I’m not sure I was free, but I was cast into the currents of change. The next morning, after I had packed all of my office belongings (from books on trauma recovery to a sleepy-wise stuffed Totoro), said “this isn’t really a goodbye” to everyone who had been my fellow workers, and drove off into the unknown, I woke up feeling undeniably good.
The choice was right, but the steps of this dance still need to be choreographed. Several friends said that I was metamorphosing, as if the past were just a larval stage of the butterfly to come (or the mosquito to come, perhaps). I don’t think this change is that abruptly transformative. It seems more like the transformation of a snake shedding its skin, growing out of the old, restrictive habits into the next stage of growth.
A week or so before my last day at work, I could feel the heel of my left palm hardening in a process I have come to accept as just one of the weird skin things they don’t tell you about in Health Class. Every year or so it happens: the skin hardens and turns a little red, then milky white like a snake’s old skin, then it sloughs off, leaving new skin underneath. If I’m patient and don’t pick at it too much, the process goes smoothly and painlessly. The first few times this process happened, I picked at the dying skin before the tender young skin was ready to meet the air. That didn’t help.
I am learning to let transformation take its time. Snake transformations are messy and boring to watch after the first couple of minutes. Given enough time, however, and the freedom to wander about in its own patterns like a river with gentle banks, fertile ground appears.