In less than a week I will be in Vermont. I will be traveling completely alone, to a place I have never been and I will be rooming with women I have never met. I booked this trip last year at the tail end of a few years that were less than ideal for me. It was something I felt I needed to do. It was the beginning of my ‘fuck it’ list and subsequently the year that I said yes to trying new things, taking new chances and stepping out of my comfort zone.
But today I am nervous, and a lot of the old fears are starting to step out of the shadows to remind me that I still have some work to do.
You see, this is not just any trip I booked. This is a retreat-a yoga and writing retreat. And it is not just any yoga and writing retreat, it is THE yoga and writing retreat. At the end of my year(s) of chaos and disaster, I booked a retreat with the one person I could find under 60 that wrote about hearing loss. That made me feel less alone, less freaked out, less of a mess inside than just about anyone else. I booked a retreat with Jennifer Pastiloff. I found her blog post on hearing loss and from there her Facebook page and I followed. I devoured every word, every post, and with each one I felt a healing. She put things in perspective, all things, not just hearing loss, but all loss, all pain, all suffering. In all of it, she finds beauty and strength and magic. It is a wonder to watch from the sidelines the transformations that take place every where she travels, to every heart she touches. And I wanted some of that, I needed some of that. At a time when things were dark and small, and I was frail and broken, I craved some of that magic. I waited and waited until there was enough money, and enough time and then I booked it. I put down and non-refundable deposit. No backing out allowed.
Not that I want to. I want to go very much. I am excited. I am excited to be in Vermont in October, to smell the dry leaves and feel the crisp air-I miss that so much. I am excited to travel alone, something I have never done, something I need to do. But mostly, I am excited to spend my time with women who share my excitement, and who want to witness this wonder and be a part of it just like me.
Somehow though, I can’t help but feel like the new kid on the first day of school. The butterflies are starting in my stomach, and I keep wondering if I am good enough to be going. Good enough at writing, good enough at yoga, good enough to meet this woman for real. Good enough to be part of this tribe that she cultivates. The age old worry of ‘I hope they like me’ is starting to whisper around in my head and I realize that for all of the changes I have made in my life of late, there is still work to some work be done. That gawky girl with the Coke bottle-bottom glasses is still in there.
Tonight I choose to believe that I am not the only one feeling nervous, that at least one of the other x number of women that will gather and meet for the first time next Thursday afternoon will be feeling like me. I am counting on it. And hopefully, by the end of this long awaited weekend in Vermont our nerves will have disappeared on the autumn wind and we will have experienced the magic and beauty, shared the laughter and love and become a part of something bigger than all of our fears combined.