If only I could live my life like the trees. Methodically dedicating time to shedding the dead things. It’s so easy for all of us to carry our pain and hold it close. It’s so easy and sometimes frighteningly unconscious to live in the past. It’s so easy to lose sight of what really matters because you feel like the emotional walking wounded. I want to be like the trees and shed all of it. I want to shed the shroud I’ve kept around myself because I’m overweight, adopted, lived with an alcoholic, lost my brother and my father, helped nurse my mother through cancer, began drinking more and more steadily over the last 10 years, found my birth parents and then immediately lost them again. I want to shed all these hurts and fucking live again. That’s what I want to do. I’m scared of it too.
I came clean about my drinking with my therapist and she urged me to think of a place that I could go to in my head. A place that I could picture and eventually access whenever I need to fill myself with something. She urged me to think of a place that would soothe, comfort and hopefully help me heal. She gave me a homework assignment to write about it. So, here’s what I came up with —
‘She stands alone on the waters’ edge. The sand beneath her bare feet is hard packed and soft. The body of water laid out in front of her, is as peaceful as freshly fallen snow. The forest behind her, is thick and full of life. There is a slow, easy breeze playfully pulling at the tendrils of her hair. It tickles her neck in a pleasant way. She inhales deeply, gazing across the calm water to the opposite shore. The trees on that side are not quite as thick as the ones at her back. There is a shady meadow on the far side of the pond. There is a weeping willow in the far corner, her favorite tree. There is an old, crumbling rock wall along the left side with all manner of flowers blooming along it. Hydrangeas, roses, pansys, tulips. The flowers remind her of the garden in Alice in Wonderland. It possesses a loveliness that evokes a longing in her heart. She can see woodland creatures moving through the grass in the clearing. The quiet of that place gives birth to a yearning she has never known.
The wind shifts direction, she closes her eyes, inhales again. She is very conscience of her body. Her feet are planted firmly on the ground as her lungs fill with pure, clean air. She lifts her arms out in front of her, palms up, as if in offering. The breeze blesses her skin with its touch and she smiles. Eyes still closed she can hear the animals around her, frolicking and living. Happy in their natural habitat. She can smell the flowers in the meadow across the pond as the breeze moves yet again. Wonderful. A soothing scent from her childhood. Again, the image of Alice stumbling into the unknown crosses her mind. She has felt so like Alice all these years. Lost and unsure, yet confident in her ability to find her way. She opens her eyes to notice a different texture to the day. The time of day is late, she can tell by the way the light slants through the clouds and vegetation. There is power in that light. It brings the end of the day, the stopping of activity, of responsibility. The light begs for rest, for the need to slow down and appreciate. This light, this gloaming, is everything about life that she loves. The quiet. The simplicity. The availability of beauty. It is her.’
I use ‘she’ and ‘her’ because I’m just barely putting my toes into the waters of recovery at this moment. It didn’t feel right, at least not yet, to use ‘I’ and ‘me’. I feel like I am watching the woman, waiting to see what she will do next. I’m very, very curious about what her next move will be. Will she stand at the waters’ edge forever? Or will she dive head first and swim to the other side?
Time’s going to tell…I’m hoping for the latter.
Again, thank you for reading…