Emily Dickinson wrote “Go above your nerve,” and it’s something we all must do, if we are going to be anything but unfulfilled.
If your Nerve, deny you—
Emily Dickinson was a rare woman for her time. A woman who dedicated her life to poetry, above all else. She denied herself real contentment; physical, emotional and reciprocated love – willingly isolating herself from even her closest friends.
We have all been Emily at some point. Crouching in the night, under the steely clouds of the inexplicable sorrow that forms when we knowingly look away.
We’ve all lost ourselves in the chaos of shame and discontent, not sure if there’s a way out.
We’ve fed our bodies past where we should, imbibed too much when we knew we shouldn’t, denied ourselves what we really wanted, because we thought we didn’t deserve it.
We are all Emily Dickinson.
We must go above our nerve to get to that meaningful place. We must rise up and acknowledge how we got to be Emily in the first place. What broken part are we afraid to fix and why? Facing that truth, saying it out loud more times that you can stand, is the only way you’re going to get the chance at a ticket to happyville.
There was a mindful and resplendently wonderful therapist who used to come to my high school for “group.” He was a masterful communicator with teenage types and I have had some interaction with him decades past then.
He always used to say “What’s the worst thing that can happen if you do, admit, deny, X?
Say it out loud. Say it a few times. Is it really that bad? It gets easier once you realize your fears and say it.”
It’s not as if you say “I’m afraid if I let someone love me, I will have to deal with being vulnerable again” three times, out loud, Beetlejuice will appear.
Try it. Name your poison. “I’m afraid if I X, I will have to X.” Three times.
Did he appear?
No. He didn’t and he’s not going to, but you’ve raised the ghost of your issue and that’s the first step in the process of healing. You cannot outrun it. You cannot drink it away. You cannot push or punch it away (I know, I’ve tried). You cannot starve or eat it away. It won’t be rolled up and smoked either.
There’s no place for it. It has to go.
Healing is a long, and monstrous ride. It requires that you actually participate. You’re going to have to peer down at the creepy crawlies under the bed and call them out. But you’re not afraid.
You’re not Emily anymore.
Realize that you deserve to live a life full of things you desire. You deserve to be loved. You deserve to be healthy. You deserve to be successful. You deserve to feel desired. You deserve to be content.
These are not things that are out of reach. Wanting these things is not based in arrogance or hubris.
They are good things. There is no reason why you cannot have them.
You’re going to have to walk through the dark Forbidden Forest like Harry Potter did. But just as the lightning-scarred wizard boy, you will not be alone.
We will be with you. Your friends, your family, your rays of positive light. Even Emily will be there, cheering with great enthusiasm and a glimmer of envy.
I encourage you, dear friends, to go above your nerve and get what you want out of life.
Be brave. Be strong. Reach for what you want.
Transcend the shit that mires you. Allow yourself the grow in the direction of your best and happiest self.
It is entirely and absolutely up to you.