Hunting & Becoming: Reflections on the past year

January 26, 2022

The Huntress

There’s been a lot of talk lately
about arrows and targets and making your mark

with the kind of badassery born from a bow & arrow

but I’m no Robin Hood, just a modern day Artemis 
in a pair of stiletto boots, with a quiver full of truth

a wildfire ripping through wildflowers

the storm surge in a hurricane

whiplash in a crown

mismanaged mischief always afoot

unconcerned with the sound a bullseye makes or my arrow’s precision 

but ever-insatiable for the thrill of the hunt

and what may emerge

from the edge of the woods

Right now, sitting at my desk in the early morning hours before the work day, I am reading over notes on my phone from January 2021. About a year ago, I was only just beginning my journey. Reading through what I had written, I have so much gratitude for that girl  - the girl who kept going. The girl who could taste possibility at the back of her throat like pomegranate seeds, knowing she has always been, in a sense, a modern day Persephone waiting for her eternal spring. A girl who just wanted the best this world had to offer because she felt its potential in her bones, to give that to herself first so she could return that light back to others. She wrote about the kind of days that tasted of bitterness, sobbing in the parked car in the garage, of her daughter asking her, "Mommy, why are you crying?" She wrote about how she did not feel she was enough - she was not enough for her daughter, she was not enough for her marriage, she was not enough for herself.

"No matter how old we get, we never outgrow the need for love, compassion, empathy, and the healing power of touch."

I wrote those words a year ago in a poignant moment of pain where I felt those qualities - that love and compassion - had escaped me. Somehow I was able to conjure them like magic to give to everyone else, but was incapable of turning that back around on myself. I had started to wake up to the state of my life and begun to question how I didn't see it all sooner; how I had lost myself like a brittle toy boat tossed in a storm; how parts of me had dissolved like sickeningly saccharine cotton candy that couldn't last; how I only ever wanted to be effulgent and full like the moon or a radiant planet glowing through the night but felt more like a dying star that never had any sort of shot in the dark whatsoever. I had given away the best parts of me for years, without really giving to myself. I never gave myself the chance to discover who I was. I had become lost.

A lot has changed over the course of a year, so much that I can't even chronicle it all in a single blog post, but perhaps one day there's a book here. What I can say though, is that I have seen immense growth in myself, but there is still much growth left. And while I would not describe myself as "lost" anymore, I can't say definitively that I have "found" myself either - not yet. Parts of me, absolutely. I have blown off such a thick layer of dust from myself that I can at least read the title of my story now.

The past few months have shown me incredible highs and the most draining and frantic lows. I am learning so much about myself and about emotions in general - essentially, how to ride the wave of life.

I was never very good at swimming, but I'm finally learning to tread water.

However, I have not felt inspired to write. I have not felt inspired to create. I have felt confused and often blank at times, as if 2022 has wiped me clean and there is nothing written yet. Part of me still exists in the old identity of what I was, while a much greater part, the part that exists deep in the cavernous heart, already knows who she is and is waiting patiently while I learn the lessons and have the new experiences that will shape me into the woman I've always felt I was destined to be; to trade the word girl for woman and be brave enough to keep turning the pages without the need to burn all the chapters that came before.

I am learning to hold myself when no one else can. I am learning to turn towards the pain and give her the attention she craves. I am learning that white knuckles begin to crack and bleed when you hold on for too long and that resiliency is born from the art of letting go. I am learning that healing moves backwards and forwards and side to side. I am learning that my voice is powerful. I am learning that words are medicine. I am learning, albeit slowly, that I am enough, already whole as I am.

I am not defined by the identities of my past - none of us are.

If we take our cues from nature, we can see that we are the same. Nature and all her boundless beauty and magnificent creatures are not constant. The wind changes directions. The tides move in and out with the moon. The sun rises and sets. Chameleons change color. Snakes shed their skin. Caterpillars become butterflies. The very moment of human conception begins as cells, growing, multiplying, shifting form. What are we if not the very definition of change?

It's something I, like many, struggle with. I want this immense growth and change, and when it shows up on my doorstep, parts of me recoil, afraid of such luminosity because so many of us have learned to thrive in darkness, despite how we hunger for the light. But I know I must keep going, keep growing, keep dipping my hands in the ink and paint of this story, no matter how many tumultuous and messy things might become in the process. No matter how much I want to just sprint to the finish line, I know that I would miss the best parts of all of this, even if I could. The magic happens in the in-between. So I will keep changing and shapeshifting and learning those hard lessons, because what I am coming to  realize is maybe there really isn't a finish line at all. No end result. No conclusive form. Not a final one anyway.

If all endings are just new beginnings, then we're consistently and infinitely becoming.

I choose to become. I choose to see what's on the other side of this next part and let everything that came before me and everything I've seen in my head that is coming next inspire me. I choose love and endless discovery. Let's see how deep into the woods this next chapter takes me.

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