Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Tree of Life (Lessons)

When I was about six I was tied to a tree on top of a hill in my old neighborhood. I was left there for at least an hour and within that hour I experienced a lot of emotions (who me?) Firstly, I was in disbelief, as I was certain that my friend who had tied me to the tree wouldn't really leave me there. And then as time ever so slowly crept by ( as it does when you are tied to trees) it became clear that I should redefine the term 'friend' and that I should start believing that my 'friend' wasn't coming back and that I was in fact experiencing what it felt like to be tied to a tree and left for the birds ( you know, like every child does...) I then went into survival mode and started to scream and violently shake the tree to break free from the rope. I probably only did this for about 2 minutes before giving up and residing that I was stuck and was going to die a slow, lonely death...and I cried. Dear lord did I cry (yeah, me.)

I remember that moment in my life so clearly. I remember how harsh the grass felt on my legs. I remember how tight the rope felt on my arms and how the tree's bark felt rubbing against my back. I remember how sad I was and how final this moment felt for me. It was the end. But what I don't remember is how I broke free. I don't remember if I finally stopped crying and realized that breaking free wasn't that hard and that I could have broken free the whole time (seeing how to this day I am known for jumping to irrational and dramatic conclusions, I almost certain this was the case for my younger self as well.) But the point is, I don't remember the victory and only remember the struggle.

Tonight I wish I remembered how I broke free.

...was that a dramatic statement?

I mean it though.

Lately I have been feeling trapped and tied tightly to something immovable and I've been struggling to break free.

Tonight as I sit on my porch and remember back on that infamous day of my youth, I am trying to think of what I would say to that sad little girl tied to a tree.

Maybe I would tell her that I know it would be easy if I untied her but I bet she could do it herself if she took a breath and realized that the rope isn't actually all that tight but the panic and the fear of never escaping is what is making it feel like she is stuck. I would tell her to find the humor in the struggle because sometimes if you think of what is causing you distress in the most simple of ways, it actually is pretty funny. It's especially funny when you are 6 years old in a worn out red polka dotted dress with matching bows and headgear to boot. I would tell her to not sit in pain just waiting for someone to come solve her problem because no matter how bad it may seem, when it comes down to it all she needs is herself to break free. I would tell her to not take her frustrations out on the tree because if you shake the one thing that is supporting you too hard one of the branches that is so kindly giving you shade may fall, hit you and leave you exposed in the sun and that will only make the struggle more difficult. Instead use the strength it's giving you to help you break free. Finally I would tell her to be patient because sometimes overcoming takes time, it takes courage, it takes strength and most importantly it takes trust in the fact that breaking free is always possible.

Yeah...I think that's what I would say to myself then, and what I will try to remember tonight.

But if you guys see any little girls tied to trees, you should probably just untie them....


  1. Reflection is a wonderful thing. Palm readers and gypsies of old told us that life is cyclical and that our past informs the future so listen when ghosts offer advice. But do those old hags know anyway? Always carry a pocket knife to cut through potential restraints and use on wicked children. Please become a journalist. This American Life comes to mind.

  2. Beautiful words.

  3. this is more cryptic than me in the first weeks of circled

    although i did have a similar experience in a tree (house), which i was thinking about today, and more spaifcally(or cryptically) it was about a similar thing as u outlined in the above