I don’t often tell people where I am, or report on how I’m doing, or where I’m going next.
This week, I’ve been home.
What a profound word, one I never fully understood because I was naive enough to think that I traveled enough to know what it means to be away. What a foolish thought. It has only been a pair of months, which is less time than some of my extended vacations. But there is a tangible difference.
I drove around the sun-drenched city in a daze. Walked the neighborhoods in wonder at how quiet everything is. Awoke every morning to such dense silence. Sat for long periods of time at the park, taking in the space and the green and the children’s laughter untainted by other noises. I drowned myself in food and family, which is what you do when you are home. I felt the need to shed this relentless wintry sadness, punctuated by moments of sharp hope, or something closely resembling hope. I thought about how when under the pressures of certain periods of time, I do not allow myself time to meditate or write or create- these times when I need those activities the most.
Today, I willed myself to walk into the yoga studio. After weeks of feeling like a robot when I go to classes, I felt even more reluctant to go today. I saw on the schedule that S. was teaching, and I knew that every fiber of my being needed to hear her speak. Her embrace flooded me with relief. We may not have known each other long, and our “knowing” only consists of sporadic meetings here and there. But I knew that she’d understand this concept of home.
She described it as a relationship- you try on a new city. Maybe you are in love with it. Maybe you have known for a long time that you are mad for it. Maybe you know that you will never fall out of love with it. But leaving that city is like breaking up with a lover that you are absolutely head over heels for. Her words rang in my ears, “I absolutely love that city, yet I was dying inside.”
I face my new city, the way it faced me. Daring me, challenging me, willing me to give up. It chants this daily, nightly, the streets alive with this chanting. What a daunting chorus.
And yet, I’m singing along, right back at the city. An octave higher, and crescendoing louder.
Every day, I read honest, soulful writing- in food blogs, in photo blogs, in travel blogs, and yes, sometimes even the news. I realized that I rarely allow myself the luxury of being honest and complete when I write. Say what you will about how technology impacts humanity, but bloggers are the bravest people I know, because this ain’t fiction. It feels vulnerable to bare weakness, to bear an audience, to be truthful, to share thoughts of fear. For me, there is still that lighthouse, that beacon- the very reason I continue to write. Universality of experience and the hope that what I write will may even one person’s heart exhale with relief that “god, someone else knows exactly how I feel,” or “this is exactly what I needed to hear today.”
V. came up to me on the boat and talked to me about how much it impacted him to read something I published a while ago. I was so moved that after months, he still remembered and felt compelled to let me know. I put this feeling in the palm of my hand, and pocketed it for the future.