The world sees me as happy and successful. However, only my daughters and spouse and ex’s know that almost daily I blinked through tears of panic with warrior strength and in weaker moments raced to the bathroom to scream silently to control the furies that threatened to unravel me, that often I fought to keep from exploding into oblivion and putting an end to the misery I called myself.
In truth, I have gotten my great-big-huge-wonderful life, but every day since age fourteen I have been scared, sometimes forsaken with only God as my friend, for there were many hours and years that I loathed myself.
Only in joy is there no pain.
It took me sixty years to learn that love wasn’t enough, that the more I loved, the more I hurt. Joy is an oasis of calm and safety. We have no word such as “unjoy.” There is joy and merely the absence of joy. Finding joy is a journey that takes one beneath the lies, the false beliefs, the confusion and the horrors of everyday life.
Happiness cannot be taught because it is a fickle emotion. Joy can be taught because it is merely unveiling what is already within you. Joy is finding the essence of yourself, stripped clean of misconceptions, when you once again meet the real you. We were born knowing joy but soon learned to hide it. The journey to reclaim joy is easy, yet requires surrendering one’s identities, the veneers of vanity, pride, shame, anger, etc. Joy is living without illusion.
Writing this book made me a calmer and stronger person.
Publishing this book challenges me to grow even more.
Much of it was written in quasi confidence for an editor who inspired courage to tell the truth. Publishing it scares me for I will shatter illusions, meaning my world will never be the same. People who never liked me will suddenly become friends. People who liked me will no longer trust me, for I’m not the happy-go-lucky-sprite they admired; I am flawed and struggling like them. Worse than that, I breached the code of a warrior and show my weaknesses.
Coming clean of the nightmare that has been my life, of revealing my shadow self that my bright smile kept all but empaths from seeing, is to turn my world upside down. But vulnerable is the new brave. Astonishingly, my life is finally the calm wonder and joy I’d yearned for. Only in joy is there healing.
Only in joy is there joy.