Who understands me but me when I say this is beautiful. When the path looks crooked and torn with rocks, stumps, roots and uneven ground. I take the first step. They say I should be afraid and not wander out too far, not go out of my comfort zone: the safety net that has become a leash tethering me to this spot training me to be okay with this small plot. They say I am reckless, foolish and asking for trouble. I lace on my sneakers and head out the door. The sunlight streams through the tree branches A lighted beam pointed toward freedom: Freedom from thinking small Lighting the path to discovering my own voice and inner strength. They say the path is dangerous. Its twists and turns unknown to an untrained eye. I do not need a compass in my pocket to show me the way. I have always known this journey. I may return to it again and again Reminding myself of my true worth. My true north is an innate part of me. It cannot be scared, beaten or numbed away. I will always resurface and be a companion and a guide to my own suffering and fears of being lost, Filled with doubt or shame, Guilty for taking the first step. I am in my corner. They say it is for my own good. It is uncomfortable to go against the grain. I show up again and again Not only to prove them wrong But to show up for me. I am on my own side and free to be me.