I’d like to make honesty the core of this post. I don’t want to do this if it isn’t going to be authentic. I don’t want to omit or falsify any experiences. I’m writing this with a side of liquid courage (it’s Saturday, so whatever) and I promise to be as truthful to you as I am to myself.
The drive out to this location added to the magic–it was an easy hour of winding backroads through small town centers and sprawling farmland. I typically suffer from unrelenting road rage, but today I genuinely enjoyed being in the car. I placed all of my faith in my GPS and hoped for the best. Luckily, I arrived exactly where I wanted to be.
This entire week felt like a failure. I caved into the emotional dependency that I’ve avidly tried to escape, and I can’t shake the feeling that I’ve let myself down. I intended for this project to be sacred and private, but I willingly let the very person in that I’ve been trying to keep out.
As I write this, I grapple with the idea that even though I’ve permitted him into this mental space, that I still have the ownership of my own experiences and my own solitude. I’ve become primitively protective of my experience, and the thought of anyone taking it from me sends me into this intense mode of mother bear-esque behavior. This is mine.
Doubts aside, I parked my car and followed the sounds of water. The falls were much closer than I expected, and they greeted me as soon as I stepped onto the trail.
Feeling a bit giddy, I tried to get as close to the water as I could. The trails were lined with “thou shall not pass” (not really, but pretty much) signs and strange roping. Keeping with the theme of honesty…I completely ignored all of the signs. As soon as I found the right spot, I dipped beneath the roping and carefully made my descent to the bottom. It was slippery, probably dangerous, and abso-fucking-lutely worth it.
I continued along the bank and climbed onto rocks that jutted out onto the water. The sun was lowering into the sky and made the water twinkle. I went up and down the small slopes that led me to and from the edge of the water, carefully placing my boots and walking stick into each welcoming groove.
The rest was perfect. The temperature hit 60 and I was able to hike 2.5 more miles. I made my way past the falls and through to the bike trails, taking my time in my race against the setting sun. I never felt lost or unsure, and my trek back to the car was seamless.
So, why the feeling of uncertainty?
The whole point of this was to reclaim a space in my brain, and I guess I’m feeling like I failed at that. As hard as I tried to quiet my mind, I didn’t succeed. I left with the same thoughts I entered with.
However, I did it alone. I drove alone and I walked alone, and I slipped on a mossy rock and panicked alone. I drank in the sunshine alone and I fought with myself alone. I left alone, and I’m alone now. There is some success in that.
These waterfalls don’t give a shit about my romantic life, or any other aspect of my life for that matter. They’re just there and they keep going, regardless of what happens around them (aside from our severe lack of concern for the environment–but I won’t go there right now). They offer beauty and perspective and ask for nothing in return. There is a lesson to be learned in that.
I’m not sure what the week ahead will bring, but I hope it’s lonelier. Thanksgiving will bring family and friends, but I hope it brings peace in independence along too. I miss me and I want to get back to me. I don’t know if that makes much sense, but it’s the only way I know how to say it.
Final thoughts: Sometimes, it’s okay to ignore the signs. Protect what’s yours. Acknowledge the bad days and plan for better ones. DO go chasin’ waterfalls (sorry, TLC).