Tag Archives: fear

“An Open Letter to Fear”

~Esther Mitchell, 2016~

In the photographs in my mind,
I see myself in all my Amazonian glory,
Standing strong,
One hand on sword, one on staff,
My bow and arrows slung across chest and back,
As indomitable as I ever dreamed I could be,
As that little girl, hidden away in silence,
Until my beautiful Goddesses found me,
Breathed life, and power, and heart into me,
Lifted me up into my own raiment of deity,
Against the voices who said reclaiming my power was evil.

I want to speak with the voice of the Persian Queen trapped in my throat,
Held captive in my chest,
Beating to free herself from the cage bars of my ribs.
Not the Hebrew woman who feared a man’s wrath,
But the Persian Queen she birthed from her chest, her lips,
Drew like lightning from her eyes.
I want to feel her name — my name — in every pulse of my blood,
To hear that Queen whisper in the space between the beats,
The Queen who drew her own fear like a weapon,
Wrapped it like a cloak around herself and from it drew courage,
Turned that fear in a quiet storm upon those who believed her place,
To be anywhere, or anything, but loved and respected.

I want to be the lantern in the night,
An arm around the poor, the vulnerable, those yearning to breathe free,
To carry bandages to the bleeding, in all the battlefields,
Whether the battlefield is in the body, or mind,
To bind the wounds, be the medicine, give until there is nothing left of me,
And still be able to give some more.
I want to dry tears cried in pain,
Not because I can do nothing else,
But because I can do everything,
With love, compassion, and the courage that comes only from first knowing fear.

I want to march with arms linked and voices raised,
Side-by-side with all my sisters, whether by birth, or spirit, or Pride,
To hear our voices rebound with the power to break walls,
Rather than build them.
To sing out in one voice to all who would steal us away from ourselves,
“You can no longer have the night!”
“We take back our birthright, our magic, the hallowed blood in our veins!”
“You no longer have power over us!”

I want… I want someone to take pictures,
Not of this broken body,
Not of my shattered trust or destroyed dreams,
But of my immortal soul,
Singing of the magic of all the Feminine Mystery.
For I am at once both none and all of these things:
Amazon
Goddess
Queen
Healer
Protector
Shaman
Sister
Mother
Virgin
Whore
And Crone.
And, like every woman born,
I will use the label you brand me,
The fear you beat into me,
To teach all the Daughters of the Earth,
And their Daughters, into Eternity,
How not to be afraid.

young-flamenco-dancer-by-nenetus

 

“Magic Words”

~Esther Mitchell, 2014~

I wish I had a magic formula,
One that would make you see me,
See more than this shell,
See how much more I am,
Than the frame you pass by every day.
I wish I knew an incantation,
That would let you see my words,
The ones trapped in my throat,
The ones that escape only on the tip of a my pen,
This inked tongue turns free my words,
Uncages the feelings held prisoner behind the bars of my chest,
Shut up by the squeeze of my throat,
Letting air in, air out, but never a sound.
The words that matter don’t come out of my mouth,
They come from my fingers,
From the loud shout of my pen,
And yet, I remain invisible,
Because I can’t find the spell to make myself seen,
To make myself heard.
I wish I knew a magic trick,
To turn your eyes my way,
To make my wooden throat real.
I don’t know the magic words,
To take my fear of your indifference away,
Or give me wings to fly above the doubt,
And the courage to let my words out.

color graph

“Surviving the Monster”

~Esther Mitchell, 2014~

They tell you children are color-blind,
That they don’t see race until they’re taught.

When I was six years old,
I learned to fear white men,
To see a monster in every face,
The product of terror and pain,
Soul bled out, invisible,
Torn from me amidst savage words,
Burned forever into memory,
A litany of demonic voices trapped within my head.
It took a white man to show me,
There was nothing to fear,
That I was stronger than that pain,
That not all white men are monsters.

When I was eight years old,
I learned to fear black men,
At the hands of a black man with power over me,
Who tore my lungs from my chest,
Because I already could not breathe,
Who flayed me with the very Elements,
An icy knife that slashed my body in two,
Until my vision faded, my knees weakened,
And I could not run any more.
It took a black man to teach me there was nothing to fear,
Who saw my terror, and spoke to it,
Gently told me there was no reason left to run,
And gave me back the power of my own lungs.

