Big and Wide Open~
Photo Credit: Mathew Dols
I'm listening to Ben Howard and feeling quite nostalgic. My head is still a bit clogged and foggy from being sick, which may have something to do with the state I am in. But truthfully, it feels more like old stuff that's coming up and moving out. Either way, I feel inspired to write and let this inner desire for understanding and expression take place.
I really can't help but marvel at the way time passes, along with people and places and moments that seem to live forever. There are certain moments and times in life that shape so much of who we are, what we become along the way, and the way in which we find our way into our self.
For me, there have been many wonderful people, places and moments that have shaped me into the person I am now. I am not just speaking of the big and obvious things like marriage and having children. You see, I grew up an army brat and moved around a lot. I moved from state to state, across the sea, and into foreign and unfamiliar places more times than I can count on both hands. I have had the pleasure of meeting many people along the way. And I have discovered that every place that I have lived has changed me in some way and given me something to take away with me. I know that trend will continue.
A good starting place and good example of what I mean is when my family and I moved overseas to Germany. Stuttgart, Germany, was one of those pivotal times in my life, adolescence to be exact, age 13-16. The people I carry in my heart from that time are Ashley, Mikka, and Faith. I still keep in touch, though sporadically, with these ladies. It was a good time, with good friends, loud music and concerts, stretch pants, big hair, and way too much makeup. I will spare you the details and pictures. The point is that I recognize this time frame as an important one.
Then there are those times when we are presented with some of the biggest life lessons all at once that we are irrevocably changed by. I have one specific time in mind. It was one of the best times in my life and it also happened to be one of the hardest, most heart-wrenching times in my life. I was 19 and on new adventure. I wanted so much then, to get out and explore the world and see new things and just live big and wide open. I guess I am thinking about this because some of my dearest friends kids are around the same age now that I was then. And it blows me away especially since I witnessed two of them come into this world. Those are moments you don't forget and always hold close at heart.
Anyway, back to when I was this long, dark-haired creature full of passion and excitement and wonder at the world. I had just moved from Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Alexandria, Virginia, with my family. My dad had orders. I decided to go along. We ventured on into the unknown, into the excitement of this new place. It was such a great time. I got a job right away at Tower Records and was just in love, in love with music and independence and all the possibility before me. Anyway, I made a great friend right away, Spud, who, by the way, is a great guy with the best heart. Anyway, we became quick friends and he invited me out to see his band, 6ft. 7, and the magic began. I met some of the best people while there and these people from that time frame in my life are dear to me in a way that they will probably never fully know.
During that time, I met my first love, Brian, who was also part of 6ft. 7. My heart and love knew no bounds and eventually, it was broken. Not by this person so much as by poor choices, drugs and addiction and co-dependence. All I can say is that heroine is not my hero. I saw this drug steal many souls and leave empty shells behind. I watched and had no idea what to do as I witnessed people I love fall apart and disappear before my eyes. I too fell apart. I gave up my dreams and lost touch with myself completely during this time. I weighed about 90 pounds, maybe less, and was so stressed to the point that I really couldn't eat. I cried a lot and fell into a deep depression. In short, I had my heart broken in many ways by love, by addiction, by abortion, by life. And yet, it was the very thing that woke me up and helped me find my way back to myself. As the saying goes, it was the worst of times and the best of times in every way. Funny how that is. How time and travel can create space and distance and yet nothing is really lost when it comes to love and the people who matter most. I guess what this all comes down to is that it's important to love the people in front of you now and to love and cherish the people who have been with you along the way because each person contributes something to your life.
It used to be that when I thought back to this time, I would feel immense sadness. Sadness at my choices, at loosing what I thought was love, at loosing myself in someone else, at a terminated pregnancy and the all the guilt that came along with that. Now, I look back and I see the good. Time is an amazing healer as is devotion to ones own growth and healing. I cherish this time in my life, it's part of my history and part of my story and I wouldn't change a single word. Sure, I wish some things had gone differently and been less painful, and at the same time, I realize I needed every one of those experiences, to some degree, for my own souls growth.
This is clearly a sign that healing has occurred and that the experiences and lessons of that time have been fully assimilated. I know this is a sign of true forgiveness of past hurts and mistakes made by me and others. I know this because all I feel when I look back and all I see is the Love in all of it. And really, I don't think I will ever be able to adequately express the deep love I feel for Brade, Ami, Spud, Brian, Deborah and Adam. I miss them all the time. I keep them close to my heart and am eternally grateful for their presence in my life. What a gift to know such good people. People who will walk with you through the dark and emerge with you on the other side, where the sun is shining brightly and the world is right again.
I am not sure exactly why I am sharing such a personal phase in my life on a public forum. All I know is that I don't feel the need to hide it or change it or make it any different than it was. It just feels like some of this stuff simply needs to come out into the open and be let go of. This particular period was definitely the fork-in-the-road of my life. One side representing life and the other death. It's obvious which path I chose.
Certainly my life is much different than I thought it would be at 19. And to think, I thought I knew something about life. Don't we all think that at that age? I can't help but laugh out loud about that. I can see now that I knew very little. I just knew that I wanted to live big and wide open. I still want that. I don't want to be closed and bored and turned off. I want to be awake and engaged. I want to be enchanted with the world instead of disheartened by it. And all it takes is my willingness to see what is in front of me, love the people close to me, and to remember that every challenge is an invitation and opportunity to step more fully into myself, to grow bigger, to love better, to cherish this thing called "Life." And so it is and so shall be from here on out.