I had an odd, and unsettling flashback last night, all because of a sweatshirt. yes, a sweatshirt. After showering I pulled out my favorite sweatshirt, fresh and warm from the dryer, and slipped it over my smoothly scrubbed skin. The flashback? 9 months ago, on a dark, frigid winter night, I donned the same sweatshirt, warm from the dryer, preparing to climb into my cold bed, in my cold house. I was overwhelmed with the realization that it was the closest thing to a warm, hug I had felt in over 5 months. I cried. Cried out of despair, desperation, abject loneliness. Alone. So alone, and fearing I would be alone forever, that I was not worthy of a warm loving embrace. Yes, I had hugs from family and friends, and love, but that is not the same as being cradled in loving arms. I climbed into my cold bed and wept. And wept. I can't say I cried myself to sleep, because I was not sleeping much at that time. I can't even say I cried myself into exhaustion, because I apparently have superhuman stamina when it comes to abject weeping. I can't even say that this was an unusual or atypical scenario. It is no great secret that night after lonely night I lay in my dark room, silently crying, sobbing, body wracked with shuddering spasms of grief and loneliness. I was bereft. But that moment, the warm sweatshirt induced despair, sent me along a path that only prolonged my grief. It led me to a misguided attempt to recapture what was long past and dead. My fear of eternal loneliness dredged up feelings that were best left alone, untouched, past and forgotten. But fear makes people do astonishing, and unwise things. I can't say I am sorry for my actions over the ensuing month, I do not regret my misguided attempts. But I am honestly grateful for my failure. This turned into a prime example of failure being the best possible outcome, allowing me to have a deeper understanding of the path that was right for me. My True Path. It finally let me step clear of the rutted path I had been slogging along on for far too long, in endless circles, revisiting the same scenes, straining against the same obstacles, exhausting myself, expending far too much energy to get nowhere at all. But that night, in the warm sweatshirt, I felt as if my life had been drained of color, energy, warmth, affection. And I wept. Bitterly, painfully, disconsolate, despondent, defeated, abjectly heartbroken. I wept through the night.
Last night, in the warm sweatshirt, all this came flooding back. But without the visceral impact it might have had even a few months ago. Instead I remembered that night, what now seems like an eternity ago, almost as if it happened to another person. It came back more like a scene from a movie, or paragraph in the story of a fictional me. It did not evoke strong emotions, just the realization of how far I have come. Where I am now versus where I was then. It is a different life for me now. A new life. Far removed from the forlorn, demoralized, weepy mess that lay in the darkness feeling abandoned and alone. I stood stock still for a moment, marveling at the difference, the 180 change. What I was, where I was, who I was, a few months ago. And now, having returned to my true self, my true being, on my true path, leading me into a new life, a new world, new adventures. I was, quite honestly, amazed and thrilled to be reminded of just how far I have come in such a short time. Amazed at how far I have come, what I fought through, the tough choices, the brutal impact of those choices, my Trial By Fire. At times like that, I amaze even myself. I do love my life.