Several years ago, in a closed off street festival, celebrating local art in the slowing down mining community I live, there was a necklace. It was simple, long, with a word stamped circle and a small meteorite stone hanging beside it. I held it in my hand, turned it over, switched hands. Showed it to my family, and then walked away. Almost to the end of the street, I went back, talked to the artist, who offered to change the meteorite to a stone, prettier, less apt to cause me to pause in choosing.

My daughter, her boyfriend, my husband, all waited as I could not decide. My daughter, looking in my eyes in the leaving light of day said, it’s perfect.

I went back to the artist, I will take it, I said, just as it is, it’s perfect.

She packed it up, handed it to me and as I left, she wished me well on my journey, whatever it was.

It was so many years ago, and I have not forgotten what happened. How I could not decide if I could choose the stone, spun by the universe, clumped and dull, and at the time, unpretty.

It does not surprise me now I wanted something smooth, purple, lovely, shining in the light and uniformly normal.

My daughter was right. It was perfect. The artist was right, in placing a piece of the universe beside the word she didn’t know I would need on this journey, wherever it was going to take me. And the world was right, just for a moment, when I walked back down the closed off street to bring the word home with me, stamped on that small circle.



Which part do I own? Which question, sent, now belongs to me? What narrow pathway is mine to navigate, simply because someone else did not?

There is a time when we believe a question becomes a command, that the act of sending on a sentence, with a lilt at the end, is the hook that will grab, catch and net you into changing your focus from what you were doing, to what someone else is needing.

Did this happen when we were toddlers, our all important ‘no’ dismissed, discouraged and disciplined? Was it when we were disappearing teens, our rooms blockaded and walled with music and posters, the emerging from that cocoon a time to ask for a favor, an errand, easier to ask then to know what someone else is experiencing, feeling.

Perhaps now, we do the same, jump to answer a rope of questions instead of asking one. My one question is this: What would happen if we took the hook and gently tossed it back into the air, the filament of need floating back to the one who cast it, who already knows what to do, and can do it?

Sometimes I wonder what would happen if someone wasn’t there to catch the question, who would take up the flag of figuring it out, and run it to the end of the field? By answering, we take away that goal, that touchdown, that win.

The part I own is to answer my own question and not take the field.


The weight of unsaid words pulled my throat, tightened the smile that stretched across the history of what I had not said. The agreements I had made in my life, to fit into the world in a million small adjustments, meant that what I needed to say waited.

Sometimes when I was alone, I would speak in a whisper what I wished I could say. The practicing of truth a small nudge in the direction of the dream to live out loud.

I lived in a waiting room of sorts, looking to heal the perpetual sore throat and tight neck of a middle life, when I already knew how.

It takes one small truth to begin, not the scariest one to start, the one closest to the surface. One slight collection of words at the top of the throat, just to say those, begins to loosen the rest.

And so I tried to speak them, just a few, and not about anyone else; the truth was never for them, it was always for me. Because truth is not to be narrated to someone else, it isn’t about what you think their truth is, that’s too easy, and it’s never really accurate. Offering what you honestly think about someone else isn’t the truth, it’s wiping off a mirror to what you want to say about your own tender self.

The truth of your own unsaid words is this; they are the boundaries waiting to be set, the no to replace the yes you didn’t want to say, they are the straightening of a backbone bowed under the weight of other peoples expectations.

This is what I now know; throats hurt and necks tighten under the power those unsaid words hold, and that power is ready and waiting. The courage to say here’s what I never said, and what I’d like to try to say now, this is the way to free.


On the day I was born, fireworks sketched the sky as my mother came back to her room, the bands of sleep that held her from the pain of this last delivery releasing her to see the shooting lights celebrating her new life as a mother of five.

I would have been somewhere close, bundled and bewildered, newly near this overwhelming world of bright lights in big skies. I like to believe something in me knew, even then, my place in the turning earth, that every day blending forward would bring me into new blossoming, fantastical shows of light, sound, and the silent littering of fire falling from a sky.

Each year, on the day I was born, I celebrate; the year behind me swaddled and secure in its ending, watching the blooming of new life from the inside of a glass window, releasing every pain of what has been born, just like my mother did, all those years ago.


Presqu’ile Park. Brighton, Ontario, Canada.

What I’ve learned from talking to so many victims of traumatic events, abuse, or neglect is that after absorbing these painful experiences, the child begins to ache.

Oprah Winfrey

Being tired might not come from what you do in a day’s work, it might be what you work not to do; in a day, a week, a lifetime. It may be holding an ancient ache, a deep, long soulful yearning for what you did not have, what you did not ask for, and what you haven’t yet given up on.

Yours is different from everyone else, this mournful empty satchel where your love or trust would have lived. This open nest woven with every wanted word, the cotton threads of belonging hanging to the sides of what you settled for.

We may not know during our day what we have given up but there is a point in every day when we do. Falling into sleep, one lone lightbulb flares just long enough to show what isn’t there. So we stay awake, alert, watchful and so very tired. Or we fall asleep so soundly, quickly; unwilling to wake back up to the echo in the room of being ever unspoken.

This ache can be your undoing, or it can be your updraft. To speak from the place that was not listened to. To stay awake long enough to turn your head and say I’m here. To rest enough to ask what is it that you need to say? And then, in all it’s timid truthfulness, to say it.

This ache has a name. Singular, unique and wildly ever and always your own. Speak it.


There is a part of me that wants to be controlled, measured, predictable choices and responsible ways; I have believed there is safety there, no offense too large, staying under the thin line of expectations that will cover the most social rules. Clean, less need to reflect and reorder what I did, what I said.

All my conversations prepared for, the right balance of talking and listening, the well placed lines received with well worn laughter, ever polite and distantly kind.

Each time I spend with someone will prove who I am, what I’m like, and show how much I have worked to deserve this space.

And then there is a part of me that wants to be wild.

I want to choose messy and laughing and loud, and even if it means I will be a little sick, or tired, or will spend a little bit of the day after the night before hoping I was with people who understand wild doesn’t mean wanton and it doesn’t mean unpredictable, irresponsible and out of control. Then, suddenly, I know something I didn’t know before. Being wild means being wild in a wordless way.

I don’t yet know how to live so howling to find my pack doesn’t leave me breathless, but I’m close.

Is there an understanding we could come to, each of us, that we do not owe each other our predictability? That seeing the playful is a gift we give each other in the moment only, it isn’t held and recorded to our shared file of understanding of who we are, it is who we were for that moment, that carefree trusting moment.

The best gift I can give you is to forget you, over and over and over. And then to meet you again, and again, and again.

Ever new, ever wild.