The remainder of my trip felt as though a weight had been lifted. I felt as though I had different blood running through my veins, electrified and charged. I was in my young 30’s but I felt as though I was at the starting gate.
I saw amazing things on my trip, everything took on a more powerful and sentimental meaning. I visited Devils Tower for the first time, taking time to observe the prayer bundles that were tied to tree branches, dancing on the wind. Some had opened and released, the tie worn out, the prayer they once held inside to be carried to the Higher Power. I felt like that bundle, I knew my heart had been opened and all of my wishes and desires for a new way of being were being carried on the wind.
Driving East that year became a definitive part of my memory. We meandered home that year, leaving me more time to think and sort. While I was driving I glanced in the rearview mirror, the road was empty to other traffic both in front of and in back of us. When I glanced in the rear view, the sun was setting over the mountains behind me. It was blazing orange, like the wild flames of a bonfire, outlining the grandeur that I had taken in for three weeks. I knew right then I would forever be grateful to Wyoming for bringing me to my center, for reminding me of my roots.
“But when you get among such grandeur you get to feel how little you are and how foolish is human endeavor, except that which reunites us with the mighty force called God.”~ E.P.S
I still had work to do when I got home. Over the next year, I regained control of my life bit by bit. I stood up for myself, but stopped arguing. Heated, nasty arguments had become the mode of communication in my home, and it was never my personality. I refused to be defensive or to let barbs thrown my way lessen my worth. I grew stronger with my path clearly ahead of me, not mapped out by roads and paths but a compass with the direction pointed out. It was not an overnight transformation but it felt quite literally like the light at the end of the tunnel. If you’re finding yourself in need of an awaking, please know this: it doesn’t come easily or quickly. But I had a direction and was collecting tools along the way, and that was enough for me.
I was careful not to cast too wide a net. I knew that no matter how impatient I was to begin on my new road, I needed to do it the right way. I love my kids, and I loved my husband, no matter what we had become. We weren’t in love anymore, and despite our deep issues, he had been my constant over 13 years. Not to mention that my life was about to be turned completely inside out.
I took baby steps. I worked on my finances, so that I knew I could support the kids and I. I left my high stress, high paying job to be closer to home and to my kids, we would need each other. I also turned to hobbies that kept me closer to the person that I had discovered out West: the simple, non materialist person that differed greatly from who I had become during my marriage. I stopped the counseling and antidepressants that I’d be doing off and on for years. I simply didn’t need them. Despite the tumult coming my way, I was happier than I’d been in years.
After a while, I asked for a divorce. He moved out and all but disappeared for many months. The kids and I got back to being “us”, a happy threesome that lived quietly and simply while adjusting to our new life. It had its difficult times and still does, but that’s life. I lost my home in the process because of a mortgage company error on the part of Bank of America. I spent time in court hashing out visitation and support once he came back onto the scene. There have been bumps and bruises, but as I continued to walk my path I retained one motto (Live with Grace) and continued to take baby steps. Sometimes they were leaps, but sometimes they were me just pulling myself tooth and nail on to the next step. I figure they average out at baby steps.
Fast forward four years and you’ll find me writing this from my RV, on my way home from revisiting my Wyoming for the first time since the beginning. You’ll find me smiling much more than I frown, laughing with my kids and enjoying practically every facet of my life. We spend almost every free moment travelling, seeing new places and enjoying the small things. This is us, atop Sawtell Peak in Idaho. The Three Musketeers.
The kids and I spoke a good deal about our first trip and this one, making small comparisons but mostly enjoying our beautiful life. We talked about how I’d come to Wyoming looking for a fresh start almost 100 years exactly after my great grandmother had done so, and the coincidence of that. Except that I don’t really believe in coincidence. I believe that once we take control of our lives and gain clarity, when we stop being a victim of our own lives, that we are always exactly where we are supposed to be. And we THRIVE.
Those days of arguing and anger, depression and loneliness are light years behind me now. And I never, ever regret my decision to leave my ritzy job, my troubled relationship and my old life behind. Our inner voices may our own narrative, those of the people in our lives or even those that came many years before we did. But they are uniquely and beautifully our own.
“At the same time, any woman who can stand her own company, sees the beauty of the sunset, loves growing things and is will to put in as much time at careful labor as she does over the washtub, will certainly succeed; will have independence, plenty to eat all the time, and a home of her own in the end.” ~E.P.S