When I was a young girl some not so lovely people started referring to me as the Ice Queen. It was a nickname born out of my outward coldness and reserved nature. In short, I built a wall around myself, as many children from broken homes do and I gave off a vibe of isolation and an emotionless demeanor. This is a persona that haunted me well into my early 20’s. At the time, I chose to embrace this being, this ice queen. I used the cold, and calculating comfort that this identity provided me to explain my lack of tears, and my almost holier than thou attitude. I didn’t have time for foolish games, my young self would decree, I was a queen, and nothing could penetrate my icy heart. Whenever I was feeling down or lonely, I could snap into this character and find a calm sense of power and control. Queen’s don’t cry, especially in front of the plebs (I lament that I only learned that word recently and never actually got the chance to use it on the playground!).
So why now, when I am the happiest I have ever been in my life, does this painful memory pop into my head? Because as it turns out, this is my default when something unexpectedly painful arises in my life. I go into cold, survival mode, and nothing can get in. My defense mechanism is my Ice Queen identity.
I found out a few days ago that one of my great aunts passed away, quite suddenly. And while that in of itself is painful, it is not what triggered me. The catalyst was in fact the text message from my mom, the person I had not had any communication with in more than 4 years. I cried for my aunt, and my grieving grandparents. But then, the well of tears just dried right up. There was a cold, protective shield that went up in light of the message from her. It was like reading a message from a complete stranger. You quickly scan, glean the information and then process the information at face value. It was like she was a messenger pigeon and not the person who helped give me life.
I felt confused. Really, seriously out of sorts. How was it possible that this person had become a complete stranger to me? Is this what happens to normal people when they have a falling out? Do they just become acquaintances or less? And what’s more, was I guilty that this had happened? What was my next move, if any?
And then, just as quickly as my brain started to wind up, it calmed (with the help of my sister of course). The wave of uncertainty was replaced by something wondrous. Something I didn’t know was even possible. It was peace. Simple, calm, elegant peace. I’m left knowing that there is no right or wrong, or regret or lament, or really anything else. I made a decision that brought me peace and comfort. And the ability to live my life to the fullest, without an anchor judging, shaming or holding me back in any way. I am free. I am also grateful, to the Ice Queen inside of me. I recognize now, that in the face of uncertainty she will be there, she will not let me fall apart. She will keep me whole in the face of adversity. I can count on her years of strength and support when I could very easily be overcome with emotion and lose control. The fear, that used to give me pause, is gone. And while I am grateful for the calm reminder that the Ice Queen will always be a part of me, I am hopeful that I will not have to rely on her for many years to come.
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