Thursday, March 20, 2014

a propelled self.

I have never been one to stay still. I've inherited my mother's nervous twitch/swing/bounce of a foot or leg. I also have my father's ease of distraction--interjecting car conversation to point out the bonehead driver in front of me. I've developed my own too fast way of walking--a habit truly perfected in my high school days when you had 3 minutes to get from one class to the next in a very, very overcrowded building. When I recount something hilarious, my voice picks up speed and volume as I get to the end, surely cracking my own self up. I enjoy the routine of a monotonous act--like stuffing envelopes at work. An action I can turn into a blur.

Then how, I wonder, did I manage to stay in one city for 12.5 years?

I've never been one to know if I am a city person or a country person, a mover or a stayer. Perhaps a part of me simply assumes that others know this, as pure as the color of their eyes or freckles on a face. I grew up in a small town with plenty of farmland. As a young thing we had one stoplight. The summers were full of green space, crickets, quiet. I have also lived in a city. It is here too that I love the heat and smog of summer months, the swoosh of traffic, the shock of seeing lightning bugs in a space so crowded and full of things. In the city I miss things about the country and vice versa. Especially the daily sound of a train. I really, really miss the trains.

I look back on my 20's and tend to overlook the stagnant nature of my location. I have experienced so much within my twelve years of city-living. I've taken risks and made mistakes. That decade was so full of life, so full of immediate and yes and moments. And nearly every month for all those years I made a trip to visit my family back home, in the small town I came from. I was usually startled by the change occurring there--the spawn of subdivisions, stoplights added, new schools built and highways widened. There should be nothing strange about change--it is our only certainty--yet watching my hometown swell and spill over its old borders brought a melancholy to my surface. My old stomping grounds were new developments. And, like my father used to do when I was little, I could point to old neighborhoods and corners and say I used to run this road every single is where I had my first is where a group of us roamed the neighborhood like a gang of carefree misfits. Some things I can't even point to anymore. What was there is no longer, as if never.

Obviously I'm thinking A LOT currently because I'm gearing up to move, and movement provokes memory.

photo by JG

My trip to Egypt over Christmas break was life changing for me in a few ways. I've never traveled outside the U.S. This was my first experience abroad. I fell in love with Cairo almost immediately. I loved all the little differences--most of what I was accustomed to was gone. Surprisingly, it didn't throw me off too much. Again, I've never really dealt with myself in some unfamiliar territory--I wasn't sure how I would handle it or react. I told myself going into it to keep an open mind, to do my best and be myself. I left Egypt with my heart swollen to five times it size--I was(and am) ready for more experience like this. It made me question: what is my comfort zone? Turns out it is not what I thought, or what others might have told me. In the past I've been hesitant to rely on myself. My inner critic shoved itself between me and opportunity many times. It's like buying a boat, but keeping it docked--just sitting in it every now and then. And then graduating to untying the boat but navigating the same tight circle of water over and over because the unknown is...too unknown. It has taken me longer than I am proud of to understand I can rely on myself. I have witnessed and been through some very trying things--the road has not been an easy one, even in regards to routines. Going abroad, I think, returned me to the root of who I am and what makes me, me. I am a survivor. I love adventure. I love new territory and spaces. I love not knowing but trying to figure it out. And, it turns out, I love to rely on myself. I enjoy the strange of a new place--I love to fall in love with something new, to feel the heart dip and grow and get wild for something I've never fallen for before. It is still possible.

My twenties were fat with experience. I am thankful for this. I can wade around and consider "lost time," but I never had a boring year here in this city I've called home for so long. Even when I started to detach myself and grow restless--even those days are significant and necessary to the journey. My twenties were also very full of wanting, and while I still want, I am now understanding what it is that I need. I have never been one to stay still. I have never been one to fully accept pride in myself without the addition of some guilt. Oh but how necessary that acceptance turns out to be. How wild we are when we live without a cage. How strong we become when we nurture that which is our root, ourselves, our spirit.

So ready for all that is next. So ready and full of love & light.

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