I accidentally felt happy. For days and weeks after the visceral, physical breaking out of the cocoon I was bound up in, a feeling kept flitting in my side view. Brief and effervescent, blue and bright and entertaining. What was this? It was familiar and fleeting and then swooped back up and out and I laughed, a lot. Smiling in my kitchen alone, at the sun in the window I realized this was happy.

It was so long since I felt something similar to this—so many shedding skins ago, that I kept quiet. I didn’t want to shoot back into a caterpillar skin or reincarnate into trying and testing again if I spoke it out loud.

A few weeks ago I went to D.C. on a work trip, flying into air I used to be afraid of, settled in with a movie and few hours of silent shuttling sky, sitting in tandem quiet with a kind-souled fellow traveler. I wish I could explain what happened then, maybe someday there will be words for what it is when two people who have both found themselves as butterflies find the same draft of air. For now it is enough to know that while the cocoon may feel lonely, newly winged flight is not.

I spent the next five days waiting on couches in hotel libraries, trying on hats and wandering new streets, running to keep warm and crying from the cold. I came home and talked on the phone, met people in stores and smiled, sipped soup and felt full, bought bread and coffee creamer and wore warm socks on frigid nights.

I lived. And until then I thought what I was doing before was living, but it wasn’t. It was leaning toward what I thought would feel more, look better, seem easier somehow. I was waiting to live until living felt nicer. If I could go back and try it again, faster, better, would I? No. I had moments of great through every minute of my life as a caterpillar and cocoon. I had family and love and friends and a life that held me while I found my way to this. I hold it in my hands like a cup of warm tea, look across the steam and see sugared sunlight fall through leaves, see the shadow cast of light in an afternoon room, and I know that this life is magnificent.

It is magnificent.


New moons are dark. No light found to guide a path or direct the way, no reflection from windows to see where the barns are, the dusted storage of past hopes and hurts kept alive and still. No wind shuttling clouds to the side of a giant lit circle of possibilities. No, the new moon is dark.

Something new has no light, not quite yet. What you bring to the darkness is yours alone, heavy and cool in a palm weighted by old dreams ready to slip under the surface of who you have been. The new moon lets you do this unseen, unwatched, the blackness a gift of private reconstruction on your own quiet stage.

How many ways we try to light this path that needs darkness in order to begin. How many lamps, lights, torches and companions we reach for when there is no agreement that can happen in this night. It isn’t meant to always share, some things can be left alone.

All day I have reached for my phone, and set it down, wanted to explain, or try, to anyone who might understand, and then, finally I understood. What I am going to bring to this night is mine, and there is no ‘me too’ that will change the uneasiness, no commiseration or trying to talk it out that will change the unknowing of it.

Sometimes others want to know what you are thinking, feeling, seeing when you talk, write or explain a day in the life of you. This new moon uncovers within you a knowing that some things are meant to be held, unexplained, all your own. Some things can belong to only you. Take them out tonight to this new moon and dance with them—alone, free and silent in your shaded unseen circle. All yours. All new. Let them begin.


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.

the lightening of anger.

I spent my lifetime changing by learning, perfecting, growing past the scars and making meaning even as they were healing. I traced my wounds into mandalas of enlightenment, repeating patterns deeper and tighter.

And then, one push too far, one day of too much, one too many times, and something unwound into bright anger.

This far, and no farther.

And I could take a step, and one more. Anger wasn’t something to carry, it was the refining line of no more. Even as I felt myself lean into dissolving it, the try of stopping it, I stayed in it.

Circling back through the stones I left behind, weaving a flowering labyrinth, finding my way in the quiet storm of a fury that was a fuel that’s didn’t burn me.

Feet that move forward carry a body taller, easier. Anger fed me from the ground up, unpouncing my shoulders and dropping my chin to the wind of my sudden acceptance. Nothing changes, it evolves. And the fire that lit me wasn’t started by someone else’s match. If I could howl I would have, feet slipping easily forward in this leaf patterned dance.

on being whole.

I hadn’t not been whole, I guess. I had all the parts, had put them together in different ways, knit two ends into a circle, held in one palm. I had manufactured togetherness, believed in otherness, and held fast to my aloneness.

The plan for me was to finally figure it out. Once and for all keep the ends from fraying, the bag from spilling, the air nutmeg warm and shimmering. I was going to get there. By going back to all the theres.

I began with a collection of moleskin journals, elephant gray. A journal that wouldn’t forget. I started with the earliest place I remember living and wrote out what I remembered in categories; favorite foods, music, tv shows and movies, and in one small corner I saved a space for the things I didn’t want to write about, in the journal that didn’t forget. And then I wrote it down.

The journals I kept as hidden as the last space I filled in.

I believed I would end this quest finding redemption, resolution, the shame written in the smallest corner of the page spinning it’s way to freedom.

It would take four years. Two countries. Two states and two provinces. And many grey moleskin journals to help me not forget.