View from the Dragonfly’s Back 

MomsGetReal Soulfeeder Chris Wilcox

Yesterday morning, I was flipping through one of the dozens of emails I get everyday that I rarely read – you know, those email lists you sign up for because one day a million years ago another version of yourself found resonance in something that was said – and I saw one that said “Your year’s almost up! Let’s assess.”

My mind did one of those hazy whirlpool effects that we used to see on 1980’s sitcoms when they would do a flashback. For real.

I read the title again. While it still said, “Your year’s almost up! Let’s assess,” in my mind it said “You failed. You ass.”

A year ago, I was sitting at a home this many miles away from my past and current Point A:

I was in the heart of Fort Worth. I had every intention of staying there.

I had just started Doing Things that were What I Wanted to Do. After all, that was the reason that I moved 1,566 miles away – to be selfish. To make decisions that were for me and the life I wanted to live. I started three or four classes for things I was interested in. I walked the dogs on the warm fall evenings and envisioned the life Doing Things I Wanted to Do.

And then I wrote in my journal about this life that I wanted, and I ended it with something like “My Goal is to Live My Purpose.”

And slowly life, like pebbles  dropped into a half-full glass of water, started making that happen. Problem was, my purpose wasn’t What I Thought I Wanted It To Be.

My work escalated – the work that was fine and that paid the bills but that I had stopped loving. And I said to myself that it would be okay. That as long as I stayed grounded and centered, that I could Get Through This. I could put on my Fairy Wings and grab the Unicorn by the mane – I would write every week as a way to stay on track. I could and would Get Through This because I knew What I Wanted to Do.

40 hour weeks became 60 hours that could easily have reached 70 or 80, and occasionally did. My ability to stay grounded circled around being able to wake up in the morning, and with every passing moment, the only thing I could see at the center of anything was a pile of Things that Needed to be Done. And since my job also happens to be writing, doing anything that involved staring at a keyboard and screen was like a bus man’s holiday – it became something I couldn’t even think of doing. And then the piles of “I Wants” became a trash bin I labeled “You Should’ves” and every day, I stacked another Thing I Wanted to Do in the can, a reminder that I had again failed myself, just like I’d failed every diet, relationship, and self-improvement class. I let my “I Wants” get muffled and silenced by the onslaught of “I Have To’s.”

In doing so, I declared War on myself. Everything I did was stupid, wrong, or draining. Everything, said the voice in my head, was wrong. And all my fighting would never make it right again.

It finally occurred to me that everything I was dreading, hating, not accepting could actually be central to my purpose. And that thought was akin to a bleach cocktail after cheesecake with cyanide sauce.

I thought, in all of this, the dragonflies had abandoned me – when in reality, like being pushed out of the nest, they had taught me to fly, but letting them fly for me would do nothing to strengthen my wings. I had to fly on my own.