I finished reading Brené Brown’s new book, Braving the wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, a few short days after I received the Kindle download. This alone is some kind of miracle. Seriously–when do I have time to read these days? Oh, right, when I should be sleeping. Anyway, the book made me want to transform my life, as her books often do… But one day later and I find myself here, the same reflection staring back at me, carrying out the same destructive patterns in my daily life. I want to be brave, to join the wilderness, but I have a lifetime of conditioning to fight and very little will left in these weary bones.
How did I get to this point?
One step at a time, I guess. I’ve spent my life making myself responsible for everyone else’s feelings, and have as a result found it difficult to retain any vestige of myself (if one could claim a single self). Where is the girl who decided to make sure her school recycled, who became a vegetarian to save the world, who wrote passionate pieces about biofuels and food security? Who cared enough to do something? I’m not sure. I lost her along the way, or it got too hard, or perhaps I simply forgot. These days, I have a hard time knowing what my convictions are anymore, beyond shopping at farmers’ markets, where possible, eating good food, and maybe choosing my family over career.
Just as the country (nay, the world) has some work to do before we can get to a place of productive and benevolent compromise again, I will have to take this step by step. Perhaps not back in the direction I came–no, I am a different person now–but towards kindness, compassion, curiosity, and respect for myself, and for my beliefs and values. Only then can I truly show kindness, compassion, and respect for everyone around me. Only then can I find a way to truly connect.