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Being Lost

Being lost is a wholly different kind of sadness. You want to be out there, interacting with people, creating, doing, being, but you can’t. So you cast out your lifeline, again and again, hoping it’ll catch onto something.

Without an anchor, though, the world moves forward without you, and you remain stuck on that electric sidewalk going anywhere and everywhere else. Or nowhere at all.

Don’t get it wrong: you try to save yourself. You know that you have to do the hard work, so you tie knots in that lifeline, handholds for your eventual ascent, but without a little help, you’re just pulling that line in, again and again, until it pools in a useless heap at your feet.

You need help. You know it, and you leave frantic handprints on the glass that separates you from them. Sometimes you make enough noise. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes someone out there will hear you, see you and grab the line.

And in that moment, all that energy you’ve saved, all the effort you’ve built, all the baby steps you made on your own pay off. You reach forward, hand over hand, and you’re part of the world again.

But sometimes it goes sideways. That person you trusted lets go, because sometimes you take longer than they’re willing to wait, because they’re tired of the jerking motion when you slip on the ascent.

Sometimes you let go. You’re not ready. There are variables outside of your control, and they have to be in play for you to not fall again. You need to heal, to recover, actually instead of that edging of health, the ‘I’m well enough’, knowing full well that you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Sometimes it can’t be helped. You have bills to pay. You need a full time job to maintain the level of insurance that will keep you on the road to wellness, even if that means it takes longer to get there. Kids need new clothes, new shoes, activities, and while you know they’ll understand, it’s unfair to lay that burden on their shoulders. You’re the adult. They’re the kids.

You reprioritize. Your circle was already small and just gets smaller. You save the energy for the family. You purge the house. You try another round of treatment options. You withdraw until people pass you like the shadow you’ve become, a wisp among the weeds.

You stay lost for a while longer, because it’s easier than the questions, the misplaced pity. And in the quiet, you rediscover your passions. You refocus and seek out with careful tendrils, counting dollar bills and tightly held hopes, to regain footing again. Your lifeline becomes a necklace covered in paint and crumbs, sweat and tears, heartache and silence, but you wear it proudly.

And you find the path that’s meant for you, instead of scraping by on the one dictated as best by the whispers of those who don’t know your heart. You measure your success by your happiness, in whatever form that takes, instead of against the painful ridged edge of another’s yardstick.

Sometimes lost is best, for everyone involved.

May you find your peace.