A couple of months ago, I went on a hike with my husband and a couple of friends. I knew that it was going to be difficult for me physically because I am not 100% at that physical ability yet, but my husband was encouraging and it has been a goal, so it was time! I also knew that it would be a bit emotional once I got to the top, but I had no idea just how much of an intimate journey this hike would be. Here is what I wrote immediately after returning to the car after the hike.
“So today I climbed the Ripper knowing that I would cry when I got to the top. Instead, I cried from about halfway up all the way to the top and then sobbed once I got up there.
I have been writing a lot about intimacy lately and not just that shared through our sexuality, but intimacy in general. Intimacy with ourselves, the world around us, and the people who we choose to have in our tribe, or circle, or space – whatever you prefer to call it. And all of this came together at once.
There I was on this beautiful mountain that I look at every day knowing that it is so much bigger than I. But as I was climbing that sandy trail, taking one step and sliding back half a step, then taking another only to slide again, but every once in a while there was a rock that pushed me forward as if the mountain were saying, ‘We are one, come see the beauty of our summit.’
There I was with my husband and two of our friends and they were all walking beside me. They are Marines and could have been up and down easily in the time it took me to go up, but they chose to walk beside me. Their energy surrounded me with love as if to say, ‘We are one, we will mount this summit together.’
There I was inside my own head feeling myself pushing against the inevitable emotion that I felt scurrying it’s way out of me. I was feeling the tightening in my chest that I know well, but don’t feel often. It is pure love. The love of a mother for her child. It is heartbreak born out of pure love. It is missing your child who is far away and unable to call or send messages so you don’t know if he is feeling safe and loved. It is not being able to instantly recall his voice. And it is feeling ashamed for these selfish feelings when another mother is welcoming home the body of her son whose voice she will never hear again. As it tightened further, everything became still and I knew that I was finally allowing myself to feel the present. I stopped pushing against that breathlessness and pain that is caused by refusal to be in the present and allowed it to come pouring out. It was as if I were saying to myself, ‘I am one.’
As I continued to climb, the emotion came and I allowed it to be with me. I hit that summit and looked all around me and I wept. I wept for the love that the men around me shared with and accepted from me and each other. I wept for those who have lost someone they love. I wept for nature whose beauty, grace, and ferocity we take for granted every day. And I wept for the moment that I can hear my son’s voice again.
I am sharing this today because we are at a crucial time in society where we desperately need to be connected, to be a tribe, to realize that shared vulnerability and intimacy is strength, not weakness. We are at a time where fear is ruling some and pushing others. We are at a time where change will happen.
I am sharing this today because it is Independence Day in America and we feel broken. I wept then and I weep now.
I am sharing this today because I said, “There I was on this beautiful mountain that I look at every day knowing that it is so much bigger than I. But as I was climbing that sandy trail, taking one step and sliding back half a step, then taking another only to slide again, but every once in a while there was a rock that pushed me forward as if the mountain were saying, ‘We are one, come see the beauty of our summit.’”
I am sharing this today because what I said is how I feel in my heart and is my wish for this nation – this nation that my son and my husband fight for. “We are one, come see the beauty of our summit.” With this belief, we are able to realize this dream. With this belief, I hold out my hand and open my heart. May you always feel loved and welcome in my tribe.
Angela Locashio is a trauma-informed educator who helps teachers love their jobs and their lives by accessing the stillness within themselves — even in the most chaotic situations. Join Angela’s online community today.
Previously published on ElephantJournal.com
Previously published on Medium.com