I have this former friend from college, I say former because she does not share the details of her life, nor I with her, and although occasionally post comments on Facebook at each other, we do not talk or speak in real life. She is for all intents and purposes a stranger who was once a friend at worst, and at best an acquaintance who was once a friend. From time to time I have noted that her comments can be quite lovely and at other times kind of snarky, I raise my hand I am quite guilty of the snarky comment. I am a snarky person. I will admit it. Freely. Snark. Snark. This friend has recently made comments about the fact that I had a bow in my hands and was shooting a shotgun at the Sportsman Days, and more recently posted a pic of me fishing off a bridge in the Adirondacks, comments of astonishment. Who could this person be, and what is next?
Three years ago I was blindsided. Its a truth I have labored over, sweated over, cried over, laughed over and beaten until quite dead. But I was blindsided. What a gift! What a gift. To be shaken to your very foundations. To have the walls torn down around you, the windows of your hopes shattered, the very doorways nailed shut and paths bombed to oblivion. Yes I said it, what a gift. It is a gift of realizing who your friends are. It is the gift of learning to look for actions rather than words to tell you people’s secrets. It is the gift of gratitude. It is the gift of learning to love every precious moment. It is the gift of being able to tear away the trappings of who you think you are and to find out who you really are. Without an ego. Just who you are when your pillow is sodden with tears, who you are when you cry until the snot forms a puddle on your bed, who you are when you get your ass out of bed everyday and make it through an 8 hour day without crying. Who you are when people you want to stand by you walk away. Who you are when people you couldn’t care less about stand by you anyway. Who you are when you are broken, and have nothing to give even to yourself.
And when I was in that place, I took stock of my life. I took stock of who I came from, what kind of men I admired, and what I wanted in a man. Gone was a dream of an intellectual, a man who was different from the men I was raised around. Gone was the woman who would put on high heels to please someone else, gone was the woman who would put away her hippy skirts for short ones. Gone was the woman who would go out to eat and leave a home cooked meal to spoil on the stove. That is not to say that I wouldn’t don a corset to join in with the pirates, nor to say that I don’t ever wear a shorter skirt, but to say rather that I won’t be goaded into these things by a judgmental ass. I will do it because I want to.
So when I stopped and looked I found that I wanted a man who loved the outdoors. If he hunted and fished, fine actually even better because fresh wholesome food is more important to me than vegetarianism. I wanted a man who read now and then if not more frequently, a man who didn’t have a TV in his bedroom. A man who was creative, a man who thought I was just great as I am, in birkenstocks, in slippers, in my sheep pajamas, in my plain black panties and bra, in my tank top and boxer shorts, in my levis jeans, in my hiking boots, in my hand knit mittens, with spinach in my teeth, in my night shattering talkative sleep, with drool on my pillow, when I farted and belched. Oh this list can go on and on. I wanted someone in short who was like a family member, and who didn’t stand in judgment of me.
I don’t even know if I have it. I just know that now I am in a place where the healing is nearly done. Today I took my brown khakis out of the closet and put them on. I haven’t worn them in over 3 years. I haven’t worn much of anything brown in over 3 years. Brown is where I was, down. Brown. Ass Clown. His frown. Not from Town country mouse. Brown. I put them on. They are two sizes too big. I wore them all day.
25 years ago I wouldn’t have fished or held a gun. But today, today I am some version of my self that is closer to authentic. And some version of myself who knows what it is like to be broken, and then to grow from my own ashes.