I can’t remember the last time I had a vacation—a vacation from a structured life, cultural expectations and social mores, a vacation from hours spent living for someone else. I have been as a chameleon, brilliantly colored but ever destined to mimic the shades of those it is closest to.
“Who is marieke when she is not taking care of someone else?” my therapist once asked me. I didn’t have a response.
“What is your claim to fame?” a visitor to Gustavus once asked, and again I had no response.
What is it that defines a person? Is it big hair, personality, a tendency to walk into inanimate objects?
In the past year and half, I have begun to peel back the layers, but they are thick and numerous. I have peeled many layers, made many choices, and asked for things I felt I needed or wanted that I never would have asked for before.
In the past, had I learned of a writing workshop (or its equivalent), I would have first experienced excitement and a great yearning to attend, followed by a story I would tell myself with reasons why I couldn’t or shouldn’t go (I shouldn’t ask for time off of work, it is too expensive, I am not a real writer, and so on and so forth), concluded with submission, surrender, and defeat—all of this before ever even venturing forward to try and make the desire a reality.
In my 29th year, I have made many difficult, often painful decisions, many with far-reaching consequences, but I made them. And with each choice, I grow into myself, my body, my spirit, and my soul is lighter.
I am still wandering, wondering, and uncertain, but I am less fearful of the future because I will be there to create it.