When I had to move back home a couple of weeks ago, my mom asked me to start cleaning off my desk (we’re trying out this thing where we don’t hold onto stuff we don’t need or like or want for thirty years.) I started today, paring down my collections of books and papers, ruthlessly sorting things into “keep,” “donate,” and “garbage” piles. I, like everyone else, have been inspired by the Marie Kondo method of only keeping things that spark joy. During that cleaning frenzy, I came across a stack of cards that my mom mailed me while I was living in Sri Lanka. I teared up instantly when I read them, and I’m getting emotional again as I type this. Looking back at who I was back then, sad and scared and hurt, and the incredibly long journey it’s been to get to where I am now.
The story of my island life always comes up when I start to form relationships with people. I try to hold it in, but it bubbles out of me at some point or another, because it’s my new context. It makes me feel like a downer, and I often feel like I should be over it by now. And for the most part, I am. But we all know healing isn’t a straight line.
Life keeps throwing me these curveballs and I’m figuring out how to ride the waves and not mix metaphors. But I think two years ago Linneah would be proud of me, because I made it through a whole lot of school, I’ve stopped believing that everyone is out to get me, and I have learned how to intentionally surround myself with champions. No day is perfect but the sun still rises and Mari Andrew still makes art and my cat will still curl up on my chest and lick my face. It could take a lifetime, but that’s what lifetimes are for, aren’t they? Learning and growing and healing. All you can ask is that you’re proud of the person you’ve become, despite the curveballs. Because of them.
Those cards from my mom ended up in the garbage pile. They didn’t spark joy. Thank you and goodbye.