Advice I’d Have Given Myself

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.– Rilke

I’m returning to Yellowstone tomorrow for Playmill Theatre’s 50th Anniversary. It’s remarkable that I worked on that stage half my life ago. It’s mind-boggling to consider the girl I was. I’m so glad I made it! I learned to dance in the Question Mark. I love my life!

I never thought I’d hear myself say that.

It’s symbolic, this trip, in profound and timely ways. Then, I was just out of my teens and my parents’ house. I was endlessly tortured, at all times terrified. My friends were mean girls, who, like me, used their clever tongues to ridicule others and cut them down. Now, I’ve celebrated entrance into mid-life. Really celebrated. I celebrate every day! My friends are the tried-and-true, who call on me to be my best self and help me be her. They, too, are very smart and quick-witted, but they’re good and nice and only a little wicked.

I love that this reunion takes place in my 40th year. The full thrust of the drastic shift in my world- and self-views has never been more delicious than it is now. I’m planning private time in the Park to do some healing on specific incidents that took place there on 2 separate occasions with 2 different sets of people, both recent and both catastrophic. There’s so much stain on my Yellowstone that I’m ready to let go. When I considered the praying and writing I anticipate there, I was amazed to connect the trauma of my early life to those unrelated altercations. How curious that I participated twice in vulgar, relationship-ending dramas in this place I revere as so sacred. Perhaps there’s more to each circumstance than what was taking place inside me at the time.

Growing up, horrible things were happening to me. When I reflect on my childhood, I find that most girlhood joy and sweetness reside in Yellowstone, with my Grandpa, with the cabin and the beautiful, wild earth. But in my real life, horrible things were happening to me! I felt powerless and out-of-control. I was scared to death and angry. In my mind, I’ve posited the role of savior on Yellowstone, but I let my demons live there, too!

I really think there might be something to this. I think there may very well have been tension built up inside me that was accidentally tied to that place. I brought all of me there, every time. Even as recently as 2010.

I have work to do. I’m going home to reclaim my pristine, savage wilderness.


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