On January 1st of 2017, I stood outside of a forest, observing, knowing that I would have to enter and trek through at some point. With a timid sense of being, I stepped into the tree-filled abyss. I didn’t know what would come of this journey. Would I be chased by wolves? Or would I chase with them? Would I fall through the ice of the small, no-name ponds and sink? Or would I bravely jump in and swim? 365 days of the unknown. But it didn’t matter what I didn’t know, it didn’t even matter what I knew; all that mattered was what I was going to learn.
2017 was filled with trial and error, accomplishment and joy, standing still, and running as fast as my legs and my soul could take me. Friendships blossomed, and losses doomed. But the phenomenon about 2017 that holds me in awe is that I never once stayed down. I constantly picked myself back up, brushed myself off, and kept attempting to find the elucidation as to why I was lost in this forest of perplexity. There had to be a reason, and finding it would be my way out.
To love oneself. It’s a complex theory; rather difficult to overcome. I went into the forest hating who I was and depending on others to help me find a glimpse of happiness. I was chased by wolves, and I fell through the ice many times and nearly drowned. But at the darkest point in the forest, at the point when I decided to succumb to the wolves, I was blinded by a beam of light through the trees. Just when I was at this lowest point did I realize that I let the forest control me. I let the forest control my emotions, when I would feel sad, or angry, or happy. I let my surroundings dictate me and convince me that I loathe myself. No more. The light that shown through the trees was love. Love for myself and everything that I am. My revelation filled me with the confidence to take control. I was in control of my forest. I knew this was the way out of the woods, and when I heard the wolves coming, I stood tall and I ran with them.
Others can’t fight the demons we have within ourselves. We have to fight our own.
So now, on January 1st of 2018, I stand at the edge of my forest, one step away from the final step out. My wolves, they aren’t vicious anymore, they’re gentle now; loving. With their tails wagging, they wait patiently behind me. I’m expecting to step back into civilization. Maybe onto asphalt, or concrete? Leaving my origin behind, I take the first step out of my fortress of trees. To my surprise my foot hits sand and I pull myself into the hot, dry atmosphere. The forest couldn’t teach me all that I need to learn, it is filled with leniency. The desert, however, is unforgiving. As I stand and stare into the dry, withering, landscape I am in awe and slightly nervous, yet exhilarated to learn the wisdom the desert has to offer. The challenges are just beginning. Life has just begun.
With a smile on my face, I run into the arid beauty.