Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Choice in the Midst of Fear

Okay. Here is the thing. I am a very lucky girl. I get to have this huge group of people telling me "Go, Kate GO!" You guys have been SO amazing as I struggled through making it to the day that I could move to Aspen and start my new life.

I have gotten a LOT of emails telling me I'm brave, and that people are proud of me. And that feels really, really good. But I also feel a bit guilty about it.

Because lots of people move. There are 1400 people who work as ski instructors for the Ski Co alone, and I'll bet half of them have to move every season. It shouldn't be that big a deal! In fact, for me, this is my 28th move in 38 years. Its true. It should be par for the course. I like moving, its a great opportunity to edit your stuff and turn a new page and make new friends and have new adventures.

But I guess the deal is that I've slowed down with the moving in the last 13 years or so, I lived at the house where I had my kids for seven years, the longest I've ever lived in one place. Then, Tom and I lived in this house in Bozeman for five years, the second longest I've lived in one place.

So as I have this discussion with myself, I can see that it does take some courage to separate from a long, unhealthy relationship, and untangle that ball, pull myself free and learn to grow back into me. (Let me please make it clear here that I do not blame Tom for our mess, it was a mutual mess.) And I'm not scared about moving the kids, but I realize that what's different THIS time, is all the times I've hopped in the car and moved to a new town and started a new adventure, I've never had two little lives and futures hanging in the balance. So getting it right is scary.

I think we are going to be just fine. Driving through the dark into Salt Lake, this drive that is so familiar to me now, I felt those sticky fingers of complacency easing, and I saw my future and possibility opening ahead of me. I know that its easier to stay with what's known, even if its isn't what could be, or what is healthy, or what is right.

Stepping out of the comfort of the known, even if the known is bad for you, is hard. This is why people stay in bad relationships, in bad jobs, and give up on dreams. Because its so hard to believe that the unknown can be better. Talk about a leap of faith.

I once designed a sculptural entrance for a battered women's shelter (specifically for victims of sexual abuse). It was a bridge over a river, and the building was situated on the other side of the water. The bridge was made of glass on the side closest to the parking area. To get to the shelter, to begin your new life, you had to step out onto this clear surface that didn't look solid. Like stepping into thin air. Every step you took toward the shelter the bridge became more opaque as sand was mixed into the glass. By the other side, the bridge was solid concrete encased in steel. (The piece hasn't been produced yet... I'd love to get that made.)

It was designed to mirror the feeling that you have when you choose to break an old pattern and do something differently. Even if you can see the building on the other side, stepping towards it means letting go of things that made you feel safe even if they hurt you. Even if there was a terrible cost to them. Being brave enough to trust those on the other side of the river, to walk faithfully toward them. Every single step gets easier.

I think we have the opportunity to go through life like this all the time. Every day. Several times a day. Trying new foods, skiing new runs, making new friends, walking a new way to work, starting a new business, writing down your thoughts, leaving your spouse, letting new love in.

Okay, I think I got all that out of my head, I have no idea how coherent it is, but I've got to get back on the road! Time to be brave (although I don't have to be as brave today as I did yesterday, because my bridge is filling in with sand.)

OOH! Ps. Someone remind me to write the post on Choice in the Midst of Fear as it relates to depression and things like that... I promised Amy I would...

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