I have been waiting to see Wild, the movie adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s best selling memoir. I have been waiting for months. I got to see it on Saturday. I knew it was going to be incredible. I still love the book more, but the movie portrayed every word, every feeling, every tragic and triumphant moment in Strayed’s life with accuracy and grace. Reese Witherspoon was brilliant.
But I walked out of the theater feeling something I didn’t see coming.
Because I’m still waiting for the ball to drop, every second of every minute of every hour of every day until weeks pass… then months… then years. I feel stranded on a island shaped like a plateau. I can’t go up and I can’t go down. I can’t go anywhere. I’m just stuck. I’m waiting for my AHA! moment, wishing it would whack me upside the head like a frying pan square to the face.
In the past, I thought slipping down into the rock bottom abyss was the worst it could get. Wrong. Not for me. It’s the standing still that kills. I know I don’t want to go back but I don’t know how to move forward. Watching Wild reminded me of the day I finished Strayed’s memoir for the first time. Back then, it gave me hope. Hope that I too could have a life altering experience that would propel me into the future, leaving all the dirt and the hate behind me.
I’m fucking pissed at myself and I have every right to be.
I’m not saying that I or anyone else needs to follow in Strayed’s footsteps and walk the PCT to find herself/himself and to find forgiveness. Not everyone has to spend months alone in the wilderness to come to terms with their life, their past, their mistakes, and their grief. But it is pretty bad ass isn’t it? Her story isn’t meant to make people feel small or incomparable. It’s meant to show what it took for her to heal in her own way. It was something she needed to do. And just the simple fact that it’s possible, provides hope for those still looking to get there.
I’m still looking to get there. I’m still trying to find my “Wild” experience.
But in order to do that, I have to let go.
So I’m on stranded this plateau. There are no valleys. There are no mountains. Okay. So what? Plateaus have edges. And it’s time to step to the edge, fling my arms out to my sides and dive off.
It’s the fear of flying without a security net. It’s the fear of substantial change. It’s the fear that the impossible can never be possible. That’s why so many people stay exactly where they are: in a job that they loathe, in relationships that lack love, support and communication, in a town that murders their soul, in miserable company of so-called friends, in a life that’s not really lived.
I’m sad because right now I am a coward.
I’m sad because I keep making excuses.
I’m sad because I identify with that girl who hiked her way back to life in 1995.
I was 10 years old then.
I’m sad because I know I have the strength in me. We all do. The lingering question is what am I waiting for? The frying pan to the face? Time stops for no one unless you’re dead. I’m not dead, but I might as well be.
People have the ability to accomplish amazing things. I want to be one of those people. As long as it’s amazing to me, I honestly don’t give a fuck what other people think. It took Strayed hiking the PCT. Maybe for me it’s something as small as taking the time to write every single day because it’s what I love most. Maybe it’s honing in my photography skills. Maybe it’s morphing both from separate hobbies to a profession. Maybe it’s moving clear across the country. Maybe it’s quitting my job and spending a year traveling. Whatever it is, at least I’m doing SOMETHING. A baby step or a giant leap, at least I’d be moving forward.
My mind makes up for what my body fails to do. It’s racing miles a minute.
It gushes philosophical questions that make my brain swell. Universe shit.
Who am I? How do I do this? When and What? Fuck.
These questions drown my heart.
I better get myself a tourniquet.
Tie it right, tie it tight.
Stop the bleeding.