Uncomfortably authentic. It’s how I find myself each day. I set out rubbing up against the thorns, vines, and overgrown brush on the path that is my life, trying to reach deep, to get home, to my authentic self.
As I venture out each day, I find my center and try to stay in the moment. It seems easy. At the start, I can remember the way, while appreciating the tiny purple flowers, nature’s jewelry, that line my path. I effortlessly move along.
But then, sometimes, I lose my compass in the thick, traumatic kudzu as it works to choke out life. I spend too much time tangled up there, forgetting that I can rely on the sun, moon, and wind to get where I need to go. Remembering that navigation need not come from anything more, I free myself. Then, back on my path, I move on.
I find my balance walking on that narrow beam over the rushing river that flows between my past and present. I could easily fall into that river of what could have been and get carried away. More than once, it pulled me so far downstream that I spent a good long while trying to find my way back. Frail and on the brink of giving up, I barely recognized my path. But then, something about it felt natural and good. I trusted my instincts and continued moving forward. Knowing that it will all work out if I just keep trying. I move on.
I get near the dark, covered place that once was my home, the home I feared. I find it desperately compelling and nervously look over. It seems to tug on me. Days when I’m strong, I’ll walk up to it and look in. I never can quite see what’s inside. Whatever it is, I scares me. I tell myself that, over time, I’ve become less drawn to shadowy places. I get back on my path. I move on.
It can be a lonely journey, but, invariably, the clouds give way to bright sunshine. I welcome those moments of clarity. Today, as the sun peeks out, I see a red fox in the distance. Is she looking back at me? She’s beautiful. Proud. She’s fully aware of what I don’t yet know. Unafraid of her, I keep walking on my path. I move on.
The forest closes behind me. All things known and unknown, that entangled me, I leave behind. I can just stay on this path, this sure one, and move forward, move on.
I’ve made it home just as the sun starts to go down. The screen door closes behind me, I stand here looking out. I breathe in the sweet, sticky air. Do I reflect on the day? No. I’m just thankful to be here, now, to feel tired, worn, while knowing I’ve made it home. In my bed, uncomfortably authentic, I’ll sleep well tonight.