The Girl I Used To Be

The Girl I Used To Be

I went walking tonight, and was surprised to find the girl I used to be out there walking too. One of the girls, I suppose. There have been so many.

I hadn’t forgotten about her, but I had forgotten what it was like to BE her- how it felt in her skin, how the world looked through her eyes. On this wet, glossy night I remembered.

The world always hit her too hard, and she felt everything too much, too loudly. Rain, joy, injustice, love- they could and did overwhelm her. She was rootless and restless, never knew what she was looking for. She walked in the rain a lot, cried in the rain a lot, danced and sang and dreamed in the rain a lot, and didn’t know where home was.

I realised tonight that this is what my children are- the roots that let the woman I am, grow out of this girl that I was. That without them I would still be wandering, still be looking in windows and wondering what life on the inside was like. Love alone was never enough to keep me, but their need, the person they see when they look at me- that holds me. Without them I might yet go to a wild windy place the way I did one night long ago, a place full of silent steel, and climb aboard a train and wait for it to shift into life and take me away.

I am restless tonight- but grateful, too. Grateful to know the wild parts of me are still out there somewhere. Grateful that I am no longer lost, even if I feel that way some days, and grateful that I can still feel it all too sharply- still be overwhelmed by the beauty and harshness and immediacy of the rough-edged world- and then go inside to a beautiful life with softness and warmth.

Hot chocolate, anyone?

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