Loyal, Organized, Efficient, Leader, Funny, Smart, Good Listener:
These are label I often use to talk about myself and traits others say they admire about me. But for the last year or so, sudden and spontaneous have been hallmarks for my life. There was a recklessness to how I fell in love, a suddenness to the loss, and an insane amount of spontaneity in my decision making over the past year. People I don’t know, and many I do, have been using words like brave, vulnerable, sexy, and insightful to describe me. I don’t know about any of that. I do know I was changed this past year and have felt more me since last autumn, than in a long time. I have taken all the spontaneity that allowed me to love someone else and let it lead me to love myself too, which is maybe what I was doing all along and why things are the way they are. So, here I am.
As I get better at being me, I have also embraced my love of spontaneous travel planning. That moment you decide to go somewhere, buy the ticket, and get to look forward to it. This July, I knew that I would have a week on my own and, given my wanderlust, decided to not just work and enjoy a quiet house, but to visit family in the Pacific Northwest and escape from the heat of the desert. Knowing I would also be coming off of a trip to Washington DC, which is always a hot and exhausting experience in summer, especially with a small child, also made this an easy decision. When looking for a ticket, I noticed that I could return with two one ways and stop in Denver for about the same price as having a layover there and be able to catch one of my favorite bands and see an old friend. This was a bit of a budget stretch for me, but I managed to piece it together for pretty cheap (staying with family most of the time helped). A week of cool temps, great music, family, laughter, record shops, exploring, and a little alone time to top it off--sign me up!
With joyful abandon I made the impulsive decision to do it. In my mind I thought it would be a week distanced from daily responsibility and see how I felt to be in a place I love and just be me: not mom me, or work me, or friend, keep it together, clean your house/take care of things me, but uninhibited me, the me I want to be when I am stressed and feel like I am so extended I have nothing left for myself. Well, that did and didn’t happen.
The week brought lots of peaceful moments, good company, beauty, as well as some delightful and unexpected reconnecting, a spark of hope, a deeper understanding of where I stand with myself, and some confusion on where I stand with others. It also brought the revelation that I need to stop focusing on what could be, placing importance on possibilities, and simply allow myself to be in the moment. If there is one thing I am, it is honest. People know how I feel, what I have to offer. It may be a great love or an occasional friendly flirtation. People know what I want from them, there is no gray area in my heart. I put it out there and cannot control what happens next, that needs to be enough for me sometimes. So, for the first time this year, I explored a city and went to concerts alone without feeling that nagging loneliness. I also realized that you can miss someone so much it hurts sometimes, and not be lonely--how is that for contradiction?
There were a few clear moments of insight for me, as well:
Mixing expectation with abandon though can be dangerous. It means you always are dancing on the edge of risking what you want, of giving the wrong impression, of doing or saying something that scares, hurts, or confuses another person. I just have to count on my honesty to carry me through. That people who want me in their lives will make it happen.
But, with all of the things I have learned in just the last six months, I know that being myself and allowing that person to be fun, sad, sexy, goofy, or ... spontaneous is a good thing. It can all change so quickly. It can just be gone or it can change. Next year, everything could be different. I could be so exhausted from all this adventure that I spend the year on my couch with my records and have no need to travel, or write, or look for anything beyond the person sitting next to me (be that child, cat, or man). Or I could be seeing the world...
I have questioned a lot of things this year: why did this or that happen? Perhaps the most difficult was the blow to my intuition that caught me off guard, but in the long run I trust my gut and my heart and have no regrets. It led me to take the chances I should, meet the people I should, and will hopefully continue to live with all the hope and abandon I need to keep moving, keep exploring, keep feeling more and more myself. I am okay being a contradiction, I am okay being a hot mess. I don’t know what the right answers are or if my heart is calling out to the right person. I do know that I feel things deeply, live my life honestly, and want to spend time with people who know how to appreciate that.
I just hope that the people I love are not afraid to take a chance.
To see me as I am and not as they want me to be.
And continue to love me..