Earlier this summer I wrote about learning how to put the suitcase down and building roots. I wrote about finding the people who just as excitedly kick me out the door for a new adventure as they do welcoming me back with my exhausted arms from all that I have carried.
For the first time, I put words out there to describe the messy cahoots that are strung across my heart, “This past week some friends have signed contracts for their first job after university. Other friends started going out on dates with promising prospects. And me? I was trying to navigate the questions: to stay? Or to go? To give the guy who I dance with in his kitchen an honest chance? To be honest with myself about having feelings for people? I have become so good at being alone, I prefer it that way. Could it be though, that I have become so good at leaving that I don’t want any traces of the word “stay,” to be attached to me.”
To be honest with myself about having feelings for people.
That is a haunting statement. It is a statement that keeps me balanced. Am I playing fair? Or am I running? Did I even show up for the event? For a girl like me, these are important questions I have to stop and ask myself.
After finding out that Dan died, I remember that Monday night so vividly. I sat in the passenger seat of my friend Justin’s car, it seemed as if there were months of tears waiting to be released – they couldn’t get out fast enough. “I don’t want to die with stories inside of me,” I sobbed as he looked at me unsure of how to react, so he put his hand on my leg. With Justin I always played the role of an ice queen with my feelings. He handed me a Chipotle napkin to wipe my tears as I continued to stumble through my words, “I don’t want to die with love in my heart still. I want to put it all out there. I want everything out on the table.” And he just held me until I was done crying.
With Dan passing away and then the sudden loss of another friend, Julian, those words have never been more urgent, real and honest. It has been my truth that I am trying to live. Even if that means failing, failing really hard.
It is crazy to think that this time last year, I was living in Cambodia. I just packed up and left. I needed to learn how to trust myself again and I knew that the only place I would be able to do so was if was the only person that I knew in whom I knew in an overnight flight’s distance. What I didn’t expect was to fail so hard and succeed in the tiniest, yet most meaningful ways at once. When I say that I failed so hard, what I mean is that I had to teach myself how to get out of bed in the morning. I hard to learn how to never take advantage of my mother’s hugs after she picked me up in her arms, off of the airport floor crying.
This summer was different though. I didn’t want to run away and if I was going to, I wanted to make sure that it was in the safety of the Wild West’s backyard. I jumped into this hasty love affair with the world and it broke me.
By telling myself that I was going to learn how to stay, I was reassuring myself that sometimes it takes baby steps to rebuild.
Learning how to stay has been difficult and so rewarding. I cannot tell you how many nights I have laid in bed at the Chateau calculating the numbers in my bank account and the miles that will lead me either West to Utah, Oregon and Idaho or up North to Canada. I have convinced myself a number of times that it is just six hours to a certain place outside of the state and that I can make it there and back with three hours of breathing time, before my work shift started. And then I remind myself that I am staying.
I have been going up mountains and trails that I have never seen before. I guess I ended up adventuring with my heart a little bit too. It ended up a bit more like a Cambodia situation than a Hallmark Channel movie ending, where I failed exceedingly hard. In between the opening scenes and the fading out, it was something that I have never experienced before. It was easy, almost too easy. And it was fun. I sipped a glass of sweet red wine one night with my girl friend and I admitted that I could see myself really liking him. For the first time it felt effortless and natural. For the first time, it didn’t feel like two people were trying to fill the holes of void in one another like I was so use to, but rather that two people were just welcoming each other into their lives and spaces. “Let’s just be crazy about each other, until it runs out,” I suggested with the slight hope that it wouldn’t run out too quickly.
I am starting to welcome this failing. I want to leave this life knowing that I tried, failed and tried again. Or that I tried, failed and was okay … even when it comes to the parts where I didn’t try again necessarily.
I believe in love because I have tried.
That is why I want to share all of this with you. Because sometimes we are going to fail. And they can be international size failures and they can be Pintrest recipe size failures, but each time is such a beautiful adventure. If you aren’t the adventurous type, or only take adventures in small doses, then at least tell yourself that you tried, failed and you were okay. That is the key.
He was all things tall, handsome, charming and kind. When it comes to how things end with people I think that we have the power of what we choose to remember and hold on to. With this one, I want to remember the fact that I let my heart adventure a little bit. To effortlessly and completely let my guard down not trying to negotiate or make tactical maneuvers on how to make it work. To hold to the truth, my truth of not wanting to die with stories inside of me, putting it all out on the table. The beautiful thing with that the right people will hold onto their place in your story, they won’t jump off the page or out of the chapters, and those who don’t, well doll they just aren’t the right people. Maybe that is a bit too hasty. Maybe they just aren’t the right people for that particular story.
Instead of packing my pink suitcase and heading out to Utah where I am convinced the pieces of my ego and sore heart is, I am staying. I am staying because I know that when it comes to relationships with any person, ego should not be a factor; you don’t set dinner reservations for three: you, them and your ego. Secondly, I am going to stay because I know the pieces of this sore heart are all right here, still inside of me … awaiting the next adventure.
Last summer my mantra was learning how to bow out of things that weren’t meant for me gracefully.
This season it is follow leads. Try new things. Be a little reckless. Learn the art of living. Let a dream lead in the waltz.
And to learn to be small.
This is the learning curve.