I was a child who learned to fear everything male,
To shrink away from any touch,
To close my eyes and pretend they might all go away,
For fear the next time, I might not survive.
Until one man showed me I was the one with the power,
To bring a man to his knees,
And to lift him up so he could fly.
And in realizing all that I am,
I realized all that I am not.
I am not a victim unless I choose to be,
I am not blind, deaf, or mute,
Unless I choose to let myself be led.
Violence and ignorance are identical,
No matter the color they wear upon their skin,
And if you’re looking for the monster,
The first place to look is deep within.

“No Fear”

~Esther Mitchell, 2012~

I know no fear of the night.

On stealthy feet,

I find my way through every darkness,

With eyes that see more than mere light,

I embrace the starlight as joyfully as the dawn.

I know no fear of the unknown.

Without hesitance,

I follow where the tracks lead,

The hunt leads me onward,

and Truth, Honor, and Compassion keep me from harm.

I know no fear of my own Truth.

With confidence,

I follow my own paths forward,

With joyful abandon,

I hear the whispers of promise that dance ahead.

I have no cause to fear,

For the spirit of Wolf walks with me,

And the beating of wings stir above me.

There is nothing of this world,

That can take from me what is of the Other,

And no matter the trial, on this Path I will walk free and unafraid.

Wolves 06

“Freeing the Clown”

~Esther Mitchell, 1996 ~

How can I say the words,

Trapped behind this laughter,

When my voice freezes in fear,

Afraid it’s my heart you’ll slaughter?

The lacking is within me,

It beats here in my chest,

A wounded heart, estranged to love,

A trust abused, a dreaded test.

How sad the first steps,

Should have to be yours, upon this ice,

For the past holds me from movement,

My fear and pain swirled like a painter’s palette.

Please help me take that step,

Erase my fears and set me free,

Show me it’s again safe to trust,

And just love me for me.

For I’ll egg your laughter on,

At my own expense,

But when the day is done,

the paint streaks away beneath the weight of pain.

I fear you see only the clown,

This paint upon my face,

And that you’ll hate the me inside,

And take away my only safe space.

So promise me solemn,

And promise me true,

That, at my worst and at my best,

I can always count on you.

“Tonight”

~Esther Mitchell, 2013~

Tonight I’ll sit here,

staring through my eyes,

seeing what the world fails to see,

because there’s never time for me.

I’ll face the demon in the cupboard,

And those metallic whispers from the drawer,

And pretend, again, I don’t hear their taunts,

The silent bully, chanting “do it, do it, do it.”

I’ll close my heart within a shroud,

The armor no one sees,

And everyone appears to hate,

And tell myself I know the way back,

From this painful, desolate place.

I tell myself it’s enough I care,

That looking for another’s love is just weak,

And then I remember soaring in that sky,

And all my denials break, splinter, and fly apart.

So, tonight, I’ll sit here all alone,

In darkness, despite the surrounding glow,

And wonder why I bother being me,

When all I am appears to never be enough.

“Glass Heart”

~Esther Mitchell, 2013~

I’ve always known the truth,

though I hid it behind masks.

I convinced you I was whole,

When my heart was broken,

Made you believe I was unafraid,

When my demons stalked me,

And terror was my only true companion.

Deep within my soul,

Tucked away within my mind,

The truth still tortures me.

Never gone, never forgotten,

It steps between me and the world,

Rips my heart to bleeding shreds,

And twists my thoughts with mistrust and fear.

Every day, I take one step forward,

Tell myself I can trust this day, this moment,

Convince myself the world won’t hurt me,

Yet I hold my breath, waiting, afraid,

Because I’m more fragile than I seem,

You can hurt me with a word, with a look, with silence.

There is a place within my heart,

As delicate as a glass bubble,

A place with which I’ve loved,

A place destroyed by love lost,

By silent pain and unspoken rage,

Until I fear my own self most of all.