My Reflective Lady
A former friend texted me in response to a piece I wrote on my blog. “I thought we were friends”, she said.
It took me by surprise when I realized I haven’t spared her a thought since I moved to Cambridge. This person used to be my best friend. We used to be close. We used to be completely in each other’s lives. The very idea that my former friend is completely gone from my consciousness is a startling realization.
Long Island seems very far away. My life there seems blurry, indistinct. My friend’s face seems in my mind as if I’m looking through water, wavy and not clear.
The threads of my old life are frayed and disintegrated. They’ve almost disappeared.
My old life. Days of darkness. Inconsequential conversations rooted in pettiness and politenesses, and through it all, death as a familiar option. It kept me company for a long time, finally making its presence known.
It forced my hand, stripped me bare, laid me open to the world. Had I not met death at that point and bartered with him by relinquishing my life, I would have met him later when I was powerless. But I survived. I crossed the threshold.
This is the thing, the meat and bones of my journey. I grabbed onto the idea that my life could change. I nurtured it, I fed it and cared for it and I watched it grow strong. It took root within me and it vanquished all the weeds of my former life that would have choked me.
I tried to explain it to my friend. I saw that she would not be coming with me on this new phase of my life. She could not conceive of such a thing. Her life was set, she was content. She could not understand why I couldn’t feel the same. She wanted me to stay with her. But I couldn’t.
I felt my old life turn to dust. I felt her as a sedentary being. Someone who did not wish me well. I knew I would be leaving her behind. I do not feel sad or remorseful about this. It was a natural part of my process.
It had to happen. Those that don’t see why I must do this cannot have a part in my life. It would not work and would lead to more meaningless exchanges.
The answer to the text my friend sent me was one word: “OK”. It might as well have been goodbye. I chose not to engage with her, to revisit a world of hurts, real and imagined, or small accusations. These kinds of conversations serve no purpose, they just become a detour for me, a road I don’t need to follow. I have already been hopelessly mired in the mud of a life I chose to leave behind. No need to see it again.
I feel this idea within me. It has led me to much joy and friendship. It has also taken payment by ripping away the shards and shadows that were so much a part of my life, leaving my open and exposed, my soul and being naked to the elements of the unknown.
As I walk this road leaving behind the comforts of a predictable life, thinking every day that I thank the circumstances of my life that caromed me into this lane, this road of dangerous curves and beautiful vistas, of big potholes and rest stops.
My friend Jon asked me if I am on a Hero’s Journey. I can only answer that truthfully as yes.
Because it’s not just the physical move and everything that goes with it.
I keep returning to the source, to that idea that has grown strong within me, the spark that spurs me onward. I feel it urging me forward, walking with eyes wide open.
I think the idea of a Journey is that it doesn’t end. I will never be “done” as long as I am alive. And I will not be satisfied to sit on the shoulder and watch my life go forward without being an active participant in it.
There are new and amazing views just down this road. I choose this life and my self, my essence, whatever makes me an individual being on this Earth, is honed and ready and willing to keep going to see what comes round the next turn.