I thought the day was about endings and beginnings, and reclamation. I had lived my life a long time thinking that something had to end before something new could begin. I learned that actually, the moment we ask for something new to come into our lives, the things we no longer need begin to end, sometimes without our knowing it. I wasn’t really sure the moment I asked to become Kate, but I knew this morning was the moment I was letting go of anything that remained, so that I could grab ahold of whatever new awaited.
The beach was a physical manifestation of my journey, as well as my destination. I was awestruck by the stunning beauty that was before me. Water crashing, winds blowing, trees and limbs strewn about the beach. The waves were there to carry away any remaining notion that I had to live my life in any way other than the one I had chosen. I kicked off my Ugg boots, and cuffed my jeans. I was instantly freezing and tried to shake off the cold. She sent me east, away from her and asked me to walk the shoreline toward the shorter pier. With my back to the camera, I padded down the beach. I swore and yelled as I cursed the weather and chided to “bring it on.” A wave crashed over my feet and soaked my jeans. I spotted some gulls; my mind went back to the times when I was a little girl and my dad let me run on the sand and chase them. I imagined a warm, sunny day as I took off after them, finding laugher and delight as they took flight, and with that, forgot about the conditions around me. I turned around and half expected to see my dad…
I climbed up onto the pier. A huge wave crashed down over me, and I was completely soaked from head to toe. I fought the cold and let my mind take me back to Maui and what I found on the cliffs and waterfalls that day. I realized this was my baptism, celebrating my arrival into the wholeness of me. The wind blew through me just like it had on the cliffs. The wind and water purified and cleansed me, over and over again.
I stood there, absolutely fearless, and realized the purpose of this moment. It was about surrendering and accepting that I had irreversible flaws in my life; and that didn’t make me damaged or broken, it made me unique and beautiful. It was about forgiving my ego, once again, and expressing gratitude that it had carried me through a horrific storm and allowed my heart to return me safely to shore. This morning was about trusting in the universe, that it creates the absolute right circumstances and is ready to support and protect me, no matter what the condition. It was about living with the quiet assurance that there would be a hand to grab hold of, in the moments I needed help. This was a reminder of the tenacity of my will every time I made a choice to live into my recovery and not rebound into my addiction. This moment was an unabashed testimony and call to embrace the imperfections and scars that lived within me and to find the beauty in the raw and unconstructed nature that is life.
That’s when I realized, it was more than reclamation, it was embodiment. I wasn’t trying to restore anything. I was allowing everything that was in me to remain and I was going to step forward into my life. This was a deliberate act to fully restore my heart and embrace the completeness of me. The scars and imperfections are a permanent imprint on my soul and proud badges from my journey. This wasn’t about taking something back, because I didn’t need anything back. I would carry it always and it was my choice and mine alone as to how I would allow everything that happened to me, to live within me for the rest of my time here on earth. This wasn’t a re-birth; this was a birth.
… off the pier, changed into the warmer sweater and took a few moments to sit on a fallen tree by the water’s edge. I considered the magnitude of the moment as a fitting representation of the stormy chaos of my childhood. I thought about that night back in 2009 when I decided I didn’t want to die. The journey had been long, and sometimes painful and frightening, but I was here, and ready to live. I thought about every moment I had wanted to give up and didn’t; every time I didn’t think I could do something, and I did it anyway. Every instance I listened, trusted, and accepted what life was asking me to do, I was delivered closer to my goals and aspirations. Every turn outward rather than inward, to ask for support and help was met with an extended hand. I grabbed the necklace and slipped my dad’s ring onto my index finger. I heard my laughter as a little girl, twirling in the water on a warm summer’s day. This was my heart’s journey, and we had finally arrived.