January 17th was an anniversary for me. On January 17, 2010 I began something new inside myself. I had gotten very, very heavy. Physically and spiritually. Because I had to. It was the natural reaction to the time in my life when I was in and out of the hospital when I had been far too light. I had to get heavy to regrow my roots. I had to stay quiet for a while. So I did. And then one day in January after many years of that I realized it could be different. I realized I didn’t want to be heavy anymore. Not like that. I wanted to feel myself in the world again. I wanted to turn my face toward the trees. So I started walking. And I started being more careful with what I ate. And I started to go to yoga at the library. And I started allowing myself to have bigger dreams. I started to let myself remember the place inside me where the poems come from. I even started writing again. I journaled and I walked and I started turning on the music and lighting the candles in my bedroom at night. I have to tell you, it was scary sometimes. I had to face my fear every time I let some part of myself back into the world. Getting back in touch with my heart was frightening because I wasn’t sure what exactly it was about me that had led me to go so far away from the ordinary path before. I had gone far, far way from what the people around me and I understood. And I had suffered because of it. I had lost more than I ever thought I could lose. I never knew that I would end up as an involuntary patient in a state psychiatric hospital. Twice. I never knew that people would want to take my children away from me. I never knew that people I thought were my best friends would drop out of my life without a word. But those things had happened. And so the only thing I could do was hold myself tight and rebuild what I had lost. And so, I did. Slowly and quietly and by making as little waves as possible. I grew my roots by keeping that place inside me that had opened far too wide small and closed. But then I had enough of that. I still wanted my roots. But I wanted to feel like myself again. The self I remembered from before everything happened that turned my life upside down and took away everything I cared about. So now it has been three years since I began again to let my heart open to what has always lived inside it. And I can feel its quiet beauty. I can feel its humming and singing and I can feel its aliveness. I don’t spend much time being afraid any more. I know I can trust my roots. And now in this next year I want to find a new place to understand my heart from. I want to understand who I am not despite everything I’ve been through but because I have been here all along. I want to find the strength that has always lived in me, even when I appeared lost. I don’t have to be heavy anymore. I don’t have to lie quietly and disappear like I learned to do when I was in the hospital. I am a long way away from that place. In these past three years, I have found my way into the world again. But now I want to make it my world. I want for myself what I want for my children. To be able to stand inside any situation in my life knowing exactly who I am and where my place is. So here I am. Standing here. The trees are tall and lovely. The wind is warm and beautiful. And so, I hope, am I.