On Turning 29

fullsizeoutput_fedWhen I think of myself as a child, a day at the park comes to mind. Five or six years old, I climbed the Jungle Jim, which clanked beneath my feet. I reached the peak, put my hands on the rail, and leaned forward as if to listen. 

I closed my eyes. I put my face to the sky. I stood still for a moment. I felt the wind carry my stringy hair and heard it bang in my ears. 

Softly, surely, I said to my friend, “it’s going to rain.”

Later at home,
when I looked out the window,
to my amazement,
the skies poured.

. . .

Birthdays jolt me into reflection.

When I look back at the past year, I feel like I embodied the Queen of Swords, whispering “bring it” to my Saturn Return. 

Oh, the universe brought it.

At one point or another, every external part of my life halted. My career, my relationship, my friendships, my network, my apartment, my plan.

I don’t believe a shattering existential crisis is necessary for growth, but I’m so grateful the pieces fell this way for me.

This year brought me back to myself.

I catch myself saying things like “I’m making my little-girl-self very happy.” “I’m just becoming who I was when I was little.” “Little RaDonna would be so into this.”

Smaller version of me would also geek out about purple hair, but there’s a feeling I get when I think about who I was when I was little.

A resounding knowing of myself, then and now.

. . . 

To look at photos of myself as a child, was to see a ghost of self. 

The person holding the photos, and the person in them felt so contrary. I could watch my essence disappear in them as I got older. It’s nothing anyone else could identify, and in fact, I was often described as confident, expressive, strong.

But there was always something missing. 

Without truly knowing it, I longed for the feeling of the intuitive, independent little girl listening to the wind. I wished I had what that girl did.

. . .

It has taken me a long time, but finally, after digging and excavating and banishing, I found her.

I found her underneath the suffering of being violated. 

I found her underneath the stifling pain and punishment of growing up imperfect.

I found her underneath all of the negative patterns my blood passed on to me.

I found her underneath the hallow security of privilege.

Deeper still, I found her underneath all of the mud and muck of a toxic personal narrative.

This year I plowed through layers of what I thought was preservation.

I thought I was keeping her, myself, safe, if I hid behind the walls built by my conditioning.

All it really did was keep a distance between me and my greatest self.

Still, beneath all of it, I was there.

As I walk into the final year of my 20s, I acknowledge one thing:

I’m becoming who I was before the world told me who to be. 

When I say, “I’m making my little-girl-self very happy.”  “I’m just becoming who I was when I was little.” “Little RaDonna would be so into this.”

That is what I mean.

I’m becoming the soft sureness of a sweet and sour child.

I tip-toed around it for almost 30 years, but now I step into my personal power.

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This year deepened my relationship with myself. It brought me closer to important people in my life, viewing them with a new lens. It inspired a relationship with my personal belief system, and reconnected me with my purpose on this Earth. It pushed me to develop a personal practice with tarot, reiki and meditation, all of which I need to work on and evolve on regular basis. It made it possible to become comfortable with learning uncomfortable lessons. This year made me realize that the older I get, the less I truly know; this makes me eager to explore, and truly look forward to reaching another year.

If one thing is for certain: this work is not done. There is more to uncover, more to learn, more mistakes to be made. All of it will bring me closer to my truth.

Reintroducing myself to many of you, I advocate:

Healing and growth come from navigating dark places. When you’re ready, get yourself a support system, and get spelunking.