I arrived in Paris, without language or transportation, and found my way to the hotel room.
I taught my first lesson to my first class of students, afraid and unprepared.
I cared for two extremely sick teens and got them to the Galapagos in time to see the tortoises.

Without you there
I moved into a home of a family in Spain I’d never met.
Without you there
I ran over 48 miles and beat my personal marathon record.
Without you there
I camped 11 nights straight, the longest I had ever, in the pounding rain.

Without any help
I ordered a taxi in Spanish on the phone for the first time.
Without any help
I went to Home Depot, found the right aisle, and bought what I needed.
Without any help
I drove a car through Panama City in the dark, without GPS or directions, and made it from the airport to a parking lot by our hostel.

By myself
I learned how to cook Indian, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, Spanish, Morrocan, and Thai dishes that are delicious and healthy.
By myself
I got my first tattoo (on my foot) and it hurt like hell.
By myself
I convinced a group of Colombian parents that I was going to care for their children this year, teaching them to be good people.

On my own
I grew a part-time job into a full-time supervisor position.
On my own
I sought help, came to difficult realizations, learned to let go, and grew from it.
On my own
I tried new things that felt scary or impossible, and made me wonder if I was

And I realized
that I am.

Even when I’m
Without you there,
Without any help,
By myself,
On my own.

3 Replies to “Alone”

  1. The images are so strong in this poem and reflect your strength. I loved the repetition and different ways you said, alone. Some felt lonely; others felt so empowered. Lovely.


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