Monday, May 21, 2007
A journey of a thousand miles....
Begins with a single step.
"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with others; and along those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects." -Herman Melville
It's funny who occasions, events in life, people in life, can make you appreciate it all the more.
I can say this quite honestly from the position of someone who has had times when it didn't seem life was worth living. I've battled with depression since I was nearly 13. And often, with depression, comes the tendency to not care anymore. If something happened and you happened to die as a result of you, you could care less. I hate to admit that I've been there, too scared to tell anyone what turmoil was going through my mind and that I needed help. For all my potential, my family, my friends, I couldn't anything that seemed worth living for. And at 16, I'm not ashamed to admit to that, though I wish I didn't have to.
But all these years one thing has kept me going, one vision of something that was to happen, some day: Reese. When I wanted nothing more than to die, I thought of her. What would become of her if I did something that foolish? If we were even able to proceed with the adoption, how would she feel knowing that?
And quite obviously, I lived on.
Over the last year, since we first we told she was ours, this little picture became something of a lifeline. When things were completely horrible in my mind (whether they actually were or not can be argued), when nothing seemed to be working for me, I would lose myself in those gorgeous brown eyes. And I would remember why life was worth living.
It's been years since I lived for myself, considered my life only my own, and didn't think of anyone in the respect of how feelings would hurt them. Today, I live for myself, but I live for myself so that Reese may grow up knowing that you have to. What everybody else wants can't be what guides you, you have to follow your heart. When the adoptive community speaks of the "red thread", I think of my lifeline. That red thread was much of a connection to Reese for me as it was a bungee cord when you're falling at top speed. It's the only thing that will stop you before you smatter your brains on the pavement, to be blunt.
Here I am, a little over 2 days away from making what I am sure will be the ultimate trip of my life. In a week, I'll have Reese in my arms. Leaving Arkansas this time, I'm leaving this me that I've known for so long behind and walking into a newer, better me. One that's looked up to, albeit not immediately, I'm sure, one that has someone of their own to care for, to love unconditionally as sisters' should.
Despite everything people say about me, I'm not ashamed of who I am, what I look like, what I wear, what I choose to believe, who I am as a person. And to everyone who seems to think I am less than what I should be, maybe I am. But that's just because I'm walking a path to what I will be. I'm quite proud of who I am right now. I know I can be more, but that takes time. And from next Monday on, that path will be walked with a small, tanner than my own, hand resting in mine, a gorgeous little face smiling up at me when I feel like I can't walk down that path anymore, can't get up again from stumbling over that stone in the way. And I truly hope that she learns something from walking my path with me. One day, she'll diverge and create her own path. And when she does, I'll let her go. Just like myself, her path has to be her's. It can't be mine. But there is such a comfort in knowing that, even if it's just for a short while, I can lead her. If I can only teach her one thing, I want it to be that you have to be you, no matter what. As long as you are comfortable with you, that's all that matters, because no one can take that from you. It took me 13 or more years to realize this and I would love it if I could pick her up over those stones in her path and just let her keep going.
I can look back and see such differences in myself from when I was 13, 14, just a year ago at 15, to now where I am at 16. I'm particularly proud of the progress I've made in the last year with myself and being comfortable with me, as I am.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...you just have to ask yourself if you're willing to put that foot outside of the comfort you're in, into something bigger, better.
This post was inspired by the post I've found where strength comes from (or something like that) on Hiking Through Life With Ian and LiLi.