Noyes Road. I always thought that was a funny name as my family and I drove past the street sign, taking this meandering country route to the beach. “No/Yes” road we called it. I now realize that name is significant. Saying “No” before saying “Yes” to something is a process I had to go through that altered my life.
The problem started in grade school. I had glued myself to the popular girls’ shadows, seeking their approval. When we graduated from elementary school, I was invited to the girls’ year-end slumber party, and in the grand tradition of sleepovers, pranks ensued instead of sleep. After being a recipient of one of those pranks, then watching my “best” friends laugh at me, I knew I had to leave. I had to say “No” because they were not my friends.
That summer, I had decided to not be a follower, but something was missing. I had said “No” to what I didn’t want, but I hadn’t said “Yes” to anything new. While sitting in my room one summer day, as my parakeets were chattering and my beta circled his bowl, I let my mind wander. The afternoon light streamed through the window, warming my skin. Then, my mind clicked, recognizing something I had never noticed before. A light glowed within me, a light like the sun. It was soft and beautiful, radiating throughout me. There was light all around my room, and not just from the sunlight. I sensed my birds shining light, the light of my fish, and I realized this was their light of life. Every creature, every person I meet has a life light, and this thought made me dizzy. Focusing on my own light, I realized how wonderful it was. I loved my light; I loved myself. I never noticed this before; it had been coming on so gradually. I never really liked myself and thus looked to others to like me. Now that I said “No” to following others, I made an opening to see the beauty of my own light. As I found love and acceptance within myself, I said, “Yes!”
The first part of Noyes Road is a steep climb, but once at the top, I saw everything. The view was extraordinary, and I knew each person in the car would take in something different at this point: focusing on the oak forest, the artistry of the country houses scattered amongst the trees, the promise of a town in the distance, or the glimpse of the waiting ocean. Noyes Road doesn’t offer this view the whole way down; it’s not a direct path. It is a winding road that has bumps to go over and gutters to avoid. Although we may not always see through to where we’re going, this side of Noyes Road is always in sunlight. I found something I believed in that day: I believe in the light of loving myself.