I’ll never forget driving home from my non-fiction creative writing classes when I was getting my master’s degree. Normally, after a writing assignment, the class shares what they’ve written with everyone for feedback. Normally, I’d share, but that day was different.
Everybody had just finished reading their pieces. There were some girls, like Whitney, who I still remember vividly, that had a gift with words. She could make anything sound like poetry. Or Maria who rang the bells of justice with her writing that focused on sociology. She wrote with the kind of conviction that makes you think about the complexities of life.
How could I have followed those acts? I felt fraudulent for even being in the class that I had to ask special permission to be in. I could not convince myself that what I said was worthy of being heard and it made my ears hot. I packed up my stuff after class, ran to the garage, and had a full on breakdown. I had to call my parents to calm me because I didn’t want to drive in that condition.
On the way home, I turned on the “Modern Love” podcast that I was obsessed with at the time because it soothed me and it took my mind off of the situation. This episode was a live episode with multiple essays being read. Right at the end, there was a live performance by Lucius, a band that I never heard of before. They performed “Dusty Trails” off of their album Good Grief and towards the end of the song, there was a music break and the two lead vocalists, Jess and Holly sang:
“I’m halfway to misery. Some say when you go halfway there’s still plenty of time to return. Or am I halfway to heaven here? Some may say when you go halfway you only have halfway to go.”
The song, that line, struck me in that moment—and in every moment of uncertainty since—because here I was at the literal halfway point in my semester, crying because I did not feel worthy of the position that I earned. Irony is sweet and sadistic. I had convinced myself that because I was not on someone else’s path, then my journey was worthless. I decided to keep going forward despite the uncertainty.
It wasn’t until now, almost 3 years since that happened, that I became comfortable with the dirt on my path. I have grown accustomed to the fact that my journey is jagged and dusty. More than that, I love that it is mine and mine alone, and that, in itself, makes it worthy of being walked.
“Dusty trails can lead you to a golden road.” — Lucius