sisterhood of the sacred dance: afraid & free

Sisterhood of the Sacred Dance: Afraid & Free

Something they don’t tell you about freedom
is that it can feel scary as hell, at first.
Even as you celebrate the broken shackles,
the lightness of your limbs feels unnatural,

like you have become untethered

and might just float away.

When you wake up to the wide open space

available for running around,

romping and playing and jumping 

and making noise,

or sitting quietly just to feel 

the warmth of the sun

and the cool of the breeze on your face…

one little part of you will gaze back

to the door through which you ran

as soon as you finally saw it

and gathered up the courage to leave.

Okay, maybe you were speed walking,

and maybe there were fits and starts,

and maybe you got stuck in the doorway once

while concerned onlookers 

tried to pull you back,

but eventually, you made it out.

Your eyes squinted

as they adjusted to the light.

How could you prepare yourself 

for brilliant sunlight

and soft green grass

and endless blue skies

and intimate bird songs

when all your senses have known is 

deceptive fluorescent lighting

and cold linoleum floors

and glass ceilings

and noise blaring from amplifiers?

Yet, you felt in the very marrow of your bones,

a sense of coming home.

You were made for this freedom,

but some days, you might find yourself

huddled against the concrete wall

in a corner of shade provided by the building

that once held you captive.

You can faintly hear the voices

coming from inside,

comforting in their familiarity,

singing the song of the insider language.

It was

so nice,

so nice

so nice

to belong…

You are startled awake from your reverie

by the coo of a dove perched in a tree nearby.

She gently calls you back,

reminding you that you belong here,

despite the allure of your captor.

When you look up,

you see a familiar face—

someone you knew from Before.

She straddles the doorway awkwardly,

looking back over her shoulder one minute,

and then squinting in the sunlight the next.

She looks afraid and injured,

like you were once.

You leave the corner 

where you were huddled, stretch your legs, 

and reach into your back pocket.

“Here,” you say,

handing her a pair of spare sunglasses.

“You’ll need these here.”

You smile and her face relaxes

as she puts them on.

“I used to watch you from the window,” 

she says. “I thought I saw you… dancing?”

“Yes,” you say, remembering.

“I was so scared and free.”

“And now?” she asks.

“Sometimes I find myself

inching over to the doorway,

out of habit, I guess.”

She nods.

“But I can never go back there.

Just this morning, the dove reminded me 

of my beautiful, wild, terrifying freedom.

So now, I guess,

I am a little afraid

and so very free

and a little less alone.”

The two of you sit together in silence,

your bodies remembering everything

your souls have endured.

After a while, she stands up.

“I think I’m ready to dance.”

You smile.

“Lead the way, my friend.”

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