Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sand and sea

I wore skinny jeans -- fashionably fitted, tight from hip to ankle, and utterly impractical as beachwear. But I wouldn't let a silly thing like practicality keep me from doing what I wanted to do, so I set to work, determined to roll the cuffs of these damned jeans up as far as they would go without cutting off the blood supply to my feet.

I succeeded marginally with the cuffing venture, then removed my shoes, stuffed them unceremoniously in my purse, and trekked, barefoot and bare-calved, toward the ocean. The sand was blistering hot, but the breeze was almost chilling. The combination gave me goosebumps.

As I neared the water, I broke into the best sprint I could muster ... which was mostly just a slight lengthening of stride and an extra bounce. The wet sand was cooler and easier to walk on. I slowed my steps, sinking into the impressionable surface as I walked, looking back at my footprints. I wanted to think of something profound, an epigram of sorts, to commemorate this walk, but everything I thought of was profoundly lame and cheesy, so I gave up.

I made my way to a spot the crowds hadn't claimed, near where the waves lapped up against the legs of the pier. There I stopped and stood and gazed and let the foamy water swirl around my ankles, and then my calves. The tide was coming in. My cuffed jeans were soon wet all the way up to the knees. The careful hem-rolling hadn't done any good at all. But I didn't really care.

A wave slipped back from the shore and left the sand soaked and smooth. I picked up a feather from the dry ground behind me and stooped down to absent-mindedly draw shapes in the sand. But as soon as my primitive artwork was complete, or nearly so, another wave snuck up on me and erased it.

This gave me an idea. There was a reason I was here. I just hadn't known the 'why' until now.

In the wet sand, I began writing words -- phrases -- thoughts.

"I'm letting go of the past," I wrote. And the ocean erased it.

"I forgive you for the pain you caused me," I wrote. And another wave smoothed it over.

"Fear, doubt, hurt, bitterness, hate, anger, jealousy," I wrote. And the water washed them all away at once.

I crouched alone with soaked jeans and an improvised quill pen, spilling years of deceit and petty dramas onto the sand, watching as each negative thought was erased and a blank slate left in its place. A fresh start. Yes, that's what I came here for.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Forget regret, or life is yours to miss

Three years isn't a long time in the grand scheme of things. But it's been long enough for me to do a lot of thinking and realizing and growing and becoming.

I realized who loved me for me and I realized who loved me for what they thought I was or what they wanted me to be. I realized that there were people in my life who wanted to change me, and there were people in my life who wanted to help me.

I'm still learning how to communicate in a mature, adult way. And I'm still learning a lot about honesty. And trust. And vulnerability. And truth.

I've made plenty of mistakes in the past three years... some that went by relatively unnoticed by the general population, and some that changed the course of people's lives (including mine) forever. I've made life choices that strengthened bonds and friendships, choices that reflected love and caring. And I've made life choices that broke hearts and destroyed relationships, some irreparably. I've made a couple emotionally-charged choices, and I've made a lot of painstakingly contemplated choices. I've done the right thing a few times and I've done the wrong thing a few times, and sometimes I couldn't tell the difference between the two, but I did what I felt had to be done.

And everything that is done is done. Every choice I've made has brought me to where and who I am today. And I don't regret it. Regret is for people who don't believe in learning from their mistakes. I don't deny that I've made mistakes... and big ones, on occasion. But to regret those choices would be to regret the very things that make me the person I am.

Over the past year, I've made several conscious decisions to move on with my life and to not let the past determine the future. I am stronger now than I've ever been, and I know myself better than I ever have. I'm in a good place in my life right now, mentally and emotionally. I'm stable and happy. And should circumstances change, for better or worse, I know I can still be stable and happy.

Despite the mistakes I've made (or probably because of them) I am a better person today than I was three years ago. I know more about love (real love) and I understand people better. And I'm still moving on. And I'm still choosing, every day, to move forward, to continue becoming the person I want to be... not who someone else wants me to be.

And to those who have loved me the same, through it all... thank you. You are the sunshine of my life, and I love you.