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Before anything, belong to yourself

“You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great…”

-MAYA ANGELOU

If your year was a book, what kind of genre would it be? She asked. It would be easy to say my year was, as Rebel Wilson in Bridesmaids would say, was a very sad, sad handwritten book. Or a book simply titled ‘what the fuck was that?!’

In previous years I’ve done my end-of-year post like I’m a toddler enthusiastically pulling the entire tablecloth off the table, all the plates and glasses and knives and spoons crashing down, eager to see the bare surface, the clean slate underneath. WOOHOO! See ya! What’s next?! Hyped up and ready for the next high, the next goal, the next shiny thing.

So while this year was probably one of the most emotionally turbulent, confusing and intense years I’ve ever had, it was also one of the most important. Because instead of looking outward to grant me the belongingness I’ve always craved, I finally, finally found it in myself.

>> 9-Day all-girl trip – Surf, Yoga & Empowerment

Here are all the things I’ve lost this year.

One sandal.

My bank card.

Three (thousand) hair ties

A bird.

A dog.

A friend.

A relationship.

Another friend, this time in a different way.

A whole town.

And it’s okay. It’s actually one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

Sometimes you gotta lose your old life to gain a new one.

Does it mean it wont be hard? No. It will hurt. It will be hard, but you are human, and humans were made to do hard things (I really, really liked those sandals.)

Here’s the thing. If you define yourself by your relationship, your job title, your city, your financial situation, your physical ability, your routine, your whatever, you’ll constantly be scared of change. Because you’re scared you’ll lose yourself.

You can lose a projection. A fantasy. A safety net. A version that felt nice and squishy and comfortable and smelled and looked like you. A version that worked for a time. A version you liked very much or figured you should like very much. A version people validated, admired or congratulated you for. Or a version of you you were desperately clinging onto even when all signs and every instinctive cell in your body started to say NO! NO! NO!

I thought if I lost these things, I’d lose myself. But, silly me. I forgot that I can never lose myself.

Remember this. You have you forever, for however long this walk lasts and maybe even what comes after that.

If you lose something, you can see it as a loss. Or you can see it as an invitation to get to know a new side of yourself, a deeper connection with parts of yourself you’re uncovering and learning.

Does it mean you can’t love someone so much the thought of losing them terrifies you? No! Let it terrify you. Let every cell of your body fill completely with the aching feeling of loving someone that much. It means you’re human. It means you’re alive.

And.

Also know that if you were to lose it all tomorrow

You will never lose yourself.

And no matter what, you will be ok.

In this process of peeling back to the raw truth of who I am, or who I am in this moment, I met and fell in love with someone who brought a whole new meaning to the word ‘intimacy’ and ‘support.’ A new way of relating, of seeing and being seen. Because I am more myself.

I love him like crazy.

And.

If I ever lose him I know I’ll be ok.

Remember who you were before

Remember the rhythmic tap-tap-tap of your heel against your seat in class

Remember your exasperated teachers

Why so much energy? Why can’t she sit still?

Remember the games you invented with your sisters 

You were Pocahontas and Tomb Raider and Mulan

Remember in dance class, at the final year presentation

When the ‘talented kids of the class’ were getting their awards and prizes

You didn’t get a trophy 

You didn’t win

You didn’t even come close

But you walked up on stage in front of everyone and demanded a trophy anyway

Cause you knew you were a fuckin’ winner no matter what

And your dad had to come up and take you off the stage

And your mum stayed in her seat dying of embarrassment

And everyone else was killing themselves laughing

God, you were so annoying

And precocious

And loud

And brilliant

You were energy and vitality

You were everywhere at once

You were trying to eat the world whole

You little firecracker

The universe dancing in your eyes

Remember who you were, before it all

Remember that you threw the love over him like a sheet, like the entire night sky, like the universe

You didn’t know it, but the magic was yours

And when you left you didn’t just pack up all your stuff

You got to roll up that magic, that love, and take it with you too

You thought you lost it. But here it is. It’s right here.

It’s there wherever you’re going now, wherever you go next

Wherever you walk for your entire damn life

So when he tries to convince you that without him,

You’ll belong nowhere

And be nothing

To anyone 

Just remember

That you carry the love with you wherever you go

That you’re a firecracker child of the universe

And you most importantly, before anything, belong fiercely to yourself

And with those three things, you will belong anywhere you go on this planet. 

I hope this coming year you never forget who you are. If you’ve forgotten, I hope you remember.

>> Join our next Transformative Travel Experience in Latin America

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About the Author:

Caitlin is a journalist and writer from Australia. She’s into collecting and sharing the stories of other human people. Mostly women’s stories. You can find her at @caitlincreeper

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