There is a scene at the beginning of Wild in which Cheryl Strayed first realizes the gravity of her undertaking. Her pack is too heavy, she is ill-equipped, and only steps into a 1000-mile hike her face begins to betray anxiety and self-doubt. What have I committed myself to? What was I thinking? She trudges on, dropping F-bombs with every heavy step.
I watched the movie with a couple of friends last night, after a brief but cathartic review, if you will, of my recent revelations. And found parallels that weren’t supposed to be there.
Truth be told, that’s kind of where I am right now, a few miles in from the trailhead, questioning my wisdom and possibly my sanity.
I guess I knew, maybe, probably, that sharing this story would include moments of doubt. I just didn’t expect them yet. I imagined them surfacing when the first harsh, judgmental comment came. When someone was disappointed, when friends and family were something other than supportive. I did not brace myself to wake up less than 48 hours after posting, Jake and I both having received nothing but warmth and love and positivity, and still think, Well, THAT was a terrible idea.
Because I had convinced myself, sharing our story was not a part of the healing process for me. No, Jake and I, we’ve done our healing already. In our story, this is not a new chapter; it’s nothing more than an epilogue.
The healing process now was supposed to be for other people. Not us. We’re done with that part. Friends have messaged to check in, and I respond, Oh, no, don’t worry about me, I’m fine. I’m good. I feel great.
That’s what this was supposed to be. A story from years past, shared for the benefit of others. The account of a wound received and how it healed. A story of a scar.
No matter how intact and healthy it’s become over time, if you keep a scar covered up for years, it’s still going to be sensitive to sunlight when you first expose it.
And yet – I know this feeling, these moments of confidence and surety interwoven with nagging self-doubt and what-ifs. Knowing the right choice for our family, but letting fear creep in at the most unexpected times. Questioning my inner wisdom when it defies my understanding of societal convention.
Yep, because our first year after the affair was, well, exactly that. Confidence with doubt. Wisdom occasionally overpowered by anxiety. A constant steeling of the will bolstered by a prayer that we might be guided by love and not by fear.
I thought I was going to tell you all about what that was like, then.
Turns out, to some extent, we might just wind up living through it together.