Sixteen years ago today, I didn’t die. But contrary to all appearances, I also didn’t live.
Years have passed me in a blur of fear and sabotage, of locking myself away, withholding emotion and courage, staring down a world that has waited for me to emerge fully, only to continue to wait.
Children have grown and wounds have healed, but in most ways, life has stood still, waiting.
December 7, 1997, I didn’t die. Yet, guilt sometimes eats at my heart because I didn’t stand up and truly live. Sixteen years have passed and I have felt the weight of living when someone else died, of not having done anything extraordinary, of simply breathing air and putting one foot in front of the other, moving toward old age, looking back too often and wondering what might have been.
It is not regret that keeps me awake at night, but rather sadness of things I never could change. I don’t beat myself up anymore, yet I also don’t cheer myself on in the same ways. A place of healing has also led to a parking space, uncertainty, too many choices.
In an effort to stop proving myself to the world, I also stopped challenging myself to grow, to push, to be more than I ever was before. The result is feeling again like I am existing but not living, here but not alive.
“What you need to know about the past is that no matter what has happened, it has all worked together to bring you to this very moment. And this is the moment you can choose to make everything new. Right now.” -Author Unknown
So now, here I am, in this moment, no longer the same young girl I once was but still with so much life ahead of me. I’m tired of standing still, taking tiny steps forward and even bigger steps backward. I’m tired of not believing in myself to the point of no longer challenging myself to try, to reach, to fully live. I’m ready to stop wanting, merely wanting, and instead ready to reach out and grab.
Sixteen years ago, I didn’t die, and it’s been a long time of traveling this road, but I’m ready to live, to really live.