Eleven years ago today, on Friday, June 13, 2003, I made a decision that forever changed my life and the lives of my family. I packed 2 suitcases and flew to Maryland, where for 3 weeks I worked with a team of folklorists, historians, and ethnographers whose mandate was to take a snapshot in time of the town of Crisfield, a maritime community on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay. Crisfield used to be the crab capital of the world, yet as pollution increased in the Bay and the crab count decreased, and as Asian crabs became cheaper to buy than American crabs, the town and its industry began to falter. We met beautiful people, gathered their stories, took photos of their lives, and presented it back to them. It was a beautiful 3 weeks, one of the first times I felt free to be me, and a time I felt accepted, appreciated, even loved. I loved every moment, and coming home was brutal; I wanted to stay where I could start-over, make changes, and redefine myself, or better yet, be my authentic self.
Well, I came home, and I made changes anyway, because that's how I operate - "Be the change . . ." was something I learned when I was a child - "If you don't like something then change it," was a phrase I heard from my parents over and over again. "Don't wait for someone to do it for you, do it yourself," was another adage. As a 44 year old woman, about to launch into single life, I had to look at all the changes that would occur not only in my life, but in the lives of many many loved ones. And I stewed and stewed about how I was going to move forward - how I could be true to myself without hurting others - and I couldn't do both - so I chose being true to myself, hoping that as time went on, wounds would heal.
I couldn't make these changes alone - I had cheerleaders and doubters on both coasts and in-between.
And here I am, 11 years later, facing other changes, particularly the changes of these past 18 months, and I am fine. I am. I am happy and hopeful and growing and good. "Be the change you want to see . . . " is not about changing a hairdo, rearranging the living room, changing clothes, although certainly those are changes, but I've learned that change is within - changing attitudes, perceptions, realizations, adapting and adopting, and moving forward. Yes - change is good - change is not a one-time deal - change is progress - if we allow ourselves to be authentic, to be our true selves, and to embrace whatever it is life dishes us - or we dish ourselves, we can move forward in health and happiness.
I thank my higher power, my friends, my family for being on this change path with me. Yeah -