That one leaf
that was green yesterday,
is bright auburn with paths of orange
we're able to sit and enjoy the view.
The process of becoming something even more wonderful,
and all in a day.
I think just watching,
I might have changed too.
October 24th, 2017
You know when you experience a heartbreak or a loss, and the pain is so incredibly unbearable, that you never think you’’ll make it out?….Only you do. You do make it out. But it’s not until you've actually made it out, that you realize that you have. And then one day, you’re like “Holy shit. I made it.”
Our first night in Nantahala. Once we got all tucked into our new home, I knew it would be dark soon, and I really wanted to explore and go for a hike. I went down to the foot of the mountain and saw the sign for the trailhead of the Appalachian Trail. It’s a 6 mile uphill hike to an overlook. Totally unplanned, I couldn’t have been more thrilled to hike a piece of this trail!
It seemed almost ironic, or meant to be in a way. See, it’s has been calling on my heart to complete this Georgia to Maine journey for awhile. Since last year, I decided I wanted to hike the full Appalachian Trail (in sections). I had planned on hiking the first section on my birthday this year, and made a goal to hike one leg of the trail for the next 12 years on my birthday. My ex boyfriend and I had planned it out last March. I didn’t want presents, I only wanted to hike a leg in of the AT at the starting point in Georgia. We had talked about it for months, had it all planned out for my birthday weekend. He decided the week of my birthday, that he no longer wanted to do it with me and left town to go to the beach last minute. I won’t forget him saying, “I’m not doing that anymore. I’m not even going to pretend like that sounds fun.” I remember my smile falling to the floor. I felt like I had done something wrong. That my dream was stupid, or that my idea wasn’t a good idea at all. Or most of all, that I stressed him out for being the way that I am.
As I stood at the starting point of that trail tonight, I flashed back to that moment. And the months that followed in that relationship, that did not work out. I thought about when I told him I wanted to live in Dottie off the grid for a month, and he replied “Wow. That sounds awful.” Or on a certain Saturday or Sunday when I mentioned that a hike and dinner sounded nice, and he would just groan. And on and on, each and every time I was shot down, I remember feeling apologetic. I remember feeling inadequate. I remember feeling stupid. I remember feeling lonely, as I stood right next to someone.
I headed up the trail at a steady pace. About every quarter mile, the incline began to grow and grow. The trail got super skinny at moments, covered with slick rained-on leaves. I nearly slipped and fell a few times. As I climbed that mountain, I thought about a lot of those moments, and the toxicity that those last few months of that relationship were. It’s tough, because I get it. Not everybody enjoys all of the same things. My dream, may not be the next person’s dream. But as I continued climbing, over that steadily increasing incline on that skinny path, I thought to myself:
Just because it isn’t your dream, doesn’t mean you have to hate on it.
There are dreamers, there are dream lovers, and there are dream haters. I have a lot of close friends and family members in my life who dream big. But some dream differently than I do. For perspective, I tried imagining my best friend Macy telling me something she LOVES and dreams of doing one day; something I simply do not relate to and do not understand. It doesn't sound enjoyable to me, and I reply with, “Ugh, that sounds terrible.”
I believe that response would break Macy’s heart. It would break anyone’s...See, it may not be my dream, but that doesn’t mean I should shoot it to the ground, rain on it, take away it’s magic. I may not understand Macy’s dream, but I will support it and love all over it and build it up, because it’s HERS—all hers. I want to be a dream lover to Macy, because Macy is a dreamer and I love her. Her dream really has nothing to do with me. It doesn’t need my approval.
I kept forging up that path, and I could feel my heart beating faster. That trail’s steep incline mixed with so many unraveling truths. I recollected those times, in which I felt stupid and inadequate; lonely. All for having an idea. And I have to say, I felt like a badass walking those miles up that trail. Here I am. I’m living off grid with Dottie for a month. Here I am, hiking a piece of this trail. For Haven, those dreams weren’t stupid. And for Haven, I’m making them happen.
Standing at the top of that mountain was simply serendipitous. I knew I was in the exact right place, at the exact right time. I knew that everything in that season of life happened, and not in vain. I looked over those mountains and the leaves undergoing a total seasonal transformation. I thought about the past few months, the heartbreak, trauma, and pain that I felt as that relationship (very dysfunctionally) ended. And in my mind, I noticed I was saying “was,” not “is.” about how it made me feel. And I thought “Holy shit. I made it.”