She has been called into transition after a major emotional event, something powerful enough to knock her off her feet and take her breath away. She has been pushed beyond all limits, finding herself at the edge of familiar territory. She knows that crossing the line at her feet may make her unknowable to her clan, to herself. Yet she walks forward anyhow, with no knowledge of the rules governing this new land. The next choices, while clear to her soul, break every rule, requiring new covenants with herself, more gradient in the measure, a louder voice, a decisive severing action.
Travelers hit the road when they can’t stay home, when standing still means drowning. Travelers make extreme choices when there are no reasonable, pretty, quiet options available. Travelers yell when silence serves their oppression. The Traveler knows her happiness and sanity are more important than external opinions. She has been attacked and offended and has no choice but to come out swinging. She can no longer be pleasing. She knows she risks being labeled unlovable. She knows the dangers, raised on stories of unforgivable women, but the winds blow and the road calls.
The weary traveler may arrive angry, worn, and starving. While she will be best served by rest, she is not sure yet if more battles will arise. It takes so much energy to ready herself for battle; if she takes off her armor at the first resting post, will she be able to steady herself in time to meet the next blows? How does the weary traveler choose her resting place? She looks for her true kin. More often than not, she will avoid family or at least parents, unless absolutely necessary. Blood kin and the spaces they conduct are not hospitable, overflowing with need for the traveler to contain herself and quietly serve. The traveler is in a state of heightened awareness and sensitivity. She only has room for her current vision, for the current version of herself, her now perspective. It’s too distracting to interact with people who clearly expect her to act, behave, think, be, or feel a certain way. It’s not just the expectation but the requirement of a certain interaction. The weary traveler is exhausted and fleeing those kinds of toxic obligations.
I am no one’s secret treasure, nor property, nor honey pot of good fortune. I am not toy nor play thing, nor source of amusement.
I want flexibility and consideration. I want the freedom to come and go as I please. I want autonomy and support.
I am no caretaker here to feed dangerously inflated egos.
She cannot tolerate hard boundaries and inflexibility. She is in need of a soft place to land. She is in need of “of course” and “my pleasure”, not “you shoulda”, “i told you”, and “well did you try…” The weary traveler knows that she will run as long as necessary. She will run as long as her legs will carry her. She will run towards freedom, towards something sweeter, and she will crumble in the process if necessary.
A little bit of lightness snuck out, almost a giggle in its expanse – only registers as half a smile.
I am grateful for being able to see, think, speak, move and act as I choose.
I gladly sacrifice familiarity for freedom every time.
The weary traveler is in need of warmth when greeted. She needs to meet the eyes of someone who has traveled once herself. She needs space to think, a very simple routine and food prepared with love. She is tired of having to explain the obvious, tired of having to soothe other people’s feelings about her current emotional, physical and financial state. She is tired of other adults devaluing her choices. The weary traveler has already put herself through an inquisition and still has many questions of her own. She knows that sometimes things are impossible and walking off is necessary, at least for a while. Sometimes tornadoes blow through and you have no choice but to follow the clearest path to the next safe place, as unknowable and unnameable as that next space may be.
How can you not understand? How can you know all the facts and still question the choices?
How can you ask “why?”
Why can’t it just be accepted that if a woman hits the road and arrives weary, she had good reason. Help is needed not ridicule.
It is the arrogance of the questioner, the should-be kin, that is so painful – the stance taken, as though they have never faced the ego crushing that follows heartache, loss, transition and grief. The traveler is better served by affirming or at least respecting the choices made that send the traveler to the road. The questioner sits in their safe hiding place and let many choices and exit points pass them by, but judge the traveler for taking her leap into the unknown. The questioner’s judgment is unfair and dangerous.
Work hard, be sweet, be likable and give them cues that you can be trusted. Be ladylike and do everything to be chosen. Do anything and everything to overcome the assumptions attached to your blackness, regional identity, level of education, southern speech pattern and dialect.
The traveler needs to be free from assaulting eyes and questions so she can gather herself and restore balance. Being on the road too long makes her forget civility, like a soldier too long at war searching for home. A soldier so accustomed to fighting for survival, to hyper-vigilance that she forgets to nourish herself and take deep rest. She will wander until its worth resting, until the terrain has signs of life and livability, until community appears. It can be confusing to the witness, looking upon the traveler they say ” I could never…” The appearance of extremity of the wanderer’s choice allows the witness to believe “those kinds of choices aren’t required if…
…If you are a good girl, if you go to school, if you are chosen by the right man, if you are smart, if you are pretty, if you get a good job, if you worship the right god the right way.”
The weary traveler knows that it is but an illusion that any layers of identity might protect us from the uncertainties of life. The weary traveler fears the uncertainties far less than the certainties. She is fully aware of her status as unprotected human, vulnerable to any number of commonly accepted attacks on her body and mind. The witness knows what seeds, animals and people need to grow and thrive, but pretends that poor or brown women and children don’t need food, shelter, love, human interaction, information as those humans who get to avoid the extreme decisions and choices ascribed to the weary traveler.
The weary traveler knows the truth, that this journey is sacred. She knows that the truth is most important, even if there are no ears and hearts courageous enough to hear it but hers. The traveler knows that how things look on the outside reflect her current feelings and experience, but are no indication of who she is or of how she will feel or what she will see and know to be true next.
The weary traveler’s journey is not hers alone. The traveler electrifies those that witness her action, those sparked by even a moment in her presence. It is inspiring to see a woman casting at the speed of light, calling a path to appear even in darkness. She sparks desire and unasked questions. She gives the itch to wander, terrifying the witness. Her electricity pulls, calling out to the brave wanderer within, inching us to that line we know if crossed, will offer up the chance to shake up and discard every piece of us that makes us feel safe and protected from the trials of the weary traveler’s path.