A few years ago, at Christmas, my sister handed me an envelop and said that she was cleaning out some boxes and came across several letters that I had written to her when she was in college. She thought that I might like to read them and said to throw them away when I was done. It was Christmas and when I got home I stuck them in a drawer and forgot about them. As I was packing to move last year, I came across them and sat down to read them.
My sister said that it had taken her back to hear my young self talking about high school and how different I was now. As I started reading I was struck by how I haven’t changed. Or rather how I’ve regained myself. Oh the subject matter was different but the passion and joy, my spirit was there to be seen. Then, as now, I was alive on the pages of the letter. I could hear myself, see myself, and know that it was me in the truest sense.
Then as now, yes, but in between it wasn’t so. For many years that person was lost, buried, hiding from another’s scorn. Every now and again she would come forth only to be hounded back to her hiding place; safe within. And then the day came that I was faced with the choice of spiritual suicide or fighting back. I choose to let myself out and live with the consequences of that choice. The shell that I had become was dry and brittle and on the verge of breaking. It was time to infuse it with life and vitality.
It didn’t happen over night. There were many times that I wondered if I had made the right choice. When you live in the dark for so long, even a dim light is painful. There were many time I ducked back into that safe place and had to coax myself out into the light of day. I had to learn to take it a few steps at a time; shading my eyes, blinking until they adjusted. Hurts, joys, mistakes, good decisions; I embraced them all and then put them aside as I moved forward.
As I read the letters I realized that I was successful in regaining myself. Ah, but there is so much more to accomplish. The journey goes on.