August 4, 2022

This Feels like Blooming—in My Own Time & in My Own Way.

Aloneness is magnified here.

It’s like putting myself under a microscope and zooming in with bright-white light, looking directly at the places that still hurt — visible cracks in the sidewalks of my heart.

It feels fluorescent and unkind. Or, is that just the harshness of my own gaze? 

I breathe, cascading the waves of inhales and exhales, feeling humid air on my sticky skin.

I am here visiting, in New Paltz, New York. My beloved Hudson Valley, where I used to live. Where I went to college. I was broken here, remade here. It was such a formative time of my life.

Layers of memory drip. Time stands still, speeds up, and bursts open — it hits me in the heart. I am drenched in feelings and nostalgia and mostly just…this thing that I don’t know how to name.

But I do know this — there is no turning back. Oh honey, not now. 

Just dig in. 

So I do.

I soften my gaze. I sit and wait. The hardest things in the world — yet, the most important components of blooming.

For once, I can’t force change to happen with impatient waves of my hands, telling growth, “C’mon, hurry the f*ck up…let’s get this show on the road!”

It doesn’t work like that.

I don’t know exactly how it works. But I know it’s wordless and thumps to a different rhythm altogether. It’s sensual and a thing of poetry and rainfall. I know it can’t be captured directly into sentences. The structure is far too limiting.

Too limiting. 

That phrase hits like flesh to bone. The right words, the right questions, they can be like keys. Opening hidden drawers and windows, as I sneak peeks into the buried places inside that are begging to be seen.

There’s so much there to unpack. At first, I just go numb. I fall prey to fatigue and these comfortable pants. The treetops whisper, but I barely hear. Their hums only audible when I close my eyes.

But then, I see so much more.

The ways I am still stuck. The ways I have grown.

It’s a slow sort of grief. It builds like a song, moments strung together on a necklace of panic and people-pleasing, one reinforcing the other.

What a limiting life it was, back then. I was so intimate with misery—I held its hands, dead roses on my fingertips.

Place can hold collections of memories. Like graveyards of the past, buried with beauty, confetti, and sharp bursts of pain.

So much has died since I was last here. I have put so much to rest. Dysfunctional relationship patterns, holding myself back, financial distress. Trauma.

Things that are still tender to the touch. Things I’m still healing.

As my gaze softens, the rain picks up, and I see definition. Clarity. Solidified in who I am now. Who I was then. The changes that were so necessary, bleeding over into beauty in my life now.

Definition is good. Vital, in fact. It provides clarity and organization. The past, the present. No longer a jumbled mess.

But the most important thing is this — this medicine woven into words — the ability to pinch time between my fingertips and see the story in a whole new light.

Make myself a new character. See things from a fresh angle. Make it right.

The narrative shifts, like an electric current felt in my entire goddamn body.

I did not f*ck things up here in New Paltz — as I had always suspected. As I worried. As shame had shapeshifted and told me a million times at night before sleep.

The truth is — sh*t happened. I reacted because I was hurt, absent from my self. I was not being nourished. And I left, suddenly. I burnt bridges that became like phoenixes; they rose up again, and I’m grateful for that.

But this singular phrase changes everything — I did not f*ck things up.

I was crumbling, and I knew it — so my instinct was to flee. To survive, and ultimately, years later, to thrive.

Compassion melts me whole.

Integration happens in these subtle moments when emotion hits, hot and raw, and we allow it to be there. And we don’t run. We allow ourselves to deepen, to be touched by life, to feel.

To feel. 

To feel. 

In this heart ripening, freedom remembers my name.

Yes. A loving embrace pulls me forward, drenched in rain and hope and the good memories that fuel me, the experiences that compounded, painful and beautiful, to make me who I am today.

A slow trickle of pride. And exhaustion. Wings spread.

And now, it’s time for rest. To make space.

It’s so vulnerable. I have an instinct to protect these buds of unfurling awareness.

Growth is such a strange thing. Not quantifiable, but deeply felt as it ripples out through time. Through me. Through organs and tissues. Through tears and fears and memories. Through pain and love and the magic that brings us close to people in the first place. And dares us to love. To lean the f*ck in and live and learn things, even if it is the hard way.

Tears spill, because they have to. It’s the only way. It’s wisdom. It’s powerful. It’s quiet. It’s raging. A desert, a thunderstorm, and a sea all at once.

In these moments that gush with undiluted emotion, I feel passion seize me once and for all. It swallows me whole. I am okay with that.

I like it.

I feel…trust whispering through my bones…for the first time in a long time. And that feels good.

It feels like blooming. In my own time. In my own way.


Please consider Boosting our authors’ articles in their first week to help them win Elephant’s Ecosystem so they can get paid and write more.


Read 3 Comments and Reply

Read 3 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Sarah Harvey  |  Contribution: 84,555

author: Sarah Harvey

Image: Oleg Ivanov/Unsplash

Editor: Lisa Erickson

Relephant Reads:

See relevant Elephant Video