My 22nd year began by stepping completely outside of my comfort zone. On a rainy Saturday, I trudged through a ropes course and ended with ziplining, which I was actually dreading. I hated to try things I didn’t know, or didn’t know if I would be able to do. I didn’t like for people to see me fail, and I still don’t, but damn did it make me feel alive.
From that point, I vowed to get out of my comfort zone. I flew across the country to the west coast and loved it, so much so that I went back. I took some classes outside of my major on international relations, learned most of the countries, and became obsessed with maps because I felt more connected to the world. I started to improve my writing skills and learned to write precisely, factually, and casually in a corporate setting. I learned the things I liked to do and the things I didn’t.
I decided it was time to start living for myself, and when I say that, I don’t mean it in a cliche type of way. Every grade in school, every award, every accomplishment felt like it was for someone else. For me, 4.0 was where I set the bar, and any less was a disappointment.
Part of living for myself meant getting my tattoo, a line of deep significance for me. I was always within and without. The more I learned and the older I got, the more I realized that the world is filled with so much opportunity and so many chances to create, though I would just as equally feel the pain of not being able to do it all. Sometimes feeling the deep rejection of being misunderstood or naively falling in love with the person I knew you could become instead of the person you are. I am so enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life. In another light, I am within and without in most aspects of my life. It always feels that while everyone else is on page 1, I’m alone on page 3, and it’s difficult to get people to understand page 3.
After graduating, I changed. I realized that when it came to the world, being an undergrad had given me rose-colored glasses. I became unsure if the things I wanted before were actually what I still wanted now. I stopped reading and I stopped writing and I cried. I started losing myself. I threw myself at people that never actually really knew me and were pulling me off the path of myself pretty quickly. I thought I needed someone to want me back, and I made excuses for the way they treated me. I broke away from love and tried to live without it, choosing to avoid love from the one person who did know me best.
I floated through a dream of love from every angle doused in too much wine. I began standing alone because of it. I started to go back on my promise to live for myself and I begged for approval, again. I begged for love from someone incapable, or if they did love me, they didn’t love me in a way I understood (catch the reference?). This will never be about the person you think it is, and you’ll never know, but what I know now is that someone can want your body but not your mind, no matter how many times you’ve poured yourself out to them. It is possible to fall in love with the idea of a person and then feel the torture of having to be around them all the time.
To cope, I started writing. As of today, there are 37 pages of my journal filled with the pain of Summer 2017, but there’s beauty in pain. There is beauty in brokenness. Kintsugi.
I wrote some of the most powerful, painful, AUTHENTIC words I’ve ever used and I keep them hidden because it was only ever about being true to myself. The words on those pages were my reality, and some would be shocked to read them. Some judged my life even though they’ll never get to read one single word on any of those pages.
Today, I know that these words are my comeback. My salvation, as someone close to me put it. I started to become Woman. I demonstrated for myself that I will get up and I will live. It’s all still a work in progress, but whether it was heaven or hell this summer, it was true.
Here’s to 23