“It was enough to trust that what I’d done was true. To understand its meaning without yet being able to say precisely what it was, like all those lines from The Dream of a Common Language that had run through my nights and days. To believe that I didn’t need to reach with my bare hands anymore. To know that seeing the fish beneath the surface of the water was enough. That it was everything. It was my life – like all lives, mysterious and irrevocable and sacred. So very close, so very present, so very belonging to me.
How wild it was, to let it be.” –Cheryl Strayed
I finished reading Wild at 35,000 feet above the Rockies; being inside the earth yet still able to gaze down upon it. There is something so calming about flying. Being able to be separate from your life for a few hours, as if your body is still on the ground and your soul is the only thing in the air. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this particular feeling; the feeling of being free.
I believe I first experienced it when I was 21-years old driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles in my little Chrysler 300M. It was the first time I really remember ever truly being alone. As I drove past the grapevine and into the city around midnight I remember being mesmerized by the endless lights. I remember the cool breeze coming from the sun roof. I remember the stars fading as I drew closer and closer to the city. I remember shutting off the radio to just take it all in. I had come so far. I was so sick and so lost and completely beaten down. But I had made it; I was free.
I don’t think I knew at the time what I needed to be freed from. In fact, I don’t think I really knew what I needed to be free from until this very moment.
Free from airplane paper napkins filled with promises unfulfilled, free from the boy with the perfected James Dean lean, free from a friend that had turned into so much more; something so necessary, yet so fleeting, free from blue curtains and yellow rubber boots and a life I never should have wanted. Free from endless days spent in bed, heart monitors and advanced directives. Free from the last year of my life in which through much struggle I have learned not only how to forgive others, but also how to forgive myself. To let myself be free.
Every step I have taken has lead me here; to this moment. To where I am supposed to be, at 35,000 feet in the air, looking down upon a life I have created. A life that is unfinished. A life I cannot wait to continue living. Because I was able to wake up today, and let it be.