When I was a kid, I hoped the mud I found by the swamp, and in some construction site holes after days of rain would either reveal to me another world inside this one, or an ancient creature lost to time. The quicksand I wanted my waking life to be like I expected would function as a door into another mode of consciousness, though back then that meant another dimension or realm. It felt empowering to search for escape and adventure then, almost as empowering as when last week I decided I’d stop publishing poems on my blog and return to a time where the last thing I thought about while writing a poem was how many thumbs up I might get. It was then I noticed the “love language” of spending time with myself had found its way to the bookshelf in my head and started perusing me for relationship advice without checking with me first. Then yesterday, I decided I would try to hold eye contact with my friends for longer than usual in order to understand my attitude toward deep listening, only to discover that when I eye gaze someone, I feel like I’m holding my life in my hands and stepping off the edge of safety into a mud pit. Becoming a rope for pulling me out of myself each time I want to get close to fulfillment and love tells me I’ve only begun to ask for what I need, which is kind of exciting! I’m learning that even though it may feel like I’m risking death each time I look into the eyes of a friend and hold their gaze, it’s really me looking into myself and being steadfast with whatever bog I find there that matters. That, and feeling fulfilled and less guilty doesn’t mean I have to spiritually die first. For that, all I must do really is be attentive and prove to myself that no matter how “cringe” things get, I’m not going anywhere. I can practice being loyal to myself to reveal I always have a lot more mud work to do before I can be unstuck.