Why did you get that tattoo?
All of the paths I’ve explored through my life — meditation, Buddhism, Judaism, Yin Yoga, Taoism — were meant to help me find my way. Whatever the struggle, I sought a path to lead me out of the darkness. Some people don’t find a path.
That was evident to me earlier this year when the week’s news cycle began with the death by suicide of a woman whom I didn’t know, but I adored.
She was my modern day Audrey Hepburn – one of my style icons. I, who haven’t cared about designer names since Brooke and her Calvin Klein jeans grabbed my attention and covered my ass in 1980, revered Kate Spade. I loved her sense of simplicity, whimsy and class. Her designs combined style and happiness. How could all that bright creativity come from such an unhappy place?
Several days later, while carrying my Kate Spade backpack and stewing about the beautiful people having struggles too, the unthinkable occurred. It happened just like people say; my phone ‘blew up’ with the news of it. A local woman succumbed to opioid addiction. She died alone. She was discovered by strangers, slumped in the front seat of her car. Why wasn’t she at home? Where was her family? What happened to the everyday activities in her life that she had been so good at maintaining through thick and thin? She left a legacy of questions and more than one person shaken to their core.
The third time is not always the charm. You never get accustomed to this kind of news. Driving to work on Friday, I realized my tipping point. I banged on the power button to cut short the NPR report. I had heard all I could handle. They started it in that telling way – the way you know the outcome based on the intro. Anthony Bourdain, chef, author, star of ______ . . . NO! What the Fuck! Are you kidding me? What is going on, people? Stop it! Just stop. Well, they did.
The universe stepped in to shout equally loud into my head – persevere.
Suddenly I had this vivid image in my head. Persevere, in cursive, like a whisper across my wrist. A reminder. A pledge. A promise.
Life is hard.
I’m afraid of the dark, and I’ve had a lot of dark times in my life. How am I supposed to have faith that I can make it when so many other people don’t? I looked for faith, and I’m not sure I’ve found it. What I did find was a realization. Here it is – the path of your life is chosen and navigated by you. Making it is a choice. Getting through the dark times makes the light that much brighter.