“Sorting through my inner self in the midst of a divorce was like sorting cupcake sprinkles. Pour the bottle out on the table and lean in to analyze carefully. What part of me was really created by him, those new colors never seen before? What are the falsehood and fake matter that when fingered through, you find didn’t belong in this color scheme in the first place? What is truth, pure and white, and worth keeping? I made piles of separated colors meticulously re-evaluating each kernel to identify where it came from and what purpose it now has for me. Even after I completed the task of organizing my truth, my baggage of bitter colors, and my pile of memories, there was no sense of peace. An exhaustion that sleep cannot cure hovered over me. I only feel compelled to just sit and stare into the night with questions, both answered and eternally unanswered, swirling in my head.”
This excerpt was written in my journal one hot restless night over five years ago. This was the beginning of the biggest journey I have ever taken. After that night, I made a decision. No matter how hard it was going to be, I was going to find me.
And so it began.
I traveled deep and far and wide and high. I screamed with the howling wind in the cold of night. I cried a gut-wrenching river of sorrow at the base of an old tree. I dove as deep as my lungs could take me into the salty depths of the ocean seeking silky stillness. I begged for wisdom and understanding and love and peace. Finding my way down this path as a weary traveler some days felt as if I had a heavy sodden blanket drape over my spirit.
But it happened.
Taking no shortcuts meant looking only inward for healing. Completing the journey to the other side of the haunted forest meant relying on my own compass, not one of a smiling stranger on the side of the path. As tempting as it was to join up with another traveler, I found that it did not bring me the joy I longed for. I had to realize I was still seeking out someone who would love me, cherish me, and make me happy. But this was a journey intended to find myself. Anyone else was a distraction.
My journey through a dark time may have come to an end, but that is only because I made it through that particular forest. What the future holds on the path of life is unknown. But I am a stronger person for having reached this mile marker. It may not have looked pretty to bystanders and many may have questioned my choices, but they were mine to make and to own. Any success and regrets that came with them were mine to bear alone. This is what makes the journey worthwhile: that it was all mine.
“Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the bravest thing we’ll ever do.” Brené Brown