My last post was pretty intense and inspired MOUNTAINS of emails from friends and strangers all over the world. I am touched by the response and so honored to know that my words helped so many. This is what we do folks, we put our truths out there and find our tribe – you are never alone. Someone, somewhere has felt what you are feeling and the more we share the more we see our connectedness. It’s a beautiful thing.
This post is a little ‘less’ than the last.
My daughters and I began 2018 with an adventure. A journey south for a family event and then a loop through New Orleans and Memphis and home again (jiggity jog). I really enjoy road trips, but didn’t do them until this past year after I quit smoking. Smokers don’t do road trips well unless they can smoke in the car and I just don’t smoke in the car with the kids … so no road trips – until now.
Vacations and adventures are all well and good, but for me there was more to it than seeing new sights and visiting family. It was all about bravery. See, it’s winter here in Indiana and that means snow and ice. Our ‘launch’ was postponed due to a winter storm. After departure, I worked my way through road conditions in Kentucky and Tennessee that I hadn’t anticipated, and apparently the highway crews hadn’t either. In Mississippi we met interstate ice, saw cars spin around and hit concrete barriers, 18 wheelers swaying from lane to lane like frat boys on a pub crawl… it was scary and I did it.
I drove into the French Quarter and figured out how to park and navigate streets filled with performers, tourists and the almost charming homeless population … it was scary and I did it.
I can hear folks now “Lady, you are 42 years old – you really going to toot your own horn over a road trip?” Oh hell yes. I did it without a partner to help me, without a husband to call at the end of each day to tell my woes to. I did it with the awareness that my children and I were completely on our own. No man with us to offer security. I did it.
I gave my children their first glimpse of the ocean … and I did it on my own. Their lives don’t have to be smaller because of the divorce. They can be bigger if I’m willing to do the work and face the fears that come with that endeavor, and it appears that I am.
I returned from our trip feeling empowered and a bit overwhelmed, it took me a few days to recuperate and re-acclimate. I felt the momentum of the journey long after we returned home. I felt empowered, as though my life were moving at the speed of the adventure. I felt strong.
It didn’t last forever. I have had my moments of feeling lost and depressed and oh so lonely since we got home, but now I have a reservoir of power to tap into. It’s hard to beat yourself up for being worthless when you remember the exclamations of delight as your kids pick up shells and chase seagulls. It’s difficult to hold on to feeling discarded when you remember the thrill of Bourbon Street and your girls tipping the buskers.
So my adventure continues to bolster me into the future and into the next adventure this summer. My girls are watching me, they see how I cry and how I persevere. They see this strength and this determination not to just shrivel up and float away. They see that they are worth whatever effort it takes to ensure their lives are big and beautiful. Slowly I begin to see that I am worth it too.