“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…”
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.
Here are all the things I’ve lost this year.
My bank card.
Three (thousand) hair ties
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.
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.
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
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
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.