A literal burning bridge representing the metaphorical idea.
You’ll need to burn a few bridges on purpose.

Graceful Failures and Burning Bridges

Kathy LaFollett
3 min readAug 8

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I should have done this years ago. Damn it. I should have just gone ahead and done it then and back there. It gets to the point when sitting in the middle of your number bed in the dark of three in the morning on your birthday there is nothing left but, fuck it.

And not in the juvenile dismissive 11:45 fifteen minutes left to get home at midnight curfew with a 30 minute drive ahead, not that one. It’s not the one at three, baking under a hot July sun alongside friends on the edge of a river deciding if skinny dipping is a ritual or some dumb damn thing Debbie just suggested.

It’s not the one at ten in the unemployed morning when a recruiter shows up to talk to your sister about going to a college for imaging and radiology and looks you in the eye and says, “You look like a court reporter. Anybody tell you that?”

It’s not the eight AM not awake yet but now quickly seat swapping in a Mazda RX7 with manual transmission illegally parked in front of a very busy court house and your then worse choice ever boyfriend says, “You know how to drive a stick, right?”

It isn’t even the three in the afternoon day drinking idea of flying off to Cancun, Mexico in four and half hours instead of finishing a week’s worth of classes to really look like a court reporter.

This is that fuck it where you realize everything, and forgive yourself all of it. It’s the the inhalation of forgiveness allowing acceptance while you take vivid surgical inventory of everything you think you are doing and decide this is all a waste of your precious perfectly good righteously yours, time.

And you decide bridges will burn. And you torch with extreme prejudice knowing the smoke as an offering to the universe. A signal you’ve listened rather than rationalized, finally.

I’ve spent too much time creating an idea of who I thought I was supposed to be so others could perceive and echo back confirmation of my own internal needy vacant prescriptions. There was no other way than burn it all down and sift through the cold dry ashes for the grain of sand that is the core of who is me. The naked human instinct, DNA broth, and environmental imprints yielding the magical me. Before the corruption of chatter, blather, advertising, education, peer pressure, accidents, attacks, violence, and self inflicted wounds.

I burned the last bridge. Just now. The smallest of all the bridges set ablaze. A curl of smoke dances seductively offering fearful thoughts to build more stupid bridges. And I laugh at the ease this last bridge crumbles. I realize I’d built a kingdom of rice paper. So fearful of what unknowns would emerge if I’d allowed the whole of who I was meant to be. I didn’t fear success. That is a bridge. I feared being the only one knowing.

Bridges are paths into places not meant for you. Graceful failures ignite the bridges that light the way you’re meant to go.

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