One of the the things on my bucket list is to do a vision quest one of these days. Just sit in the wilderness for a few days and be totally alone. Preferably somewhere in the west, my internship at the government facilities in the Columbia basin cemented my love of that area. In the morning even at 7:30 am, you could smell the sagebrush starting to roast in the sun, and all the white pickup trucks had fire gear in the back because if you went off-roading, you could easily start a fire.
I was renting a room from a woman who had two teenage kids and because they lived there, were totally oblivious to the immense beauty around them. She took great pleasure in driving me all over the place, we hiked Mt. Rainier and visited upper Idaho which is full of mountainous plateaus, and at night it was blacker than black with a silence that settled in your soul. Growing up in Connecticut, where the night sky always had a faint orange-brown cast at the base of the horizon, I had never seen blackness on that level.
Just as being comfortable with your body can take time, it can time to be comfortable being alone with who you really are. I know people who would never want to be that alone even for a few days, without technology, without any distractions, because there is a fear that something will come up from inside you that you don’t want to see, don’t want to sit with. Judgements, fears, old pains, loneliness, mortality. I’m not perfect with it either, there are plenty of times when I just want to be with people.
In my teens, I was so, so unhappy. Sometimes I wish I could go back and give myself a hug and tell myself it gets better. While other girls I guess were fantasizing about their weddings, I was fantasizing about my funeral–because part of me did not think I would ever make past my 20s. I read a ton of fantasy to run away into and wrote a ton of really bad poetry. But then college happened and that was the beginning of a new life. A new place, no one knew me, so I could be anyone I wanted to be and I met people that somehow saw something good in me. I grew into the reflection I saw in their eyes.
But the one good thing about obsessing about death for you know, a decade or so, is that it gives such perspective. Many days I am just happy for no particular reason because that self-hatred has largely disappeared. I got over myself. I got over thinking my problems were insurmountable. I got over thinking my individual life has great impact–which sounds depressing, but it’s not meant to be. So if years ago, before I was born, I was soul deciding to jump into the Disneyland that we call mortal life, why am I here? I don’t quite know that yet, just that I feel like I am one little blood corpuscle and I need to find my tribe of other corpuscles and together we’ll do something great.
Meanwhile, all this other stuff needs to be taken with a grain of salt. I do think life has meaning, but it’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s okay to not quite know what you’re doing, and mess up sometimes. It’s okay to get into relationships and not know what the end game is, even if it means that your heart gets hurt. It’s okay to try new adventures and not know the outcome, because baby, we’re all going to die anyway.
I wrote this post while listening to Abendtrost (Solace of Night) written by a friend of mine. You should check it out.