After leaving her husband, one young adventurous woman met a man whose deep troubles revealed themselves after she’d already fallen in love with him. In The Sun magazine, Piper Vignette writes about how she starts to find herself. In transition and on the move with her daughter, she confronts the ways her identity had been shaped by illness and the expectations people placed on her, and ponders the person she might have been and person she could still become.

It didn’t matter that I could intellectualize his brokenness. After Luke I was not OK, not for months. But I’m not sure anyone noticed, which scared me more than anything. He was just a boy. He might as well have been every boy I’d ever had, then lost. It was about more than that. It was about failure and the poverty of single motherhood. It was about what I was supposed to be, in contrast to what I was. How to explain that our wilderness felt like an extension of my own body? But in leaving Luke I’d abandoned pieces of myself: The wet-nosed black bear with her cubs. The marsh and scented redwood fog. His arms around me all night. I ached. It was about sickness, and those reasons I’d first begun writing as a child. It was: What next? After Luke I tried to deconstruct belonging: What it meant. How you got it.

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