27 July 2009

Make me smile

It's hard to believe that a year ago, I was kayaking in Iceland.

I was not fearless that day--my daughter was sitting in the forward position of a two-person kayak with me--but I was confident. Even when the waves got so high that she no longer had the strength to paddle, I was sure of my ability to get us across the water.

And I did.

At some time in the last few months, my confidence failed me. There's been no realistic reason for this; the shadows that haunt me in the middle of the night are problems that are not mine. I've been jousting with windmills in the worst possible sense.

Last week, I was watching reruns of season 1 of Mad Men, and Don Draper told his younger half-brother, "My life moves in one direction: forward."

It's a moment that's calculated to make us dislike Don, but I heard the desperation in his voice. I understand him, because my life similarly can only move forward. Some of us cannot go home again; there is no home, if there ever was. Although my life is more authentic--I am who I say I am; I've never claimed another's identity--people mistake the woman they see today for the person who has always been.

I know how fast one's world can change, how quickly things fall apart. This is what haunts me. But I'm tired of the darkness. Some days are better, some bad, but none worse.

I make small plans, doable plans. A day at a time, a month.

Forward.

Go listen to some music: "Make Me Smile" from the album Chicago II by Chicago. Bored now! But I know you're out there somewhere.

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