I'm not sure how many people have read the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed, but I stayed up last night until 2:30 am to finish it. I was simply in awe of her. Of how hard she fought to find herself. Of the fact that she worked through her journey and it made her a better person. For about five years know I have felt pretty lost. I am not sure if it was just because I lost that purpose that I had when I was in college, or if it just because you typically need your 20's to find yourself. I would bet it is probably a mix of both.
I used to love solitude, I used to be just fine with spending time alone, deep in thought praying, thinking, writing, and pondering life and what it had in store. Somewhere I lost the ability to be alone. I lost myself somehow along the way. In the hustle and bustle of transitions, new faces, new cultures, and a new me. I somehow lost the fact that it is okay not to fit in. It is okay to just be my own person. I somehow started to look around and realize that I needed to conform to the perfect "life" that everyone else had. Instead of just being content with who I was, where I was headed and what I had been through.
Some of the quotes from the book that I love the most.....
"I had diverged, digressed, wandered, and become wild. I didn't embrace the word as my new name because it defined negative aspects of my circumstances or life, but because even in my darkest days- those very days in which I was naming myself- I saw the power of the darkness. Saw that, in fact, I had strayed and that I was a stray and that from the wild places my straying had brought me, I knew things I couldn't have known before." (page 97)
"But I wasn't out here to keep myself from having to say I am not afraid. I'd come, I realized to stare that fear down, to stare everything down, really- all that I'd done to myself and all that had been done to me. I couldn't do that while tagging along with someone else."
"I was entering, I was leaving. California streamed behind me like a long silk veil. I didn't feel like a big fat idiot anymore. And I didn't feel like a hard-ass motherfucking Amazonian queen. I felt fierce and humble and gathered up inside, like I was safe in this world too."
"What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even thought I'd done something I shouldn't have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I'd done, other than it was what I wanted and needed to do? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn't do anything differently than I had done? What if I'd actually wanted to fuck every one of those men? What if heroin taught me something? What if yes was the right answer instead of no? What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn't have done was what had also gotten me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was? "
This last quote it sticks with me. I think it always will because no matter what our choices are ours alone. I make my choices and whatever outside forces cause me to make them...I am still in control of who I am...what I was in the past, and who I will be in the future. But no matter what those things that I choose they have led me here to this moment in time. I look around me and I know that this is where I need to be for right now. I can look ahead, and behind, but the here and now....that's what matters. I don't want this moment to pass me by without really breathing it in and saying who am I in this exact moment. I no longer fit into the perfect little Baptist girl mold that I used to, but I don't fit into the rebellious one either.
I'm not sure who I am...but I know that I have courage, and strength. I know that inside of me is passion for learning, for love, and for the chance to make a difference in this sometimes shitty misguided world. I know that in
the end I am safe because I am loved beyond anything I could ever imagine. I have people that will push me to be better than I am today, but will also let me lean on them if I need to. Beyond that though I have confidence in who I am. Sometimes it fails me, and sometimes I fail it, but at the end of the day I know that sometimes the right answer is yes instead of no. Sometimes failure is the answer to success, and sometimes you have to just bust on through when you know that on the other side is a bunch of crazy thorns. But you have to get some cuts and bruises in order to make it to the path that leads to the crystal clear lake you have been staring at for so long you don't even remember when you first saw it.