By Missy E.
I've found myself slowly turning the volume up on my own personal (writing) voice. Towards the end of 2021, I began publishing editorials, which are opinion-based pieces structured upon supporting facts or statistics. In all my years of being a professional writer, there was this new voice which had the freedom to just explore and take flight. It's safe to say I'm enjoying the newfound freedom and opportunity, not holding any qualms to other people's opinions of it.
This confidence didn't come overnight, but it trekked through the trenches for years - which is to say, like a famous line from the Disney movie "Finding Nemo" - just keep swimming. It's a metaphor to carry-on, continue the process that is the present, for there is wisdom, knowledge and experience on the other end, even though it might not seem like it.
Here's a profound excerpt from novelist and writer James Baldwin, that serves as a proper intermission to my next topic.
"The earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out." - Baldwin
You see, I like to think that what I'm going through, what we all should strive to go through, is some type of growth. I'm internalizing how throughout the multitude of shifts and shoves that life throws at us, we have a personal responsibility to ourselves and to our greater community, to become the best versions of ourselves. That's not an overnight recipe - but once again - just keep swimming.
I've found that within this time, life will continue to show the constancy of reoccurring deaths and resurrections. The COVID-19 pandemic brought about so many lessons - whether as a nation and as a person. We were emblazoned by social injustices, racism, inequality and a bankrupt system that kept that status quo intact. Throughout that time, I realized how precious every single day was - because it wasn't guaranteed. That bled into friendships and the authenticity behind them.
Every single one of us could have easily have perished during the early days of the pandemic, pre-vaccine. So when the days of social rendezvous that brought us in surface-level circles was completely eradicated out the picture, I realized, how silly some relationships probably were. The pandemic rearranged priorities, it brought about clarity and it showed a lot of people's true colors.
I often wonder how come history books didn't add that Jesus' miracles included maintaining 12 really close friends (apostles). I laugh to think I could too. But that is far from a loss, but a freedom from the reigns of what ultimately doesn't serve me as I grow. It's self-sabotage to clip a butterfly's wings after it outgrows its cocoon. Yet, shedding our old skin and letting go of friendships that no longer serve this chapter of life, isn't void of mourning some kind of death. This was what I meant by the constant deaths and resurrections.
The deaths bring out new life. Trust me. But it doesn't mean it won't sting as we outgrow our old clothes. My motto for the letting go of attachment runs as: "No Love Lost" and I believe it. The times spent in those past stages required certain people and in those times, it was necessary and it was beautiful. It was needed until it wasn't. But no love lost.
I recently sprained my ankle after a silly, clumsy fall where I missed a step. Thankfully, my dad was able to hold me while my mom frantically asked a million questions out of natural concern. In life, we will dance, and in life, we will clumsily fall. It's about the people who pick you up in the end.
That being said, thanks to one of my dear friends for picking me up and being my chauffeur when plans failed because of that sprain. In true friendship fashion, we still had a blast!