An indelible mark has swept over me by the memoir, “Wild” written by Cheryl Strayed, a memoir resonating in a heartfelt, self-identifiable way. She speaks of “alone” as being a place in which she could retreat to and be who she really was, a concept I know well. This aloneness has served me in life, perhaps as an escape, but more as a haven of safety, a dwelling of non-conformity, an enabling of the self to remain intact. To inwardly blossom among the trees that frightened me, and fostered becoming exactly as they, I retreated into myself to a place where the aloneness could carry me, gathering my essence of love and self acceptance. There I sometimes remained, unable to cross into social interaction that threatened my self identity. To display my true being was a vulnerability that I often chose not to bare. Yet when I did, I came armed and dangerous to the opposing judgment that sought to destroy the inner me. It was not an intentional battle from I or my opponent, but one of soul survival.
In venturing outward, I hatch myself into the world, birthing a freedom within the limited alone space. My vulnerabilities, a weapon of connection with others, strengthens me when displayed gradually and carefully among a trusted crowd. This enriches my soul, enhances my life, and engraves my inner light to shine brighter. Yet when the world feels overwhelming, exhausting, indulging in fear, I still retreat into the “alone,” a room that protects and grants me peace, when needed.
“Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.” – Cheryl Strayed from “Wild”