Dancing In The Graveyard: A Christmas Miracle.
“Have faith that your prayers have been heard and are being answered,” Mother Mary whispers in my ear as I take the long way home through the graveyard. I pull my coat tighter around me, as if to disappear into this moment. The sun is just beginning to set.
They are not the things we listen to in pop Christmas songs. They are not glistening on the Christmas tree.
What are miracles to a survivor of sexual abuse?
A fantastic mystical miracle is getting out of bed.
A miracle is being able to touch my naked skin without repulsion. A miracle is being able to have sex with my entire being, and not daydream my body somewhere else.
Those are my Christmas miracles.
I am not feeling all of the glitz and jolly of this Christmas season.
What feels like home right now is this old graveyard, between a church and my neighborhood. I walk between the rows of graves, turn my music up high.
I can walk in this graveyard. Or I can dance. Like I used to before I knew about loss. At seven years old, I would get hit by a dance attack in the middle of a grocery store, scream dance attack, and start kicking and swirling my body.
That’s the girl I want back.
I know the only way to get her to stay is if I dance in this dark graveyard.
My Christmas prayer: God, do not let my neighbors see me kicking and swirling in this graveyard. Please, God. And Jesus too. All of yous. Give me this sweet pleasure of being ignored.
I dance down the rows now. I’m reaching up and I’m falling to my knees. I fall in front of a grave. I know this is it. This is what I came here for.
I came here to bury my hope for something else. That stinging hope that somehow my father would have loved me. In the way that I wanted to be loved, not in his way. It aches to let that hope go. But something tells me this is the only way miracles are born, and the only true miracles are raw and bloody and scream at the setting sun.
And now I can finally cry Why. I shout it now. Weeping and shouting and pleading and ripping grass from the earth. Why. And I can’t remember it all; my mind doesn’t grant me the memories, but my body aches with that familiar longing for something pure. To be loved in a pure way that a daughter deserves to be loved.
God, that desire is so strong and it’s kept me safe and smiling, politely knocking at closed doors, sleeping outside on the front step of my life.
I’m howling and I’m holding on to some grave of someone who never belonged to me to begin with.
I feel my hope breathless deep in this grave, my hope that I could have been better, kinder, listened more. That if I was a wonderful child, maybe none of this would have happened. Maybe if I was just a tad bit funnier.
The wind speeds up, matching my tears. Mother Mary fervently kissing them away from my cheeks and nose. I gasp for air and look up. Here there is a sanity I have never known.
The sanity of the truth.
I lie down next to this grave and place my head near it. I’ve always been sentimental for the past. I’ve always longed for it, and I know I could stay, and keep sleeping here.
But this cold earth is not for the living. This cold stone has nothing for me, and is rough underneath my fingertips. I press my hand to the gravestone one last time. Now with my hope for the past dead, I finally feel hope for my future. Belief that I’m not lost, that I never was.
I begin to press my body back up and away from this grave, and as I do, I can feel the souls of the departed dancing around me. They are free, and so am I.
Jesus said to the sick man, “Pick up your mat, and walk.” And I press away from this grave inch by inch and, for the first time, I have a slight glimmer of the Christmas spirit. A raw beating feeling of a newborn in my heart, given a chance at life.
I’ll take that.
Maria Palumbo continues to expand every day, learning to love the wild, terrifyingly beautiful life outside of the box. Shifting from psychotherapy to the world of sensuality and self-care, Maria is creating a new way of healing for all women. She is excited to teach the art of self-seduction that she has learned through the years from falling in and out of love with her own body. Now she is in love for good and there is nothing quite as satisfying. Follow this delicious romance and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram or her website.