I watched from the balcony as my dear dear friend twirled below us in her wedding dress. She was born to wear a wedding dress. Every part of her is long, slender, modest, graceful. She's a few years older than I am, and was a supervisor and mentor to me years ago. There is something about her that always seems so centered, so at peace, even when she's struggling. I spent most of the wedding admiring her, her quiet grace and quiet beauty that is cooling and soothing. I was there on the balcony a long time, thinking.
There's something really difficult about coming back to people who knew you once, who knew a big part of you, when two things are true: first, when that part of your life no longer seems relevant, or that it seems to have moved past you; and two, when the part of your life you're in now doesn't feel right. So here I am with a large cup of chippedy chocolatey ice cream still trying to just figure it out. How can I be at this stage of my life and still not know where I am supposed to be or what I am supposed to be doing? It seems to me that I've worked very hard to be at this stage in life so how, how in the world can this be so unfulfilling and bewildering?
During the cocktail hour I had been catching up with an older former coworker of mine. He was thrilled to hear how I was doing, what I was up to. He gushed about how great I looked and how amazing I was. At the end of the conversation he looked directly at me, dropping the small talk face, and with a kind but serious voice said, "You're letting off this great energy. You're warm, solid... there's just something there that is such a great aura about you." Instead of brushing it off with a nervous, "Thank you" I made a split second decision to respond as honestly and as openly as he was. And so I responded, "Well thanks, but I couldn't feel further from that. I feel like a mess. I feel worn out, I feel broken, I feel hardened, and I feel kind of lost." He was surprised, said he couldn't tell. "Whatever it is, it's still in there! I can see it!" he said.
At the end of the night, I made sure to seek him out to say goodbye. I gave a hug and was about to leave when he grabbed my hands and looked directly at me, seriously, and said, "I know you said you're feeling really cut up, but it's still in there, you've got it. You're great. You're really, really doing great."
And then I cried.