It is the craziest suit of armor...really. I keep thinking I have taken it off only to find that by some weird trick of science and faith, the armor has grown back while I slept, waking me with all its clanky hardness, demonstrating again, that while I make a great many decisions in relation to my armor, it definitely has a mind of its own.
So here I am, working hard to rid myself of this armor that pinches, is hot and super uncomfortable. All the Erins in my head have been working diligently to come to come sort of peace about the armor and its effectiveness and usefulness. And I keep thinking we have a quorum, but in reality, it would appear, since the armor is back today, this whole armor decision process isn’t really up to any or all of the Erins in my head.
First of all, I am pretty sure all of the Erins lack courage. Some of them have bravado. Yes, many of them have a great deal of that...but courage to really take it off and just stand there naked and vulnerable...that apparently seems like too much to ask.
And so it grows back while all the Erins are sleeping and no one is the wiser, until we all wake up encased again. And so it would appear, in need, once more of armor to protect ourselves from you, from life and from perhaps ourselves.
I realized the other day with all this armor shit being front and center on my mind, that perhaps the reason it keeps growing back is because I, perhaps, have not done the work, the actual work needed in order to release armor’s purpose in my life.
Years ago, decades really, I worked very hard to develop this suit of armor, and I needed it desperately to survive. And though it was stifling, loud and supremely disagreeable, all of those, we will call them downsides, paled in comparison to the fear I had regarding living life without it.
And I guess we can review the last 28 years as a process of me being willing to take one piece off at a time, with broad, sweeping statements that my removal of one piece will engender a procedure for removing the rest. Really, what it would appear now, is that I am not really going to remove any of it, surely not all at once, because I still indulge the belief that I most desperately need it to survive.
So all the Erins agree that taking it all off is a great idea. But what has resulted is a kind of armor striptease instead. Each of the many parts of me in charge of strategic pieces of armor, and each part of me coming to the stage of my life and standing there, with and without seductive postures, to stand hopeful, this time, I will be able to remove it for good. Fling that chest piece out into the crowd, allowing some stranger who has born witness to my crude display, to take it with them when they leave, giving them something else all together, knowing not what the fuck they will do with it.
Perhaps they will toss it out as they exit. Perhaps they will covet it in some sort of Gollum like way. Hiding it deep within the recesses of their own middle earth. Perhaps they will take it home and carelessly eschew it onto their kitchen table. Whatever might be the case, I have now discarded something that I was not quite done with yet...I mean I was when I so bolding undressed it and tossed it into the crowd, but now that the show is over and I am all alone, I kind of find myself longing for the protection it provided, or at least the protection it promised.
I think what has been missing is the humility required to really remove armor from your life. I mean you are the one who locked yourself up in there and you are the only one who knows where all those locks are and what key matches with what lock. But, perhaps, I am just beginning to think, that perhaps, there is a step I have been missing, perhaps there is some humility required before removal begins. Perhaps a humble knowing that without some divinity invited in before the armor striptease ensues, perhaps I must stand before my creator and remove each piece slowly and with intention to know God better. And to allow God to know me better too. All of us, all the Erins, gathered together to just be present, awake and courageous in our endeavor to come to some uncertain peace with it all.
Perhaps removing it to move closer or further from particular people has been wrong all along. Perhaps instead what is required for living humbly, and with a level of grace that makes armor unnecessary, is to stand before that grace and remove the armor and let it fall to the ground impotently.
I think I see now that all my disrobing and re-gussying up of this insulate armor has been just another exercise in my own futility, in thinking that I know shit. In thinking that I am in charge. Of fostering the belief that I don’t really need God or any kind of Divinity because I have this, ok? And if I don’t, well, I can call back all the armor I have tossed about and like some sort of horror show script, my armor will crawl back to me in the dark of night, allowing me to awaken once more, encased and preserved, protected once more.
And so this is how I wake up most days. Encased. Entombed in my own armor which feels less and less like something I want to contend with everyday. It is smelly, hard and unflinchingly grievous to wear. Yet, I persist in my stubborn refusal to stand before God and remove all this protective layering once and for all. And I see now that I do this because I cannot, will not trust that there is any Divinity that could exist where that would be safe.
So I must create One in which I believe or live forever interred in armor that is familiar, sure, but pleasant no.