Today is my twenty-fourth birthday. Cricket and I left shortly after dawn and went to hike my mountain.
We spent almost eleven hours on the mountain and it was both the best and hardest day I’ve had in a long time.
The last time I was here, I was twelve. That was half my lifetime ago, and it was before all the bad things happened.
Last night I wrote out everything bad — everything — from the last twelve years. I wrote it out and then I burned the papers and collected the ashes in a bag. I carried all those ghosts of myself with me up the mountain.
I sprinkled the ashes on the wind at the tree line.
I felt as though I was standing with the child I was before. The child who climbed this mountain twelve years ago had no idea what her future held. She was full of life and she felt like she could conquer the world.
I lost that feeling somewhere along the way, but I realized I had it again as I stood there today.
Hiking my mountain this time was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I’m still dealing with chronic health issues that made the seven-mile hike tricky at times, but the mental and emotional elements wrapped up in the trip were the hardest things to deal with.
Coming back down my mountain, my heart was full of light. I felt present and connected and I was so full of joy I couldn’t stop smiling.
I’m a writer. A storyteller. But I’ve never known how to tell my own story.
I don’t want to be seen as a victim. Even to be seen as a survivor often makes me uncomfortable, because I rarely see myself that way. I mostly see myself as a human who had hard battles to fight. There is more to my existence than the trauma and I’m at a point where much of my existence is outside of those experiences.
Some time ago I wrote a poem with this line; I don’t remember the rest of the poem but this line is engraved in my mind:
“Survival is not who I am; survival is what I did. When you speak of me, call me by my name.”
I am Annie.
I don’t know what lies ahead but I do know two things for certain: one, that I am loved beyond comprehension, and two, that at the end of this incredible journey called life, I’m going home.
11 Replies to “Twenty Four Years: reflection”
Beautiful. Happy birthday, Annie.
Love, love, love this. The future is bright because as you said, at the end of this journey called “life”, we will be going home. Bless you and happy birthday!
Beautiful, Annie. I’m so glad that your soul is a little lighter today. Happy Birthday.
Happy Birthday, Annie! So glad for the lightness in your soul and the bright future
Ahead of you. Thank you for your beautiful words and the stories you share.
What a wonderful, healthy attitude!! What a wonderful birthday present to yourself!! Happy Birthday Annie!
Looking forward to the chapters to come 😊
Happy birthday a day late! It does sound like you had a blessed day! May you enjoy many more before going “home” ❤️
Releasing the ashes of those experiences is very powerful, Annie. I’ve done similar and share your sense of lightness of being❤️🙏🏼❤️
He is Healer; He is Great; He is Good!
I lift my eyes to the hills…
Oh Annie! That last line got me crying again. You do that so well and I love it.