It is wholly unnerving to think for a split second that you are no longer who you thought you were. It is unsettling beyond belief to have an experience makes you question yourself to the core of your being. It is healthy, but it feels awful.
To quote an inspiration, Sometimes, but not always I think this maybe too hard for me. I have been there, I have stood in that shadow and been left to feel defeated and weak until all there is left to do is let emotion wash over me for the world to see. And there, with dignity in the ditch and pride swallowed hard, I thought for a second – ok for four days’ worth of seconds – that maybe something had shifted within my soul and I was no longer capable of the strength that had once defined me. There are no words to describe how humbling that has been.
I have sat in the rain on the rooftop and added my tears to this sopping place. I have crinkled against the corner of a cement wall and beckoned for support. I cast my net far and wide as I asked for permission to be less than who I thought I was. And the validation and vindication trickled in slow as the hours passed from every far-flung corner of the world. I asked too much from people already giving all they had. But still this place didn’t sit right, nor did my decision to reject it.
As much as I was emotionally exhausted by the transition and the loneliness, I was sick to death by dissatisfaction with what should have been another great adventure. I was riddled with questions: Why not here? Why not me? What is different? What can I change? What can’t I control?
But alas it turns out it wasn’t me at all. It wasn’t homesickness, broken hearts, or even romanticized nostalgia. No it was just this town. It’s not for me, not right now. But I can’t convey how refreshing and liberating and vindicating it feels to have realized that nothing has changed. I still feel more at home in flip-flops on a dirt road with a camera than I do anywhere in the world. I still love kneeling to talk to kids, squatting in the mud for the right angle, sitting with coffee and watching the world pass by. I still love that almost more than anything; it’s just that that place isn’t here. It’s not in the cement and the music and the imprisoning monotony of life as a single woman in this town.
I got on a boat this morning – as all good days should start – and with wind in my hair and sun on my face we took to the horizon. Across the fresh water of a wide lake we docked in another town, as seemingly far away and different from the life I left in the states, where I found the me I love the most. It was colorful and friendly and yet real and still raw. There was something invigorating about the breed of people and the pace of life and the soft edges of the new scenery. And as quickly as I stepped ashore I found my bliss, again. Turns out it lies somewhere between fresh water and banana leaves, with a slice of wood fire pizza and a hint of coffee, beside dirt paths and contrasting colors. There, I got my groove back. And damn it feels good.