This morning on my drive to work, sipping my coffee – I found myself laughing at how thoroughly I spilled the same hot brown liquid all over me on Sunday – head to toe, literally. I thought of how you’d have laughed at me too, shook your head at my amazing abilities. How I finally had to wash the scent of you off the scarf I’ve claimed as my own, the scarf thatyou hold so dear, the scarf that I still wear every single day. The one you noticed me wearing randomly over coffee last week and didn’t ask for it back, didn’t even mention it. The one that held that drop of coffee.
It was the link between you and this scarf – the scarf that is full of travels and memories for you –and the link between a passage I read yesterday and you that bound themselves in my mind, formed words and thoughts that needed to escape. The passage – ‘whose life am I living?’ resonated so dearly with me, to you. Conversations we’ve had before. Transitions and choices, becoming who you want to be in this instant – a decision, a shift.
Whose life am I living?
Are you living your life, or are you living a version of your life that you hope will please everyone else?
The honest answer to that question is important if you’re truly going to walk your own path.
In my mind I could see the picture of you in Brazil, scarf round your neck – happy and full of life and love. Radiating in all that surrounded you – new and unknown, vibrant and absorbing everything in that moment. Awake and aware. A period of time where you were just living – experiencing it all, fully. Blissfully. The fresh and unfamiliar transition that only a new city can provide. The transition that I’ve experienced myself now – twice. Vancouver. Perth. A chance for reinvention, for leaving the past far behind and being fully in that moment the person who we most want ourselves to be. A new identity all at once. Free.
I see myself breaching the rocky mountains – the first time. Feel like I’ve made my escape – the fearful and tough 26 year old that I was, running from a past of shattered hearts and monsters unleashed. Starting over. Alone again. Lonely, but surviving. Independent. Finding my feet in those solid eight years I spent in that city – friendships formed, brief romances, a complete contentedness created. Growing into a woman fully. Learning to love me outside any previous expectations or constructs. A new beginning. Redefined.
And then once more – from this solid footing, a leap of faith. A journey half way around the world, uprooted once more. To Perth. Evolving further still – fully now the woman I want to be. Happy and loving. Loved. Fear and insecurities left behind, an ocean away. They come back still in rare moments when I falter, the familiar feeling of comfort that wrapping myself in them provides – a blanket that I wore for so long - but I can shake them off now, easier, easily. I am whole here. I have found my home. Found me. The world opening up to me, bringing all my dreams into reality. It’s amusingly easy. Bold. Beautiful.
I wonder then if this same freedom and transcending love was what surrounded your beauty in Brazil – new life started. Undefined. You weren’t your past – the drugs and bars and random beds. You weren’t your job or your family or the expectations of your friends. You were solely you – on your own two feet, forging your own path. Free to connect honestly and soulfully to the new world around you. The truest and most honest version of you. Full of love and compassion and belief in yourself. Supported by the people who got to know you as this man, the man newly created by you. A new start.
I sense that man now, still – the scarf that I now wear holds the memories, the feelings of who you were then – the travelling gypsy. I sense it when you tell me stories of those times – it’s in how your body relaxes, how you feel so alive, awakened. It’s in the shift in your energy, more vibrant and luminous when you transplant yourself back into that time and place – even as you convey your struggles and fears, sickness – peacefulness still radiates from within you. You still shine.
I sit here – in this city I now call home – that is home and I know I could never go back – to either Toronto or Vancouver. Those places will always hold the memories and stories of the girl I was, stages of my life – steps that I needed to take in my journey. I know though if I return I won’t fit any more. It would be easy to fall back into old friendships, old circles, old cycles but that is no longer me. I’ve shed that skin, can’t put it back on, would never feel quite right. Conflict and contrast. Stuck.
They say you can never go home again and perhaps there is more truth in that than we know. We often try and it changes us as much as the departure does. But it doesn’t let us fly, it pulls us back into old patterns, old ways. I wonder if you’ve felt this since you’ve returned to Perth. Struggled between the old and the new as you find love once more in your family and try to fit back into the folds of the life you once lived. Is it uncomfortable like a shirt that you’ve outgrown? Only you can say for certain. I can assume though that it isn’t easy. New stories inside you, a world explored, held deeply within while you fall back into old friendships that have always defined you – the boy who left - a loyalty that is hard to let go. Do they still resonate with you, your friends, this city – on a level deep within your being – the man you are now, the man you yearn to be?
The man I shared a moment of this life with – separate from the world that you’ve fallen back to - held that stillness. Tranquility and calm exuding from within him in moments of just being who he wants to be. But you struggled against that – worlds colliding. The new and fresh, the old and stable. The easier and the redefined. Comfortable and full of possibility. Contrasting. Fears taking hold. I have seen the beautiful man you are, full of confidence and love – feel his essence woven into the scarf around my neck. The man who captured my heart fully, who still holds a piece of it. I hope you are forming that definition of you, the authentic and powerful man that you yearn to be. That you can honestly answer that question above – ‘whose life am I living?’ – Living your live for you. Only you.