The Myth of the Rock and a Hard Place
When it rains, it pours…and the old adage can be taken literally in these mountains today, as we’ve had our first day of rain in weeks. The leaves drop their raindrop tears with every gust of wind and yes, yes, the springs are overflowing once again. But the old adage applies to the conceptual as well, and the past few weeks have accumulated a series of exhausting, yet telling, signs that seem worthy of examination.
By which I mean, one friend from the singing group has been at my throat with daggers and her personal agenda for three weeks running, and I’m about to give up on the friendship and the music altogether. Additionally, another friend spits fire at me when I try to surprise her with a check-in visit to see how she is doing. My visit is taken the wrong way and she hurls resentments, weeks-long grudges, and judgments at me from across her kitchen counter as if they were cutting knives and I the carcass. And last, my boss goes MIA in a move that looks suspiciously like a power struggle and an act to draw attention to herself—and act I refuse to partake in.
I am just trying to move forward in the best way possible. The singing friend is holding up the entire group with her wall of mistrust, egoism, and same-old same-old. The writing friend has built her wall of protection as a result of being too busy, too overworked, too left alone with all her work, and too unable to communicate her own needs to anyone. It’s hard to move forward with such forces slammed into my face and then, there’s been the added symbolism of wild animals running in front of my car, quite literally making it impossible to move forward. In the past 72 hours alone, all on separate occasions: 2 rabbits, one doe, two squirrels, one black cat, one dog, and a fawn all lept in front of my Volvo, two encounters of which led to screeching brakes, burnt rubber on the road, spilled coffee all over the dash, and—thank goodness—the narrow escape of their little animal lives.
Trying to move forward. Trying to carve out a new path—one where a girl can go on a date every once in a while with a new stranger, one where I am no longer restricted to being “from the old boarding school” or “from the intentional community” or “from the Montessori school” or “from the craft school.” A path where I can write fiction and dare to find a new voice in nonfiction. A path where I where my friends support my growth rather than buck against it or use it an excuse to form mistrust. A path where this is where I live (not just where I happened to stay), where this is where I am invested, where this is where I may become who I am going to be.
They always say you’re tested the moment after you claim something new for yourself. They say all the old and buried demons will come at you with startling know-how. I just never thought those demons would be in the form of my friends, nor did I ever think it would be so emotionally exhausting. Nor would I ever want to admit that it’s been a hindrance to my writing, my homework, my sleep, and my overall sense of well-being.
Hello walls, hello stubbornness, hello all things that stand in my way! I can see you now, how thin your bricks, how narrow your breadth, how false your ferocity. And guess what? I’m walking around you, moving on, hopping from stone to stone down a new path, one word at a time. Before you flinch and count my confidence as condemnation, look again—for you will see that as I hop I am also smiling, waving a hand at you, inviting you back when the world grows warm enough again.