In the 336 days that I have been unbuckled from the straight jacket of corporate constraint, I have learned the form I shoved myself into with unopened eyes was untenable, unsustainable, and uncomfortable. Today, I have the privilege of deciding how loud I live, how deep I rest, and how much I give to the world that extends beyond the footprint I occupy. I earned this privilege, this passage, this time from the self that got me here alive, though with a tenuous hold.
To the self who survived those 20 hour days for days on end, the self who accepted no choice but to keep pushing, the self who thought she needed that job for at least five more years after nearly 23 of time served, I’m grateful that you found a new choice, a new path, and a new direction. It’s to you that I make these promises.
I’m breaking up with the habit of working first. I’m breaking up with the habit of ignoring my needs to move, to stretch, to live in a fully breathed body. I’m breaking up with the habit of thinking that my value is derived from output for anything other than what I passionately believe in, love, and aspire to be. And I’m breaking up with the habit of living so tired that I’m numb to the edges of life. It’s on those edges that I have been afraid to stray. I learned to walk the center of the corridor, low and quite quiet, cloaked in the camouflage of collected criticisms that I once mistook for my character.
It’s on those edges that I found the thrill of the cut, the joy of the leap, and the rush of building my wings while learning to fly. I dance there now, holding hands with the self who got me here. Her courage led me to the ledge. Her empathy turned inward compelled my feet to that next step.
I’m feeling again, feeding myself again, finding nourishment in the riches of words and the friction of dirt under my bare feet again. I consciously create a new life every day, sending myself to my room to read, to write, to live lives in my mind as they spill out onto the page. My world is what I make of it. I am grateful to her for leading me here.
photo credit: Matthew Henry, Unsplash.com