free

On Saturday morning, I attended two events I’d begun the day considering nearly identical.

Initially considering them identical, I showed up the exact same way for each. I was then perplexed to leave one feeling buoyed but the other dismayed.

For the remainder of the morning, I puzzled over the unexpected difference. What was the source of that gap?

When I figured it out, I was flabbergasted by the simplicity of the answer.

I was delighted, too. The answer to that question was also the answer to broader, pain-filled questions about my own incomprehensible-to-me behavior that have been plaguing me since October.

Most delightfully, my answer wasn’t only a “what” answer (what’s going on here?) but also a “how” answer (in any context, how do I now behave in ways that feel okay to me?).

I felt … free.

Some of my least favorite words in the English language are, “Explain yourself.”

For the first fifteen or so years of my life, my efforts at explanation never sufficed and were thus punished.

I thus poured myself into finding just the right words. Maybe, if I just tried a little harder, I could find the right ones to set things on a different course.

That’s not how it works, but–until Saturday morning–some part of me has always believed outcomes might have differed had I ever timely found the right words.

On Saturday morning, freed from the illusion the problem was ever my failure to find and proffer the right words, I found something beautiful in its stead:

Internal quietude.

I don’t need the right words.

Indeed, I don’t want to waste one more second of my life seeking them from trained compulsion, though I may sometimes happily pursue them for simple want of them for my own clarity.

Now relieved of the need to keep answering that no-longer-asked prompt to explain myself, I can,

quite simply, guided by Saturday’s newfound understanding,

trust myself, whenever, wherever, to say as much or as little as then suits me–

setting down the search for the perfect words, and instead enjoying the immense goodness of not feeling I need them in the first place.

Having set down that heavy load, I find:

I am …
free.

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