For so long, I have been everything to everyone.
To. Every. One.
Always defined by my relationship to those around me—
I hated the cliché I had become—
Reaching midlife and realizing I had disappeared.
So busy doing what others needed me to do,
Being what others needed me to be.
Having forgotten myself along the way—
Forgotten the lover,
Forgotten the passion,
Forgotten the writer.
Forgotten what makes me tick—
What makes me smile.
What makes me laugh.
What makes me exhale.
Allowing others to label me as they saw me—
“Just” a stay-at-home mom.
Instead of standing up for who I was—
A little bit wild,
With strong opinions,
Big dreams that won’t fit into a box,
And the unbearable urge to become wilder and stronger still.
Like that girl—
That girl who asked her confused parents
If she could go to a boarding school,
Knowing in her heart that it was right for her
Even at the tender age of 13.
That independent spirit
Who ditched her safe ad agency job
Less than a year out of college,
Bought a one-way ticket across the country
And never looked back.
That brave young woman
Who went into her own version of the wild
In the Colorado mountains
And created her own adventures.
She was badass.
She was brave.
She was my hero.
A few years ago, the universe decided to help me remember that girl—
By shaking things up a little
With people who helped me remember
And events that I still can’t forget,
That launched me straight into the heart of the cliché.
A midlife crisis? For sure.
A spiritual awakening? Perhaps.
Dark Night of the Soul? Undoubtedly.
All leading to One. Hot. Mess.
And leading me back to me.
And when I started to remember her
I felt returned,
Returned to my Self,
Returned to me.
Like, I can breathe again.
Like, I don’t want to settle—
Settle for less than being fully awake:
For work that doesn’t light me up,
For people who don’t lift me up,
For the unconscious life I was living,
For anything at all.
I don’t want to stop feeling alive anymore.
I don’t want to forget again.
I want everything to stay in bright technicolor.
Like I used to feel,
Once upon a time.
Free. (Yes, I know I already said it.)
It was lovely feeling that way again,
Like my old Self,
Remembering who I was,
Who I had forgotten
Who I am. (Hello, Soul.)
Now I feel myself slipping away again
And it scares me.
Oh, does it scare me.
It scares me because I don’t want her to go away again.
I don’t want to lose her.
I don’t want her to get swallowed up again—
By an unconscious life,
By the busyness of obligations,
By that box that I’ve tried to squish myself back into,
By the expectations everyone else has of me—
Of all of us.
I’m scared to lose me again, in the middle of life.
A life that I created
Heartbeat by heartbeat,
Teardrop by teardrop,
A life that I still want…
And in the next moment,
A life I’m not sure I want at all.
It engulfed me wholly before
And I’m afraid that it might again.
And in this moment, all I can do is pray,
Ask for help,
And signs for the right next step.
Before I lose my grip on my own soul,
I close my eyes,
I get quiet
And I know,
Then I take a deep breath—
Author: Christy Williams
Image: Grand Budapest Hotel
Editor: Travis May