3 years. 3 years the fog has been so heavy, so thick that it has suffocated any desire to articulate typed words, vulnerable feelings, dreams or curiosities. There was a time that the pull to do so was similar to the moon’s pull on the tide, every word tugging me out to deeper, more mysterious waters that felt like coming home. In this fog that left me numb, there have been lighthouses in my life that have glowed so warmly, that I didn’t feel alone in this dense accumulation of fog. The warmth of their collective light would unthaw my numb skin, rattle my bones and make me feel alive again. As I drifted along, there would be moments, days even where I could see past the horizon and feel my mind race with beautiful wonderings and new ways of living and seeing. When this happened, it’s as if the 8-year-old Sydney with her freckles, long hair and dirty knees would run back and embrace me with the tenacity she exuded. Her naïve and challenging spirit, her awe of the Divine, world, space and ocean, her curiosity that was seldom cured with answers. Like waves, her spirit would wash over me and remind me of who I am.

Time has a way of trapping us into linear thinking, making us abandon the full spectrum and layers that make up the wholeness of who we are. Once we turn 20 something, it’s as if we try running as fast and as far away from our infancy when in actuality we still carry the newborn, the four-year-old, the eight-year-old and those difficult teen years with us, every day. They never leave us. In fact, I have come to believe they are more part of us then the present version for they have been around much longer. The eight-year-old Sydney holds so much more wisdom than the twenty-eight-year-old version and she is always there waiting to whisper the truth in my ear if I am present and hearing. I’ve missed her. I need her. I’ve spent a good amount of time grieving her, wondering where she was. She never left. My clarity did.

Before the fog settled, I enjoyed mimicking the moon and making waves which is just a nicer way of saying pissing people off. I used to say and write what was on my heart, I would ask the hard questions aloud, I would doubt louder and wonder without worry. Oh, how that naivety was crushed when those words typed or those words said aloud in sanctuaries were met with abrupt fear and opposition. I spent a good amount of time feeling sorry for myself and perpetually feeling misunderstood. I hadn’t realized yet, that my curiosities were bombs to other people’s structural beliefs and I was unafraid of dropping them. In fact, the more opposition I met the more tenacious I became. I became codependent on opposition. The more I was added to prayer lists for my salvation, the more I was inspired to keep pushing boundaries. It was fuel to my fire, and baby I was burning all the bridges. Breathing in all those fumes was toxic and eventually, I too got burned. Exhaustion. I so badly wanted people to just meet me half way, to just hear me and agree to disagree. It has taken me years to realize that not only will that deplete you of all your spiritual energy, it just isn’t fair or reasonable. The outcome of growing up in a spiritual progressive home and church is that when you explore outside of the nest it often results in naivety, loneliness and feelings of misunderstanding. When others have a much stricter framework to believe and reason from, the very nature of the conversation I was wanting to have was not even allowed…they had no way to bypass their belief structure. I did not know how to respect that until I was able to understand it better, but knowing didn’t make it any easier.

As frustrated as I was, I tried to operate with more tenderness and compassion and install healthy boundaries. I grew so weary of challenging the structures I was excited to rip apart and rebuild in a way that wouldn’t disturb the peace and upset others. I did not and still do not know how to hold the tension of my innate desire to change and challenge without hurting others. I have resorted to carefully calculating my words, planning my interactions and being over intentional with how I say and do things. I have spent an enormous amount of time avoiding interaction with others so I can bypass the exhaustion of over processing. In the midst of all of that, I buried myself in a fog so heavy that I’m operating more like a computer than my wild self. I miss living in the wild. I miss being free.

I feel the wild bubbling up though. I can feel the tingles of inspiration course through my mind. I am beginning to wonder (and wander) again. The eight-year-old Sydney has been singing in my ear and I can hear her again. She’s typing now. I’m ready to dance and journey towards wholeness. I’ve spent so much time shrinking, shutting up, trying to soften the blow of my personality for others, hoping it would somehow beckon people to meet me in the middle. It turns out though, that’s not my responsibility. I’m not dimming my light anymore. If it’s too bright then I’ll start handing out sunglasses but my God, I’m not going to filter who I am any longer.

So, I’m showing up. And I know I’m not showing up perfect. It’s going to be spectacularly messy and brash. I’ll be too much for some, too little for others and I’ll probably cry a lot. I’ll go back on salvation prayer lists and try not to be pissed by it. I’ll operate out of my fierce independence and try to shut out others. I’ll be sassy and try to overcompensate and apologize for it, I’m sure.

I’m going to try to hold my aggression and tenderness together and find a better balance. If you are willing to walk alongside me as I do this, you are a gift. I know I will run people off, so for those who stay and hold my hand…I see you and will love you fiercely.  I hope that in living into who I really am, I can also help you do the same. Forgive me in advance when I inevitably slip up. Hold me accountable but please hold me in grace. I will try to do the same, for myself and for you. The fog is lifting. Let’s run wild.

“>Changing John Mayer