Yesterday, the first day of spring was a "10" in the sunny department but the winds made sure you didn't get too far from the reality that it was still March in Michigan. It was lovely enough though, that I decided to head outside and get a little fresh air and exercise.
I was walking a very familiar road as I have lived in this community since I was 2 years old. Seems like every street in this town is familiar but as I was strolling along, I came to a street that by a combination of its sheer existence and my awareness, transported me back in what seemed like an instant, to 34 years ago.
I was being pulled to turn left off the main road and walk toward a familiar intersection, one I had spent hours at, one that in the grand scheme of things, was a tiny portion of my life but one that left a huge impression. An impression so profound, it can stir emotions in me all these years later.
Why was this intersection such an intersection in my life? The first man I ever loved live at this intersection so I have fond memories of hours upon hours of us sitting in our vehicles chatting, memories of spending time down his basement sharing hopes, dreams, aspirations and talking only as two contemplative, introspective teens can, about life and it's many twist and turns.
But this intersection, although laden with good memories, holds a space for me that the "time machine" yesterday, immediately took me to and that was in the days, weeks and months after this gentleman and I broke-up.
Long before social media, and I thank God it didn't exist back then, it was agonizing enough without the constant "in your face" reminders we are sickeningly privy to today, this is how I coped.
In my grief and sorrow, I did a lot of things, almost none having sane thought attached to them. Of course, I tried to numb myself by thinking I could party my way out of the pain (not so much) but one of the other things I did to cope was simply sit in my car at this intersection and cry.
The longing, the missing, the heartache was so overwhelming, I just wanted to feel connected to him again and simply being on the street where he lived did that for me...so there I sat for hours and hours in my little blue Chevy Chevette with the soundtrack of Lionel Richie and for those of you local, Alan Almond's "Pillow Talk" on WNIC offering the perfect background music for my broken heart.
It was a sad, devastating time for me and yes, I know I would be labeled a "stalker" by today's standards but in hindsight, I was hurting no one...but myself, and so I sat.
Fast-forward to yesterday, 34 years later as I walked along the curb of the very place I used to park and suffer, I felt that 17-year-old girls pain again. In fact, I began to gently weep for her. Poor wildly naive kid...l love you.
Once I walked through the intersection and saw my old beau's home I felt it only appropriate that I take a moment to stay in 1984 and remember good things that transpired in that space, like amazing conversation, incredible laughs, connection, and love. That felt good...and so I sat. Sat with the feelings that took the edge off the first emotions that poured over me and provided me with some balance.
As I walked away and dried my tears I thought about all the suffering I have done since that time and I stayed with those thoughts and feelings for several moments as I continued to walk. By the time to got to the next intersection, I saw some snowdrops that had bloomed by a fence, my first flower-sighting of the year and immediately, resilience came to mind.
I teach in my classes that we don't FIND balance, we create it, so it was a natural progression for me to go from thinking about all the suffering I have done in this life to all the resilience I have dug hard for and cultivated lo these 34 years and with grace, a soft smile came to my face.
I was proud, not in an egotistical way, but in a most honorable one, of how often I have risen and restored myself in the face of things I thought at times would take me down...and so I sat.
When you feel trampled by life it's hard to widen our focus and recall how many times we have gotten back up and triumphed. I hope this piece reminds you that when the "chips are down", you needn't stay that way. <3
“And like the sun, I will always rise.” ― Nikki Rowe