Almost 33 Years

It took me almost 33 years to determine who I am. And who I am not. That the person who I thought I was did not exist, and the person I have become is someone entirely different–with different desires, different thoughts, different actions, and different beliefs. It took me stepping outside of the boundaries I had set for myself–breaking those established barriers that kept me defined by me and boxed into the hologram of self-image–to realize that we are never limited to what we believe we are. To realize that we are adaptable, evolving creatures and that in any given circumstance, we react within our surroundings differently depending on where we are in our thoughts and lives.
I thought, for the greater portion of my life, that I needed something indefinable, and I sought it on an undeliberate path, believing that it would strike me by recognition once I hit it. I believed that I was on the trail toward my dreams, and that my happiness lay in the glitter of New York. I believed it since I was five.
I hovered through my youth, always looking either forward or looking back. I longed to be in the place I was going, yet I could never get there, being bound by the ghosts of the past. For every forward motion I could take, an invisible force pushed me two steps backward, and I wondered why getting anywhere was so difficult, so painful, so … impossible. I could only go so far forward and then I would stall. I made it as far as the city I’d believed I would live in, and it wasn’t the picture I’d imagined. Or, it was and I wasn’t. I looked around at the world I had built for myself and I saw its hollowness. I felt the shame and disappointment of failure and the realization that the dreams I’d so carefully built were only fictions–that the happiness I’d always longed for wasn’t where I thought it was–and after spending a lifetime toiling toward one ends, how could I ever know where it might be elsewhere?
It took me almost 33 years to determine who I am, and who I am not. It took me facing every fear that held me down into the perception of myself to finally stand and turn and say, “We’re going the wrong direction. This isn’t the way home.” I am less ashamed of the time that it took me to get to that point than I am proud that I ever got there at all. Every time we leap–every time we step out of what we think of as “standard, appropriate behavior” for ourselves–every time we reach out beyond our comfort zones and into the vulnerability that is letting others into our souls–we evolve. And the world we let in may blind us with strange, new light, but it renews our wonder at the world and at ourselves. It reflects back a mirror image that we never saw before, and frees us to become more than our little egos ever imagined.

Pacific Ocean

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