The beach was beautiful, as it always is. And it was great to see my family, as it always is. But this year was different. I guess it's because I'm different. I think it changed the dynamic of our interactions.
I think the biggest change in me has to do with fearlessness. Okay, if I'm honest, I do have fears. But sitting here they elude me. But these fears small in comparison to those I used to have. I used to be afraid to be myself. Those who know me might find it difficult to believe, because no one knew. I never admitted it out loud. I just kept the monsters at bay. Mostly, I was afraid to speak. I was afraid to say what was on my mind. I was afraid to push any boundary that might make someone uncomfortable.
I talked to my friend Kathy, and she said she never saw this in me. And I have to admit there were a few people who gave me the space to be myself. There was a sense that no matter what I said or did, they would accept me. And with these people I was authentic. Mostly, these people were non-threatening personally. I had nothing to lose by being myself. But when it came to my family, my kids, my marriage...I was careful, always waiting to be "found out." I was afraid they might find out that I was not the best daughter...the best wife...the best mother. They would discover that for all my wisdom, I didn't have all the answers. In fact, it was easy to give advice to others. After careful research, I could tell them what herb to take for what ailment, how to fix their love life, how to craft a story, how to talk to their kids, and how to build a balanced layout. But when it came to my own stuff, I was very careful. It was hard to make decisions because they might be wrong. And so I did nothing. And after awhile, I found myself a spectator in life. I found that I would dream about adventure, about love, about life, and I would write about it. But the reality was...I was not living my life.
And then, one day I stopped sleepwalking and decided that I wanted to participate in life. To be an adventurer on the road. And I realized I don't have to please everyone...in fact...it was impossible. And so then it became important to please me.
Some people say I'm crazy for moving to Sioux Falls. But I know it was the sanest thing I've done in years. It's sane because it's what I wanted. I followed my own truth. I became a participant. Taking a risk, I found that there were no scraped knees and no bruises. It wasn't scary at all. It was right.
Last night I sat on a rocky river bank and thought about the fact that I spent years not swimming in lakes or rivers because I couldn't see the bottom. The unknown scared the hell out of me. My soul longed to plunge in. My friends were already in the water...finding rocks big enough to stand on. And I wavered. And then I thought about the fact that I had watched fearless people all of my life - participants, and I wanted to be one of them. So I took a deep breath and walked in, slowly at first. The water was warm and clean and beautiful. I was surrounded with walls of rock that rose from the water and towered above me. Soon I was swimming where I couldn't touch bottom, and I felt alive...really alive.
Living is good.