“It seemed to me the way it must feel to people who cut themselves on purpose. Not pretty, but clean. Not good, but void of regret. I was trying to heal. Trying to get the bad out of my system so I could be good again. To cure me of myself.”
— Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
I am often told that I am not a good friend, not a good partner, not a good boss, not a good daughter. I am often told that I abuse the words always and forever. I am often told that I should connect with myself to stop hurting those who love me. I am often told that I talk myself into depression and anxiety. I am often told that I am not resilient. And I am often told that I am arrogant. I listen to those voices and I nod. They are right.
I am also told that I am kind and that I exude warmth. I am told that I am effusive, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I bask in tiny, warm moments. I listen to those voices and I nod. I wish they were right.
I walk on this road called life. My shoulders are laden with regrets, guilt, bitter memories, and haunting shadows. My heart is filled with hope, love that can be expressed, love that struggles to marry words, and comforting light. I keep walking. Sometimes, I drop to my knees, as though genuflecting in front of an unknown superpower, and plead for my baggage to be unloaded. Sometimes, I massage my own shoulders and feet, and keep walking and walking and walking, without complaining about the cross I bear.
Many a time, I want this journey to end because the path becomes dark. I want to turn into a feather and just fly. Gently. Lightly. But when I see a streak of light, I gather my belongings and begin my walk again. On my way to nowhere, I commit myriad murders, I sprinkle seeds of love. When it is dark, the dead ones assault me. When it is not, they make me smile. I am forever haunted by them all the same.
My life, in all its glory, boils down to this — stopping and starting, hating and loving, hurting and recovering, dying and resurrecting.
In this journey toward redemption, I am a wearied wayfarer. Despite the exhaustion and self-loathing, I try to keep my head above water. I spot butterflies. I talk to animals. I stargaze. I sit in front of the sinking sun and rising moon. I seek solace in the moonbeam that falls on the oceans. I read. I doodle. I travel. I write. I cycle. I crash and rise in emotions. I laugh. I love. I live.
And these are my becoming.
“One hot afternoon during the era in which you’ve gotten yourself ridiculously tangled up with heroin, you will be riding the bus and thinking what a worthless piece of crap you are when a little girl will get on the bus holding the strings of two purple balloons. She’ll offer you one of the balloons, but you won’t take it because you believe you no longer have a right to such tiny beautiful things. You’re wrong. You do.”
— Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed