A few months ago, I had a dream.
I walked into my closet only to find a version of myself standing at the end. She (or I) was wearing my favorite black turtleneck, black pants, and an oversized peacoat. She was looking straight at me with a look that I know quite fondly. It’s a look that I give to my sons whenever I see them again after they’ve been away from home, or when I see my daughter come towards me for a hug. I’m not quite sure what to call that look–all I know is that it must provide some kind of comfort because that was exactly how I felt walking towards a version of myself.
She gave me a hug, and squeezed slightly. Then she pulled away from me, both of her hands on my arms. No words. There was nothing to be said out loud.
The gesture must be how I look when I let someone or something go with encouragement, and gratefulness. There are parts of ourselves that we often have to close the chapter on, say goodbye for now, or even goodbye forever.
I believe I was saying goodbye and thank you at the same time. Perhaps, it was goodbye to a certain part of who I was, or thank you to the body who nurtured three children, and sustained and nursed many battle wounds. Wounds that every now and then, I acknowledge its existence before moving on in survival mode.
I was talking to a good friend of mine, and we were discussing how as women, as wives, as mothers, and all of these roles that we often cannot help but to always cater to those we love. It’s as if their survival is always reliant upon us–as if without our nurturing, they will wilt and fall. This very philosophy or mentally consumes part of who we are all our lives. But, the truth is, the people we love will survive and they may wilt and fall–but they will survive in their own way nonetheless. I mentioned to her that the impetus for me was the Diamond head hike a couple of years ago, where as the herd raced to the top of the dead volcano, I could not keep up and felt as though I may have lost an organ along the way. What I wanted out of that hike was to share that moment with my children and my husband. But they were too excited to get to the top that they failed to realize that it was not about getting to the top that mattered, but sharing the experience.
I realized at that moment, “wait, I was so consumed in thinking of others that I failed to also realize that I am deserving of my own experience, and if they didn’t give a fuck where I ended up on that hike, I should at least give a fuck about… ME.”
There. That only took a few decades to understand.
In that awakening moment it dawned on me what many of my fellow sisters have been preaching this entire time–we need to carve out a part of ourselves devoted and dedicated only to ourselves.
My dream ended with me looking at a version of myself who I wholeheartedly love. I walked away backwards smiling as I watched her close her eyes in peace. I slowly turned away and kept on walking. While it seemed that I was saying goodbye to who I was, I sincerely believe that I was saying thank you. Thank you to that part of myself who was the shield that buffered what could have been many more battle wounds, the gentle protector for the moments that I felt disappointed and was crying on the inside while trying to smile on the surface–without her, I wouldn’t be the person that I currently am–tackling that beast of a treadmill and the monstrous elliptical like no one’s business seven days a week.
But that’s my point: the revelation is just to be.
So, as I take another trip around the sun, I am feeling a sense of rejuvenation. We should all allow ourselves, at least one moment, to graciously give our past self a thanks, and in the same moment an affectionately intended middle finger.
I will tackle the hike at Diamond head again one day.
When that day comes, I will have a choice on where I want to be, and I’m hoping that I find someone standing right where I had once been enjoying that beautiful sunrise, and I’d look at her and say, “I got you, Sis. You got this.”