A stranger saw the void.
After several phone conversations in July, I got swept up in a whirlwind of emotion, introspection, and confusion. In an effort to learn what drives someone else, I found myself staring inward, studying the very composition of my own heart. This man took what he saw inside me and turned it around, like some sort of disco dance tune from the 1980’s, that keeps spinning on the 8-track.
In the time it took to go on a single date, I was doing one of three things: entering a warmly supported self-study, falling in love, or facing a psychological trap — a manipulative trap that was premeditated and set up with the tactics from a misguided strategy.
Guess which one it was.
A man stared into the void, and what did he see? Everything. He saw this woman, rendered naked before him, tears slipping through her mascara, eyes begging for answers to life’s toughest questions. He saw the stark emptiness that stands deep inside me, the dark void that echoes like a cave, no matter how many different waves of love try to wash in from the lake.
But here in Michigan, I’m surrounded by surviving family, new friends, fellow writers and potential romances who care for me, albeit we are forced to avoid each other in a global pandemic. Still, the cave in my heart was carved out long ago, and my attempts to fill this cavern with my own version of a full life have left me wanting.
This guy measured me, identified my weaknesses, and in his unprofessional opinion diagnosed all the things I was doing wrong in my life. It was like he declared emotional war, challenging me in one breath to both be vulnerable with him and to resist marrying him someday. I couldn’t believe this guy!
But I wasn’t born yesterday. And I’m learning to recognize the wounds that make a woman or a man less than whole. So, I beat the rockstar at his own game.
How was I able to become such a warrior when confronted at my weakest state? My open heart stands upon an old soul, rooted in the power of nature that exists everywhere around me. Mine is an embattled heart that has been forced to take a stand in defense of estranged parents, deceased family, broken bonds, distant siblings, empty souls, and failed romance.
Take a stab at this heart. I dare you! I’m no stranger to this battlefield.
Yet, I was relieved to realize over the last week that the natural world still holds more power than any woman or man. Racing as fast as I could to escape from every pain that haunts me, I traveled thousands of miles in one week. I brought myself to my own limits. I stood to face my own fears. And I found the courage to go it alone, hiking daunting wilderness trails with no one but nature to support me.
The void? Well, this Earth lays claims to caves that are deeper. To mountains that stand taller. To lakes that threaten our brazen nerve, as humans, with their unfathomable depth and their sheer strength.
At the End of the Earth, I saw my own void. And I took it back. I reclaimed it.
Whatever personal losses I still have to recover from, these darknesses are mine. These are my twilights. This is my dusk. Entrusted to my own intuition, I know I can find my own light.