ve been beating on for years and years.
When the class ended I felt that I had learned something. I LEARNED! I am not alone in my fears. Everyone feels what I feel. Everyone wants to be loved.
I know that there will be many more exercises that are going to push me out of my comfort zone. I know that there will be days that I will cry because I just can’t take it any more. I know that there will be days that I’ll hate this class. But at the end of it…if I can LEARN something, it will be worth it.