“Age doesn’t make you wise.”
“Pushing Through to Wisdom.”
Based on a True Letting Go.
By Leanna Glenn Markham
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255.
One thing I’m learning,
year after year,
Is that I don’t know much.
Perhaps less as time passes,
Water under the bridge,
cycles of stars, sun, and seasons.
The flow of life itself—
the running water
that ripples, gurgles
and sometimes stagnates—
picks up debris
as it goes.
The stuff that sticks
clouds the stream,
just like heavy rains
a few years back
carried trees and tarps
down our neighborhood creek.
Given enough pileup,
the flow stops, and the river grows foul.
Even fish can drown in that mess.
When the creek pushes through the tight spaces
the junk remains behind.
The water shines a bit cleaner
with each passage.
Mountain streams surging through
solid rock shimmer like crystal in their purity.
No, not age, but the push-through,
the shoulder pressed to the narrow passage,
that brings clarity, a touch of wisdom
each time we leave behind a piece of
Today, a memory floats down with me,
Decades old, it should have rotted away.
But no, I’ve carried it.
Arriving late to meet friends
For food and dancing.
I’d missed dinner but caught up with them.
Stunned, I found myself unwelcome.
A guy I dated, looking fine in a shirt I’d
given him for Christmas, ignored me,
and ushered our friends into the
the big room, pulsing with life and colored lights.
Several of them passed their outerwear to me,
saying there was no place for it inside.
And there I stood, a human coat rack,
while they danced.
Why does this catch me now,
I’ve married, moved on and on and on.
Yet I can see myself there, still feel
the burn of humiliation,
wondering how and why they could
do that. Then I knew.
I don’t really care why or how.
I bear them no anger, no unlove.
It’s the me standing there
I’ve not forgiven.
It’s the younger me who needs
Perhaps it was unwise to stand there,
cheeks burning, as other passed by me.
Maybe I played the hopeful fool
that someone would come out and spell me
so I could join the fun.
But that young person didn’t quite know
what I know.
And even if she did, I can forgive her.
Now is the time I must shoulder through this
and not resent myself any longer.
Time to let go of the shame,
what I thought it all meant about me.
Life flows on.