Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shoes

(For Emily...)

There comes a time that you discover the power of your own shoes. That's right. Just like Dorothy. You have the power to do whatever you want to do and be whoever you want to be and go wherever you want to go, right where you stand.

I won't say that I'm the Queen of Reinventing Myself, but there's definitely a warm room in the castle for me.

Twenty four years ago I left the town I'd grown up in and moved to Maryland. I thought I was moving just for a new job opportunity and to "get the Hell out of Dodge" as they say. Granted, that was true, but unconsciously I was on a mission to reinvent myself. I wanted to be where nobody knew my name. The problem was, I was still too naïve to know that I could reinvent myself. I pretty much stayed who I was and simply changed locations. Even so, doing at least that much moved me forward, pointed me in the direction of answers for which I didn't yet have questions. Mmmhmm... call me Dorothy.

Being in a place where I was alone and away from former influences did work a certain charm. It gave me a lot of time to think and stuff started to surface. Stuff that was much too much for me to handle at the time. It found outlets though in poetry, music, and I even dabbled with a couple of paintings (one of which was pretty damned good, if'n I do say so). It scared me. It scared me shitless to feel that surge, to read a poem the next morning that I had barely any knowledge of writing the night before. It was overload for a girl who'd been taught to stay inside the lines.

So, I squelched it and went with safe.

And I got mired. Big time. I found myself in a very dull marriage to a very unimaginative person that left me thinking, even on a good day, "What the hell have I done?!" Then a dear friend of mine died, and watching her battle every day just to be taught me volumes about what was important. I started to be the person I'd been pushing into a neat little box for so long. There were not a few people who couldn't handle that (especially my ex), and others who just didn't like it. The lack of any real validation left me... lonely.

At the same time, I felt pulled in the direction of the Pacific NW. Maryland had never felt like home, and I knew going back to Michigan would be a little bit of death for me. I moved West. I settled into a life that, while not completely fulfilling, at least seemed... more right. Once again, nobody knew me, my past, or who I'd been. This time I recognized it for the opportunity that it was. I blossomed, at least a little.

Nine years later, when my mate John died, I thought about the promises I had made to him. Promises to live well, and to be a woman of honor, and to find love again. Harsh promises, all three. I knew that living up to those promises would involve huge change and brand new paradigms. I contemplated moving - thought about Arizona, or New Mexico - someplace completely different. Every time I'd really consider it though, that old Confucius saw always came back to me, "No matter where you go, there you are."

Besides, I love it here. It's home.

Again, like Dorothy, I came to the realization that I didn't need to go looking any further than my own backyard for my dreams. I looked down at my shoes and decided it was time to stand. Right where I was. I knew huge change was coming. I felt it. It was a low, steady thrum in me that put me in mind of a power generator warming up to full capacity. I knew that eventually it was going to send shock waves all over the place. I knew there would be people who wouldn't like the changes. I knew there would be people who wouldn't understand at all. I knew there would be people who would do and say everything possible to "protect" me from myself.

But I also knew that it was time to stand right where I was, in my own shoes, and harness my own power. I had to do it for my own sake, and for the sake of three promises I made to a dying man. It was time for me to be. My honest feeling at the time was, "If they can't handle it, fuck 'em." I stand by that decision.

It worked. It wasn't magic. It was gruelling. But it worked.

The right people started populating my life. The right opportunities started happening. The right love showed up. But mostly, twenty four years later, that girl finally found some fearlessness and some boldness and a certain je ne sais quois when it comes to unleashing her creative side.

And now?

I've never felt so free. I'm right where I want to be. I'm doing what I love to do.

These shoes are damned comfortable.

I know they'll take me anywhere.

1 comment:

  1. Barb!

    another beautiful revelation of your journey. Thank you. Isn't it fascinating to have life lose its shiny fairy-tale wrapper and then discover the meaning of be-ing. Learning contentment, learning (re-learning) passion for the journey...

    here's to the expedition!

    Jacob

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