It’s been five years to the day since I stepped onto a plane in New York and stepped off in California (with a brief layover in Las Vegas, where I debated playing the airport slot machines, but feared that losing would be an unbearable beginning to this new chapter of my life).
I wrote then:
Every time I make a big decision, I get a sinking feeling that I’ve chosen the wrong course, that I should’ve picked the other, that anyone else would have made a better and smarter decision — because clearly ‘anyone else’ is better and smarter than I am, and knows better than I do what’s right for me…Who knows where the road may lead us? Only a fool would say. I’ll just keep my eyes on the road, wherever it leads.
Interesting how much that still resonates. I’m still second-guessing myself for changing jobs a year and a half ago. If I’d stayed, I’d be having my five-year anniversary there in another week.
But my eyes are still on the road. It’s led me to places I never expected. I still wish I could undo the whole relationship with my ex, and have that time (and self-confidence) back…but I do understand that apparently, it was something I had to go through in order to get to where I needed to be. So here I am, older and wiser, still searching, still holding onto my hope. “You can’t lose your hope,” a coworker said to me yesterday. “It’s the most precious thing you have.”
It has been twelve years since I graduated from high school, eight years since I graduated from college. I think I was a bit of a late bloomer — I don’t really think I grew into myself and got comfortable in my own skin until the end of college and my second year in New York. But better late than never. Looking back over the last eight or so months, I have come into my own more than ever before. I didn’t notice when I reached the point where it wasn’t a struggle to get through each and every day, but it happened. And I am really, truly proud of myself for coming through this as well as I have.
There’s a story in one of the prayerbooks we used in the shul where I grew up…and yay, it’s also in the machzor (High Holiday prayerbook) I grew up with and love (and more importantly, own):
A king once owned a large, beautiful diamond of which he was justly proud, for it had no equal anywhere. One day, the diamond accidentally sustained a large, deep scratch. The king summoned the most skilled diamond cutters and offered them a great reward if they could remove the blemish. But none could repair the jewel.
After some time, a gifted artisan came to the king and promised to make the rare diamond even more beautiful than it had been before the mishap. The king was impressed by this confidence, and entrusted the precious stone to the artisnan’s care.
And the artisan kept the promise. With superb artistry, the artisan engraved a lovely rosebud around the imperfection, using the scratch to make the stem.
I didn’t emerge unscathed. There are still scars, and I don’t know if they will ever fade away completely. But for now, at least, I am trying my best to use them as the basis for something new and beautiful. I attempted to channel my pain into creativity and art, painting pottery and coloring with pastels. I hope that the scars that are the memory of my pain have helped me become more empathetic and caring toward others. And perhaps, I can find more beauty in the world now than there was before.
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And just so you know, apparently I haven’t jinxed myself yet. D. and I traded e-mails Thursday night after I posted, traded voicemails this afternoon, and spoke just a little while ago. Date #2 will be next Sunday, after I’m back from my business trip.