The hardest thing in this world is to live in it -Buffy Summers
Hello beautiful people!
The plan is that there is no plan. Just a few short weeks ago, I thought I had everything I wanted and my life pretty well mapped out. I knew what I knew. I liked what I liked. There were no surprises. Everything was purportedly just right and safe. And dammit, I’ll eat that mediocre lukewarm porridge with pride. That is, until my roommate moved out and it became apparent that I had manifested life in mediocrity. I could no longer stomach the blandness. In striving for safety, I surrendered my liberation.
I didn’t belong anywhere, much less to myself. A change was needed, even as unexpected and ill-prepared I was for it. As change rapidly unfurled, I wondered whether it is really change where the rumble of vulnerability sends out shockwaves of panic. Perhaps the panic lies just before change is activated, in the quiet moment just before we decide to fall into the rippling of uncertainty. I was about to find out either way.
My lease was up, so I decided to pack my life into storage, load up my car, and drive off into the unknown. Dramatic Sagittarius behavior on full display, I headed west to LA with my capacity for change and reinvention fueled by a need for a felt sense of belonging. How could I expand what home means and live into it being space and time, not place?
Expansion started with a wrong turn off I-80, deep in Pennsylvania. Instead of traversing America’s heartland as planned, I returned to where home was once a place in my heart. Memories crested the rolling foothills of Virginia and bottomed out in Tennessee, verdant echoes of loss and days long past. First heartbreak. Moving into my first apartment. Getting the good grades and doing all the right things. Saying goodbye to my parents, never to hold them close again. Trading sex for survival with my worth tied up in the exchange of currency. Threads of fate wove through the landscape as I drove, stitching together a disremembered sense of belonging. This was where I learned about who I thought I was, who I was expected to be, but couldn’t reconcile with my Truth as I understood it now.
Virginia reminded me to breathe in grace and allow acceptance for the growth that had fostered as time elapsed. Breathe out forgiveness and allow love for the patchwork unhealed parts of me that are doing the best I can with the tools and resources available to me.
Tennessee became Arkansas, then Oklahoma and Texas, one long unobstructed stretch of road with nothing but Britney on blast and an endless chatter of thoughts. The steadiness directed my attention to the “what if” road signs of worthiness I’d constructed over the years. What if I don’t have what it takes to do this? What if I will always fail to succeed? What if what I think about myself is not the Truth?
Deep down, a part of me wanted to detour and reroute back to the familiar. Change will do that to you. Change will always agitate fear, but it’s the choices you make despite the fear that matter. I let fear stay awhile, riding shotgun, to tell its story as we drove into the sunset. It was by being present that I could make meaning out of the oft forgotten memories that transferred into limited beliefs and behaviors. By pausing in the discomfort to listen to the stories I was telling myself today, it allowed me to challenge what limited my possibility tomorrow.
As unsteady and uncomfortable as I felt, the Truth journey from Tennessee to Texas reaffirmed my existence. I am capable and powerful. I am unlimited in my success. I am the me’ist me that has ever me’d, and I love and accept myself fully and completely. Remember, the most important story you’ll ever narrate is the story you tell yourself about who you are.
Meaning making from the story of my life left me stripped as bare as the southwest landscape, vulnerable to the unflinching heat. I found myself quenching for a drop of control so I could usher in the relief of certainty. While this quenching was a confirmation of resilience and a willingness to thrive despite the lack of optimal growth conditions, it left me wondering. How does fear of the unknown desiccate our bodies?
We need to be in relationship to our bodies as much as we are to our stories. This time, my body was signaling that it needed nourishment and hydration. The noise of the westward expansion had left me with little appetite so I turned away from basic needs. What about next time though? What is needed today may be different from yesterday or even tomorrow. Instead of turning away or turning against, there is a necessity to turn towards our bodies with small acts of kindness to and connection with your heart, body, mind, and soul. How are you deliberately responding to your needs, large or small, in a way that leaves you happier and more fulfilled?
What I discovered as I winged westward was that a sense of belonging begins by trusting your Truth and quelling your assigned sense of self. Blinding the social expectations that prevent you from witnessing your wholehearted self. Numbing the temporary sensations that prevent you from embodying presence. Silencing the noise that prevents you from listening to your needs. Living into the full spectrum of experience without reservation by acknowledging your presence first.
Trusting my Truth by savoring the taste of a life well experienced (all of the pleasant, the unpleasant, and the in-between experiences) is the felt sense of belonging I was searching for that would lead me home. Where can you do the same and lean into the unexpected adventure with a strong back, wild heart, and eyes present? Life just may surprise you with a more meaningful and exciting journey home to yourself.
Are you ready for it?
Suck it up buttercup, we’re going on an adventure. I wish for you to choose your own adventure with all its delicious, zany, random, quirky, and hilarious completions.