The thing is, I was a different person when I first arrived here.
It’s hard to remember that girl now.
That’s a lie.
I can remember. I can close my eyes and go back to that place. It’s just that I don’t want to.
I didn’t like the girl I was back then. Wasn’t proud of her. Couldn’t stand to be in my skin. Felt like something was missing, something was off, but wasn’t sure what. That girl was lost. She was in the thick of it. She had forgotten who she was and what she wanted. That girl was in the deep dark woods and didn’t have a map.
I told people it was a quarter-life crisis, but I don’t think they believed me. Always dramatic, I was like the girl who cried wolf. There she goes again.
And it’s true, there wasn’t anything to point to. Which is everything you really need to know. I was a girl without direction. I had no True North. And all I wanted was to go home.
What’s that quote? “If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t quite matter how you get there”?
That was my truth.
I didn’t know. I didn’t know. I didn’t know.
Do you know how painful that is? To want a destination and Just. Not. Know?
But this place? This was the place where I started to draw my own map.
It wasn’t perfect, being here. It wasn’t the answer. But it was the place, the physical place, that kept me warm while I tried to figure this whole thing out. This whole thing meaning my life.
I always thought growing up was about becoming, but I’ve learned that it’s more about remembering who you always were. Happiness isn’t this Rubik’s Cube we all imagine it to be. We know the answers. We’ve always known. We’ve just covered them up with expectations and pressure and societal norms.
This is where I unbecame. Where I stripped myself down to the wire and found out what I was made of. This is the place where I crawled under the floorboards to look at my own foundation. This is where I started to patch the holes.
It started slowly. I like this thing. I don’t really dig that. I’ll pass on this. I’ll try that instead.
And then bigger.
This is the person I’ll love with my whole heart. This is where I’ll lay my roots. This is how I want to mother.
Slowly. And then fast. Like a snowball rushing down a hill. I picked up speed and my life began to gather into something substantial.
And then peace. A slow joy. A smile in the mirror. A life that fit.
I know it’s time to leave. I know that I am ready. I know that I have outgrown this place.
But God, how I’ve grown here.
What these walls have seen. What this floor has witnessed. What this cubicle has endured.
I do not want to stay, of that I’m sure.
But I remember that girl. That scared little girl that was lost in the woods without a map. My heart breaks for her, even though I know that this is an essential part of her story.
I am so glad she found her way here. I am so glad she found shelter. That she was given the room and the space to grow and become and unbecome and shine and challenge and fail and falter and love and forgive and create and embody.
What I’m trying to say is, thank you.
What I’m trying to say is, I would not be here if it wasn’t for you.
What I’m trying to say, of course, is, goodbye.