When you leave something, anything, anyone, there isn’t a replacement for the space it left for the first while. Habits, movements, settlings are upended when the space that holds them dissipates. The beliefs I held for so many years were gone in a two week period of tightening questions and unbelievable intuition. I hadn’t looked up from the race in so long I didn’t understand why it was over, the finish line taken down before I crossed. No chance now for redemption, resolution, my endless repenting had nowhere to go.

Every leaving is an empty boat, you want others with you, talking them into sailing along to that thin blue horizon of being over it. You call, convince, cajole for company, agreement; shoulders and sharp knees bent on the bench scooping out water taken on by the endless circling of no one else paddling. It takes some time to understand that no one else can. This is a boat for one, in water made by what you wanted for yourself, before you changed your mind.

It is interesting to me now how many times I have left something, anything, anyone, and had to change all of our minds, all the minds of everyone I talked to, knew, called. It wasn’t enough that I wanted to do something different, it had to be that we did. That there was agreement, validation, forgiveness before I did what I wanted to do from the moment I felt that adventure swelling.

I noticed even compliments often came with conditions of plausibility, the hair, dress, boots I dared to love worn to, ‘I could never wear that’. How many times this had stopped me from moving out of the homogeny I trended toward as I lived in Utah longer. The idea that something could be worn, said, tried if a bet could be wagered on shared consensus. The risk became more that the group was not suffering, I was; the unworn, unsaid, untried became like a winter bird scared away in the feeding of it.

This is a boat for one. To sail from one shore to the next is a lonely repeated trying. It is one next thing after another, insecure in the futured fog of unknowing. How much easier it has been to do what someone else wanted. To sift through the words, looks and needing of them, to row behind the wake of it. Always unsettled, it is at least not yours, and in many ways it is safer. There is hope in trying, always another chance to get it right, to please, to complete for someone else, eyes up to sense if it worked.

It doesn’t ever work, and it took me so long to know that. The path is lonely, not because it is, but because I didn’t know it could be. Freedom is rowing alone. I never realized when you need to take others with you it takes so much to explain and convince that the course you were going to take changes, it shifts with your turned head, words lost in the wind of where your boat was always trying to go.

The adventure lives in following your own way, not explaining it.

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