I was on the cusp of an unknown something, when my friend Erica gave me a book. The timing was rather serendipitous, it always is. I devoured it whole, on my first trip alone in 5 years. I was surrounded by good people, the best people, reminded and reunited with a big bold world I once fell madly in love with. I met a version of myself I had long to reconnect with.
Each page freed me from the habitual lure of the internet, a world in and of itself, so very real and relevant, yet not tangible or captivating enough to satiate my ache for un calculated joy and serendipitous connections. Just weeks before my world was beginning to feel insular and monotonous, and dare I say, boring. This was as terrifying as it is dangerous, because if the world is boring, then so am I.
People in the flesh are far more captivating than people behind screens, but in the sleepy season of survival and selfless caregiving there has been little space for anyone or anything outside my humble walls. I have felt unraveled and unavailable to all my friends, except maybe a good few, and yet strangely available to an online world I can’t touch, taste or smell. This online world was and is real, it’s just second best. I know this because I have tasted the very best.
But, I am good at forgetting the things i know best, which might possibly contradict my confidence in truly knowing something. I suppose there is a difference between knowing and remembering, the later just rents space inside your bones, it never intends to call you home. Regardless of the quality or the medium, connecting is my most favorite thing. it’s just that over the last four years I’ve done little connecting with anyone other than my daughters, and then late at night, the time sucking internet.
I am grateful that my time with my girls has been spent wholeheartedly, I can’t imagine it any other way. I have let the present consume me, even if it means loosing a little bit of myself. Although it’s never really felt like loosing, just more like shifting, redefining, and then finally, remembering. It’s humbling to shift, empowering to redefine, and nostalgic to remember. And nostalgia has long been a creative impetus, holding me in perfect tension between desire and gratitude.
I finished my book on the plane ride back home, and symbolically finished the last sentence as we landed. I ran my fingers across the cover and held it close to my chest. I needed to affirm and seal it’s inspiration. There was a new space, not shared or borrowed, but my very own. I felt this space expand beneath my very bones, as if it had only been waiting for my recognition, so eager to come home. And I too, was coming back home.
The awe and wonder I felt in my youth, and the vulnerability of my late teens and early twenties began to fill me back up. It was only after being filled that i realized how empty I had been, giving when there was nothing left to give. I felt lost and found, familiar and foreign, satisfied and whole. I remembered how much I love new people and places and awkward encounters that can only happen on streets when you're emotionally available to engage with your neighbors and strangers. I felt how sacred it feels to have a stock pile of photographs and thoughts that no one has seen or heard. And how good it feels for it to be enough, just for me. I remembered how much I love reading books, and people watching, and late night star gazing. And then I thought about how sad it is that I had to remember these things. And then I felt deep and wide, deeper and wider than fingers can type and words can align. I felt imperfectly perfect, human, and alive. I felt just like me.