When I was in junior high and high school, one of the ways I got through the changes I was going through was to write poems. This was one of my favorites:
I’m trapped, lost in a labyrinth of tunnels, leading only to a dead end.
The words have been chosen well, lost in a dead end is exactly where I am.
Nothing is right, everything is chaos. I let my heart lead me and here I am.
A battle is taking place now between my heart and mind as to which turn to take.
I’ve never felt so lonely, lelt so desolate and terrified all at the same time.
And time, it moves with the amazing speed of an Alaskan winter night.
I hear a voice say, “If you believe, you will find a way.”
I was once a believer, I believed in words spoken as truths and actions proving them false.
I believed I’d have someone beside me to guide me through this maze.
Come to find out they never even entered with me. I walked in alone.
Along and blind with no light to guide me on my journey into my own personal hell.
“Follow the thoughts in your mind now” the voice urges desperately.
“Your heart is broken and it can not be trusted to lead you in the right direction”
Now that’s a funny word trust, something I’ve been asked to do my entire life.
Look where it got me, trust, trust and love, led me to where I am today, lost.
“Where are you?” My mind asks of me as if I, the one it resides within has the answer.
My heart heaves with the weight it carries not knowing how to keep going.
“Pull yourself together, you know your heart will mend itself.
You are strong and you’ve actually been down this path before.
You can find your way back.” I sigh and ask, “Back to where?”
“Back to you!”
I wrote this back in high school, freshman year. I had dealt with some of the same things most teens deal with: divorced parents, moving to a new town and school, bullying, consequences of bad choices, heartbreak from crushes, struggling to fit in, faking it to make it and a bit more. Trouble was I spent too much time faking it. I got lost in that labyrinth.
Flowing Like a River
Most people wouldn’t think I was lost when they looked at me or spent time with me. My life seems as if it were like a river. It began as a tiny stream, leading to a babbling brook (pre-teen/teen years, haha). A few times, a threat of drying up arose in moments such as what led to writing the passage above. Quickly though, the water was restored. Soon my brook led to a river. It was calm at the moments I was content and all around satisfied, flowing smoothly, undeterred. Others, it raged rough with rapids plowing over rocks and tackling anything in its path during the periods of my life that were in upheaval, tumultuous at every turn.
As with any river, large rocks or obstacles appeared. Sometimes, as the water ran along, it would hit a rock, rush back a bit and take on a new course, knowing innately the ideal path. However, sometimes, it would continue to smack up against that same obstacle over and over before eventually, finally, drained and with a little less vigor, change direction but without real focus or intent.
Along the river’s rout, it takes on fish and other water life with it (friends and family). These beings enhance the river’s energy and purpose. It also picks up twigs, debris, garbage, etc., all which slows the river down, clogging it.
The water meandered and flowed. Recently it came to a divide. Which way to flow? One path leads to nowhere, in fact it swirls around, becomes stagnant and possibly even dries up. The other direction continues on to its delta or very meaning for being, where it becomes one with a large body of water.
I’ve experienced moments where the river reached a dam. It seemed as if this wall could not be penetrated. The water of the river bounced back like it did off the rock previously and remained in the abyss. The river waited, at times patient, sometimes not so much, hoping the dam would weaken and it could break through. Then it would continue, flowing on its course.
The path I’ve chosen has lead me in many different directions. My mother refers me to the poem, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. The end in particular I need to remind myself of repeatedly:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Yes, I’ve taken a twisting and turning, unconventional approach to my career, family, education, spirituality, parenting and more. Yes, some people might think I could have done things differently or perhaps even now think this. Yes, some don’t even feel like I’m doing the “right” thing. I’m learning I have to return to me. When I listen to me rather than all the many, many well intentioned and not so well intentioned voices, it makes all the difference.