I can't bring myself to believe that nothing has a purpose. I can't think that everything we do with our lives is pointless in the end. I even believe that there is a reason for each of our mistakes. Every time we slip up, we learn something to prepare us for next time. We find the love of our life by dating people that are horribly wrong for us. We learn to use our rear view mirrors by having the backside of our car smashed. We learn to hold the banister by slipping on the stairs. It's the natural order of things.
At some point, all of our mistakes and victories align to bring us to some climactic midpoint in our lives. (It's like my favorite quotation by A.S. Byatt: This is where I have always been coming to. Since my time began. And when I go away from here, this will be the midpoint, to which everything ran, before, and from which everything will run.) All those little, seemingly inconsequential things that happened to us suddenly make sense. Each moment had a purpose. And after the midpoint has been reached, every decision we make afterward is effected by it.
I was never one of the popular kids in school. I wasn't a complete dork either, though. I kind of flew under the radar. It wouldn't surprise me if a quarter of my tiny graduating class couldn't remember my name if asked. I was never much for sports. I'm not cut out to be a sorority girl. When my parents divorced, I became determined to be independent. I didn't want to give someone part of me because I didn't want to be hurt. I had a very select group of friends, which is a polite way of saying there weren't many. Each of those facts have shaped me into the young woman I have become. Every one of them brought me here, to Richmond, KY; to my apartment with my best friend Brianne and my new cat Max; to a fiance I love more than life; to a family that isn't defined by blood alone, but by love; and to an upcoming adventure that I wouldn't trade for anything.
Growing up after the divorce the only thing that was stable in my life was my small group of friends that are like my siblings. My parents have never understood why I care so deeply about them. I'm not sure I understand it completely myself, but it's true nevertheless. We're there for each other through everything, even now, and I love that I can say that with complete honesty. But aside from them, there wasn't much else for me to love. I didn't have a talent or a hobby or a project. I had the vague dream of college, but that wouldn't become more defined until my high-school feminist years. It was kind empty. I had no motivation and didn't think I was going anywhere. I came home to hear about nothing but my fueding family. It hurt. I hated it passionately. I became cold and uncaring about almost everything, but eventually the haze began to lift.
I started high school with the determination to find a direction, and I gave myself one. With no prospects of love in site I decided I didn't need that. I morphed slowly into a girl with a head on her shoulders, but one that was filled with big dreams. Ever so timidly I started to think I might make some of them come true. The more my confidence grew the more people I let in to my life. My tight circle of friends grew to form the group that I still have now, to some extent. I began to smile more, cry less, and look ahead with excitement instead of fear. (Unfortunately my bold personality brought with it some very poor tastes in fashion that I wasn't timid enough to hide...) Carefully, gradually, and almost without my notice, my heart began to open. I loved so many people so freely. I was happy with my life for the first time in ages.
And then there was Kyle: sweet, wonderful, compassionate Kyle, in need of some mending himself. He unknowingly kicked in the last of the barricade, destroyed my feminist tendencies, and taught me once and for all that I don't have to be on my own -- that it's okay to need someone. He was the first person to whom I willing gave away a part of my heart. One and a half years of unrestrained love, a few semesters of college-style "critical thinking," a confrontation with the Army, and many fits of loneliness later, I am here.
I am on the brink of my life, making decisions that will shape my future. I think it's safe to say that these past few days have been my mid-point. It's kind of funny. For the longest time I thought Kyle was my midpoint. I really believed that he was what would change everything, but now I see that he is only one of the many things that led me to this place. Each and every person I've encountered, each person on the sidewalk, each face in the crowd, all of you...everything. Every moment played a vital role, but in the end it all came down to me. That one moment of decision when I resolved to leap head first into the future, when I made up my mind to go ahead with this move and conscientiously put my trust in love...that was my midpoint. Of course Kyle had something to do with it, but so did hundreds of other people.
I reached my midpoint both completely on my own and with an intricate overlapping of events. Everything I have learned and encountered shaped my mindset, but I also felt the truth of my decision echo deep within my core. Parts of that choice can be accredited to other people, but undoubtedly it is my own, for better or worse.
It's very likely that some of you think I'm crazy. If that's true, then you belong in group number two. But I think it's impossible not to feel the great and terrible weight of it all sometimes. It feels like if we changed even one little thing about the past, the future would be irrevocably altered. It makes life seem fragile and beautiful, and it gives it meaning. After all, everything we do brushes someone else's life. Each action inexplicably finds its way into an ornate tapestry of the world's history. Doesn't that make you think twice about yelling at the drive-through window workers, or not bothering to kiss your husband goodbye before he leaves for work? Doesn't it make you want to hold a hand out to someone who needs it? At the very least, it makes me grateful for even the difficult times in my life. It makes me appreciate the balance of things.
Who knows? Maybe I am just a silly girl in love. I don't know. All I do know is that I'd rather be a fool with something to believe in than a scholar with an empty heart.
PS -- Don't forget that the Giveaway closes tomorrow! Get those entries in pronto! :)