Change. It happens every single day, every minute. Every time your eyes open from a blink, even. The subtle ones are easier, they feel comfortable, they’re smooth. You’re looking into the eyes of your baby, then you’re looking into the eyes of your child, one day into the eyes of an adult, the growth is subtle, you only see it if you look back. The bigger ones, they cause doubt, sometimes fear. You don’t need to look back to see them because they are in your face, no amount of avoidance or numb works. Sometimes they are a rush, other times they feel like free falling; the pit growing in your stomach because you aren’t sure what you’ll meet at the bottom. Feather pillows or piercing rocks, or something else, maybe there isn’t a bottom. Maybe you’ll get wings while you’re falling.
In a month, last year, my normal world changed, the big kind. What I took for granted, what I resented, what I loved and what I hated all changed. It went away. And I chose that. I fell away from my path.
Nearly a year later, it’s still scary. It’s hard. I am working toward that self-reliance I so loved from Emerson’s essay.
This year, I climbed metaphorical mountains and I got metaphorically lost and I made real mistakes and I learned real lessons. I ripped my broken heart away from its normal home and I too easily gave it away, not entirely realizing old habits don’t care about change. I keep it for myself now, for myself and my kids. All the knots in the string tied around my heart have to be undone, or just let go of, or cut.
My kids’ and my ex-husband’s lives changed too, not just mine. Despite losing a whole family and group of friends I’ve kept moving forward on my new path. My kids, holding hands and making sure to stay in front of me, just like I’ve always told them to, they’re on the path with me, giving me inspiration; sometimes still turning around for guidance, for the way. I’m happy to point it out, even happier when they can navigate it.
Early on, telling my kids the change would become the normal, until it did. Watching them adjust, watching them struggle, hearing them ache, comforting them, watching those tiny beings claim their own thoughts and adapt beautifully, sometimes awkwardly, sometimes with resistance, other times with strength, they have absolutely amazed me, they make me proud. Their resilience is inspiring. Sometimes it’s my fuel. It’s all I can do to keep going, just to keep up with them, to be there for them.
But do your thing, and I shall know you. Do your work, and you shall reinforce yourself.
All of this, this change and the path it put me on, has taken me to a place where I can finally dwell in my own mind. When I was too afraid to go there before, I seek that now.
It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.
The knots aren’t so many now, the anxiety not so strong. The fear not so dark. The depth gives me perspective. The path forward is welcoming. The desire to predict my future has nearly diminished because if the change has taught me nothing else, I am in control of myself, not anyone or anything else. And that is a very beautiful thing.
Your goodness must have some edge to it, —else it is none.