I am changing in ways I could never have predicted

So I finally made it to and through Kingman and I felt incredibly proud of myself. I had not managed to line up a host in Kingman, and really also had not worked on it. I felt that I had spent so much time in Mohave Valley with Mary and Ed that it was time to move on. I figured I would be able to find hiding holes and I ended up right about that.

I was feeling something completely new and strange though. I have always been an introvert – best in small groups and fine in my own company, especially with an animal to keep me company. Large groups or areas with a lot of sounds or lights quickly overwhelm me, and even though I seem relaxed in these situations and know how to interact I simply get overwhelmed. I doubt this will ever change, but lately I have found my self wanting so much more contact with people and with more people. A coffee shop, a place with some music and a restaurant all call to me. I want to talk and connect with new people; to hear their stories and share mine. I no longer feel like hiding. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy quiet time and need plenty of it but something completely new is happening inside me and I don’t quite know yet how to handle it. I even thought of finding a spot with some music to hang out at for a few hours. I have no clue what I would do with The Cadillac though, and my travel clothes are not exactly party deck out, but well, this is also something I want to explore. As I walked through I spent two nights in Kingman, and both nights, uncharacteristically sought out busy areas and people before looking for my sleeping spot. In fact, it got late each evening before I found my spot simply because I longed to talk to people. I had also hoped that maybe a host would show so I could get a shower and a load of laundry done, but in spite of a couple of good conversations none did. Even more different for me – I want to meet guys. Again, this is not something I looked to do for about 15 years, but I feel ready and so open for it. Or, as I said to Maureen the other day – I am looking for just a little bit of trouble – guy trouble. This is in such extreme and sharp contrast to last year.

I tried to commit suicide in October last year. Before that I had slowly but inexorably slid into a state of feeling lost and terrorized. Everything was frightening, I was alone, vulnerable and I felt excruciatingly worthless. I was terrified of going outside my door, especially during the day. The light and being seen was terrifying. I stayed inside, on my couch, curled up in a ball and watched tv shows on my computer or slept. I couldn’t always afford food, but when I could I would prefer to pick it up after dark. My house was incredibly filthy and while I cared I didn’t have the strength to fix it. I saw myself break and feared – not without reason – that I would be unable to get myself back on my feet. I thought death would be better than an existence as a shadow of myself. That fall was a horror. One person I relied on in my life was furious at me for the suicide attempt, he simply could not forget it. Maureen – as the amazing friend she was –  worried about me, called daily and more times than I can count listened to me sob, both of us helpless to make a difference. She was in New York, I was in California; she couldn’t even give me a hug.

 I had to go to Denmark for Christmas. I always loved my Danish Christmas traditions so I was looking forward to that, but I also knew how horrifically weakened I was and feared having to be social and keep a brave face. Less than a week before my departure to Denmark the one local person I had relied on told me he never wanted to see me or talk to me again. He couldn’t handle the pain I was in and he couldn’t get over his anger at the suicide attempt. I was crushed, but did the only thing I could do – denied it. I knew I wouldn’t survive facing this fresh loss; it was excruciating. This was someone I depended on and trusted explicitly. I just realized tonight that three days ago marked the anniversary of that loss. Its been a strange few days as the anniversary has reminded me of the grief, yet at the same time I am all of sudden so much more ready to meet people.

The trip to Denmark went in many ways better than I feared. The last time I had been back there was my Grandmother’s funeral ten years before. Seeing all my Aunts and Uncles, a few old friends and my cousins was wonderful. I spent some time in Denmark going to old familiar places; taking the train, going to my favorite forest, going in to Copenhagen. These places were so deeply; intimately familiar I found tears in my eyes. I already knew all the buildings in Copenhagen, the turns in the train and the trees in “my” forest, the familiarity was overwhelming. I thought about how much easier my life in Denmark probably would have been, and in spite of that I knew in my bones that Denmark would never be home. The United States and California was and is home. It is not that I don’t love Denmark – I do. I drank in the familiar colors, sounds, smells. The old buildings. The smells and sounds of Christmas. The familiar faces of people I knew and loved all my childhood – now, like me all so much older yet still the same. And I grieved that I couldn’t make Denmark my home, but I couldn’t. In those moments of grief I remembered poignantly, painfully how different I felt as a child. How hard I worked to be the Danish girl my parents wanted and deserved and how alone I felt. My value was in being someone other than me. I felt worthless.

In those moments of deep familiarity, love and estrangement I started to forgive myself for being me. I can be none other.

And when I got back home the horror of my life as I had left it was waiting for me. The self acceptance was still only germinating, like a seed deep in the frozen ground. The loss of my one relationship sent me for another loop of worthlessness and horror. I tried suicide again, although this time the new self acceptance kept me from being as serious about it. Less than two months later the idea for this walk had germinated and started to take form.



4 thoughts on “I am changing in ways I could never have predicted

  1. Malene,

    You really couldn’t be doing anything better than what you actually are doing. This is the case even if you complete the journey and find yourself completely financially broke. Your spirit on the other hand will not be broke.

    What better antidote for the loss of the will to live then to learn to live through intense adversity, practiced daily, against the elements. The opposite of giving up is surviving. Your engaged in something related to survival. This is why I see it as an antidote. There’s a lot of yin & yang here. You couldn’t be doing anything better for your soul than this.

    • Hey Jeff, Yes, sometimes this walk is a physical challenge and it is growing my self confidence and self worth hugely. More than anything it is the land and the people I am meeting or talking to online that are helping me heal! I could never have predicted how intense this is though, but it is a good intense, although slightly overwhelming. Happy Holidays.

  2. God Jul 🙂 … Hvis du kunne finde en maade at få din “walk” til også at omhandle USA´s nationale gæld på, fx i form af at traekke en toiletrulle eller andet som symbol på fx x antal milliarder $ gæld.. ville du kunne linke både din egen overvægt sammen med en anden slags overvægt der kommer til at tyngde ufødte generationer i gældens lænker. Du er en smart pige så hvis du kan finde en måde at din tur besværliggøres i takt med gældens størrelse .. overvægt og gæld har egentligt ret meget til fælles hvis man tænker nærmere over det… mediemæssigt vil det eksplodere hvis du evner at håndtere denne måske umulige udfordring… anyway god jul 😉

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