One October day, I am launched into unfathomable uncertainty. A decision made between a rock and a hard place lands me back among the monolithic mountain ranges that, despite their breathtaking beauty, make me claustrophobic. I leave behind all I’ve built. I exit my safe space. And I pray to every god that I have the strength to shoulder all of this weight.
My lungs feel the smog before my eyes see it. Please, someone, punch a hole in this blanket of filth so that I can inhale. Please, someone, punch a hole in my blanket of bravado so that I can exhale. Please, someone, anyone, treat me like a stranger. I want this to feel like foreign land. I don’t want it to be like it was.
I traverse this strangely familiar territory. I tread lightly, despite my threats to do just the opposite. This landscape is a frozen lake. At any moment I could be plunged into icy depths that taste like old wounds and rather than reaching out for help, I’ll chide myself for not knowing better, for not having stitched them tightly enough while I was away.
Under the guise of the pursuance of knowledge, I fled in desperation. I stayed away in desperation. I returned in desperation. I exist in desperation. My eyes scan every place I go, scared I’ll find a familiar face.
But when I allow it, the miraculous side effects of my homecoming dazzle me. Suddenly I am surrounded once again with depthless love. I buzz with gratitude for him and furniture stores, for her and six-hour puzzles, for them and endless laughter, for spiked gummies and painting pumpkins and cross-country drives that challenge your sanity but strengthen your bond. If wealth was counted in unconditional love, I’d be the richest woman alive. I was put on this earth to find them all. They are my soul split several ways, just as I am a shard of theirs.
Uncertainty still suffuses me daily, twists my stomach into knots and beads sweat on my hairline. Then I remember that I am among my anchors; the strata of my spirit. They keep me steady as I slip-slide across this frigid terrain. I fear the fear and the fear fears me; we dance around each other cautiously, poker faces securely in place. It is perhaps the most sensational game of chicken I have ever played, but I am still hellbent on winning. Don’t let my timidity fool you. The topography is daunting, but I am not weak, and I am not alone.
And neither are you.