~ Why? ~
Disclaimer: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle are the property of MCA/Universal and Ren Pics, no copyright infringement was intended in the writing of this piece.
Subtext Warning: This story could vaguely suggest a loving relationship between two consenting adult women. So, if you are under 18, it is illegal in the state/country in which you live, or if you are offended by it, read something else.
Acknowledgments: It is because of one very determined, or should I say stubborn, person that I was even able to write this. Thanks Katia for asking me "Why?" in the first place, and then sticking with me through it all. You are a really good friend to have albeit a bit of a whacko. Maybe if one of us could figure out how to make some money from this, we could pay off our phonebills.
"Why?" It was not my question to ask, instead it was hers and it seemed I gave her cause to ask it a lot. She struggled so hard to understand me, and with that struggle, inevitably "Why?" was asked.
I had learned to live in that moment, feeling, but only sometimes. I felt the safe emotions, happiness, silliness, and others that allowed me to express only that part of myself that I could control. Yeah, control. What a horrible word when it comes to emotions. I had no understanding of this, and instead chose to ignore what could not be controlled.
The list for these uncontrollable emotions is so much longer than the others, and that, in and of itself, is frightening. I felt love, but more often did not feel worthy of it. I felt sadness, but fear of self pity drove me away. I felt lonely, and blamed only myself. I felt shame, for what I was hiding. This only drove me deeper into myself. The most frightening of all was the anger which was becoming more and more of a rage. This was what I was more afraid of in myself than any other emotion, for this emotion fed off the others. It was vicious. It was consuming me.
I never believed it could lead to this, I still thought I could keep myself safe. I more than hesitantly, with much resistance, began exploring these emotions, but not alone. I could not do it alone for I had learned all too well how to keep myself from going there. I had built a line of defenses to not only keep others away from my true emotions, but also myself. I had done a good job of it as well. For every hurdle, there was a diversion. For every obstacle, there was an escape route. For every wall, there was the beast to guard it. My rage.
I wanted to give up on myself, live as I had, numb, but not afraid. That too, was a lie and one with which I was unable to convince myself anymore, and one she never believed from the start.
I had tried using all my tricks to keep myself safe from exploring what I was feeling. She was tenacious and not fooled. I tried my first line of defense, humor, skating the issues, changing the subject to much safer areas of conversation. She was not swayed and persisted with, "Why? And we moved further along.
With steps barely recognizable as such, we moved to find my buried emotions. The second line of defense was one I had built, although it was invisible to me. I would allow myself only to go so far and then shut down. I escaped my thoughts by going…nowhere. My thoughts would deceive me, scatter, flee from what was being persued. My mind did what it was trained to do, keep anyone from getting to the inner me and my emotions. This frustrated her and confused her, but did not dissuade her from the objective. She continued to ask, "Why?".
My last line of defense was the strongest, and ugliest. I was afraid of it. To the others who had seen it before, they stayed away from it. My rage protected me as well as consumed me. It allowed no-one in, especially me. It was not controllable, having a mind and will of its own. It was an ember glowing inside me, but when revealed, it exploded forth, attempting to destroy whatever lay in its path. She had made it this far and had not run from it. She provoked it, not letting the rage beat her back and leave. It took its toll on her as well, for rage knew how to suck life from any source. Yet with all this, she remained there, unwavering in her persuit of the truth and again asked, "Why?".
The battle that had gone on for so very long inside me was turning in another direction. It had fought me for so long and then veered to the new threat, her. Taking her blows, she moved through each line to that inner, unprotected place that was raw and vulnerable. Havng no reserves, exhaustion taking its toll, I could only give in to what was there. I began exploring this new part of me with tremendous fear, but she was always there, and this alone was more reassuring than anything else.
I was there and she was still with me.
Breaking through to the emotions meant allowing the thoughts that had haunted me to the surface. The burden I had carried alone was being shared for the first time. This was a foreign place for me and one that left me very unsure. As much as I didn't want to be here, I knew I had to be if I really wanted to live, not just exist.
I had always considered myself able to confront anything before me. This should have been no different, but it was. The emotions I would not allow myself to feel were taunted by my thoughts. I felt insecure, inferior, unworthy, this was tearing me apart. But, she was there with me, acting as guide and consoler. Asking her "Why?", and patiently waiting for the answers. And for the first time, I began answering them.
I wish I could say it became easier with each question answered, but it has not. I continue the fight within myself, each and every time. Many years of burying what was there, putting the darkest part of me away from others and even myself comes much more naturally. It is because of her that I fight at all, and will continue to do so, for me.