On Being Lost in the Woods


How many times throughout my life am I going to ask myself, “What’s the brave thing to do? Is it brave or is it careless? Is the opposite smart or merely safe?”

I feel like I’m always tackling the concept of courage vs. security. In fact, I often feel I’m fighting an internal battle about everything, as if I’m made up of two halves of very different people. One who is frightened by the world and one who wants to meet each day with a roar. One who wants to laze about and dream about things happening, the other who wants to make things happen.

The lotus eater vs. the adventurer.

Maybe it’s just indecision, but I’ve never considered myself an indecisive person. Maybe it’s just a matter of finding myself for the first time completely in charge of my own destiny, rather than floating along in the wake of other people’s decisions – people to whom I felt I owed something.

I don’t owe anyone control anymore. As I posted recently on Twitter, I’ve left the path. And now I’m lost in the woods, trying to find my way. All the plucky heroines find their way. Often into the jaws of the wolf, but they make it back out again eventually, given time.

“I like stories where women save themselves,” said Neil Gaiman, one of my favorite fiction authors.

I do, too, and it’s just as well, because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, no one is going to save me. But stepping out into your story alone is hard. And honestly, I’m not quite sure what step to take.

Which means I need to just take one and see what happens. I’ll never be a plucky heroine if I stand among the trees waiting to be found.

And the wolves will find you whether you step out or stand still.


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