Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bridge





Thursday in between one job, my follow up appointment with my neurologist, and my other job, I went for a walk on a trail I used to run frequently. I set my timer for fifteen minutes so I wouldn't worry about the time and started walking.

I love this trail. Three plus hilly and woodsy miles. Challenging in spots. Back when I was still drinking and I was still running I would go and punish myself with the two big hills- one steep and one endlessly long. On my way I would always look for a rock to pick up because towards the end I would stop at this bridge and hold that rock tightly in my hand and wish. I would wish I could stop drinking. I would whisper intently to the woods and my rock that I needed help please. Then I would look at my rock, squeeze it hard, and gently toss it into the creek below.

I had forgotten about this.

Until the other day, when I'd just been to the neurologist, and she said things like "spinal tap" and lumbar puncture" and "up to you". I had an hour before I had to be at work. I remembered that this trail was on the way. I had just enough time to take a thirty minute walk in the woods to think on this. Right at the time I needed to turn around I came to the bridge. I stopped walking and went over to the rail. I grabbed it with both hands and took a shaky deep breath. The memory of me, and my rocks, and my wishes came flooding back. I could feel my old self standing there next to me. I stood quiet for a long minute. Then I cried a little, then smiled.

I have been sober for over two years y'all. Right there, in that picture up there, in that spot, is where I wished so hard for myself to hear me, to help me. Below the bridge is the creek that took all my rocks and kept my secret until it was time to tell it, to tell it out loud.

Yesterday a beloved friend and I walked this whole trail. We were talking about some heavy shit, but when we rounded the corner and came to the bridge I said "Wait. I have to interrupt. I have to tell you this." My face crumpled all up and I started to cry.

"I used to run this trail," I told her. "And I would be sad, and hungover, and I would pick up a rock." We walked over to the rail, and held it. "When I would get to this bridge I would wish into my rock. I would wish for help. I would wish to be sober. I would say 'I wish I could stop drinking' and I would throw my rock into the water, then watch for a minute and try to hold it in." I cried harder. "I've been sober for two years and three months now. I am a miracle." I whispered it again. "I am a miracle."

She grabbed me and held me tight. She looked at me and told me she was proud. Proud to know me, proud to be my friend. I hugged her back, and then we laughed at ourselves crying on this bridge- both of us with our big life stuff but still brave enough to show each other who we are and ask each other for love and support. I said out loud what I hardly ever say: how proud I am of myself.

Sometimes when winter has been too long, and the grey is holding me down, life just really shows up. It shows up as a bridge, a book, a dearest friend. It reminds me of all the good I do for myself, the meaning I give to my life, the meaning I give to the lives of others. It reminds me that I am an important person in this world, that I matter.

I have been doing the things I said I was going to do for five days now, and magic is happening. Whether it's because I've been making it or keeping an eye out for it so I notice when it shows up I'm not sure. But it's here, every day. I've been being the person I wish I am.

It's all a bridge, wherever you are. There is always that place, that time, when you wish so hard for things to be different. When that voice inside cannot let go of that wish. The thing about wishes is that most of them are ones that we can make come true, you just have to be brave enough to embrace your inner wizard and to remember that you are worthy. No one ever really plans that one moment when wishes start to be real, where you start from a new spot. You only know that happened when you look back, when you conjure your old self and see who you aren't anymore.

My neurologist wants to do a spinal tap because she is suspicious that I may have Multiple Sclerosis. That day in her office I turned her down. She told me I could change my mind, and I have. Because that's the thing about wishes- I wish I didn't have MS. I don't even know that I do. But I have to look, I have to see, because then I'll know what to do. It's just like me wishing I wasn't an alcoholic- I wish I wasn't one. But I had to look, and I had to see so I could stop wishing and know what to do. To not wish for wasn'ts but for things that can be.

What I know is this: there is nothing wrong with wishing. Whether it's with pennies and fountains, rocks and bridges, or in your heart alone in bed at night, there's a reason that wish keeps coming back. When you get to that place, your bridge where you made your wish, you will know that wishes really do come true. And you will know, no matter where you are, that you are a miracle too.




10 comments:

  1. This is such a beautiful post. I really felt like I was with you, standing at the railing with a rock in hand, wishing for hope. You should be proud of yourself, and I'm glad you are. I'm wishing you good health and hope always.

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    1. Thank you so much. I'm glad you could be there through here- it was a powerful moment.

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  2. Absolutely stunning.
    I love that you are writing more; I love your words in my inbox.
    You are a miracle, and the fact that you know it is good, so good. I don't think we throw away miracles too lightly.
    My favorite person in my way too hard for me yoga class just got headstand down to a science (i admit to terrible jealousy). She balances like a tightrope walker and the beauty of her practice is inspiring. She is also living with MS, has been for years.
    Life happens, all the beauty and the mess....she practices yoga thru it, you have this great gift for writing that you can practice.
    We are all miracles.

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    1. That's the thing: if I have MS I do. I can deal with it. I can keep going and do headstands and practice in my own way (which, lol, has no headstands at this point- but I do a mean triangle pose!)

      I have my favorite people too- the people I wish I were more like. I wish I were more like them because I am like them: I just need to practice more to bring out the parts of me that I really love. Yoga does that for me big time. So does writing.

      Thank you so much. So much. It means so much to me for you to complement my writing, and to be a miracle alongside someone as lovely as you. xxxooo

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  3. Big hug to you, Amy. You bridge moment is wonderful. I love how places take on memories and resonances, and they keep on building and growing.

    I keep meaning to tell you about my regular "Amy moments." Way back, maybe a year or more ago you wrote about biking in the morning and the exhilaration of that, and since then when I'm biking to school in the mornings, I have a little ritual or saying to myself, "Don't forget to look at the lake," and when I do, I remember your biking story and I always call out to the lake, "Hello, Amy!" The wonder of outdoors and connection always amazes me, the deep mystery of how that works among us all.

    I love how brave and strong you are with yourself here. Wishing is great. You're pretty great too! Wishing you well, and sending love. xo

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    1. I LOVE THIS!!!! It is exactly something I would do: say hello to a lake in your honor- I feel so happy that you do this. :) SO HAPPY. La la la la!

      I send you lots of love and good wishes back. xxxooo

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  4. Oh my god....this is probably THE MOST beautiful post I have read in so very long. It should be published somewhere.....these beautiful words of yours. And yes, it did most certainly make me cry. Please please keep us posted (if you feel so inclined) about your test results. I will be praying, because I still do that sort of thing. <3

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    1. Oh Annette! Thank you so much. I feel so blessed to have you as part of my blog community- you are a source of strength for me always. I will keep you posted on the results for sure. I think praying and wishing are almost the same thing- they are sisters for sure. :) xxxooo

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