I did something today I haven’t done in years.
I came home and cranked the stereo. And I danced. Alone. In my room. I turned on my camera and pressed record.
I needed to capture this moment. I haven’t danced alone, just for the hell of it since I was in high school. What was I missing all this time that had me forget to crank up the music and smile and laugh and move without giving a shit?
Freedom. A lightness in my soul. The kind of bliss that you can only find when your spirit is peaceful and knowing, or has found some kind of peace in NOT knowing. It took me six and a half years to return to this place. And god dammit, it was messy. This return home came at a cost. I have traveled through so many unfamiliar versions of myself, felt like a stranger in my own skin so often without knowing how to get reacquainted. But I’m thankful for the journey through self discovery that got me back here.
Sure, I’ll experience innummerous versions of myself in this life. Some will be tremendous and brilliant and vibrant and some will probably be downright shitty. It wouldn’t be the first time. And somehow I know that what I feel today, right at this very second in space and time that I have returned to something I am meant to be. Like that old friend you may fall out of touch with every now and again, but can pick up the phone in a year and feel familiar and comfortable even though so much is probably different, and yet still the same.
I’m no authority on how we should live our lives, but I have picked up some treasures in the way of self knowledge along the way that I’ll keep in my back pocket to call upon when I need reminding.
TRUST YOUR FUCKING GUT. There’s a reason we get that physical sensation that accompanies a knowing feeling of what is right for us. Listen to it. I pushed this feeling aside for so many years. When clarity and knowing reared its head, I turned the other cheek in fear that the reality that would follow would be hard or scary. And you know what? I was right. But I could not have anticipated the incredible liberation that would accompany that hardship. I couldn’t have known that fear and hurt could exist alongside such freedom and joy. Don’t be afraid. There’s always another side to come out on. Trust yourself and know that you will come out on that side triumphantly. There will be times when your decisions hurt like hell and you’d swear your very soul was set ablaze. But that doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Shit, a lot of times it probably means it’s right. For so long I sat “comfortably” and complacently to avoid emotional suffering, all the while subjecting myself to a life in my own shadow. When your best friend tells you that the person you’re showing up as lately is a shell of the self they know you can be, THAT MEANS SOMETHING. When Julie Wludyka tells you you’re a zombie, it’s time to turn inward and figure out how to rise up from the walking dead.
And sometimes the universe will make the decision when you won’t. For so long I couldn’t muster up the courage to let go of what didn’t serve me, not really let go. Not in the way I knew I needed to. In the way I knew I deserved and couldn’t find just one single solitary moment of bravery.
Girl… here comes your big, blaring, blinking neon fucking sign. Go. Be free. Experience true, divine liberation. Dance again. Unleash that beautiful soul onto the world and be seen. You should be. You’re sensational.
And who knew such freedom would come in accepting what I will never, ever know? To reflect on how my actions could have changed the outcome of a situation is powerful, sure. But to allow myself some grace, and relinquish control to the universe and realize that I did all I could, comes with its own brand of rad-ness. Sometimes things pan out through a greater plan. Time to let go of the reigns and enjoy the ride.
Some nights are hard. Some nights I text this incredible, wise giant of a man I call my little brother and I say “what if that was it? what if I have experienced all the love there is to receive in this world? what if there isn’t something better, realER, pureER, or honest?”
And then he says this:
“The heart is a muscle after all…think of love as an extreme work out. What happens after you work out? Muscles grow back stronger and have the capacity to last longer. Optimistism is really underrated sometimes” :*
And you have to know that if the stars aligned on August 15, 1992 to bring that kid to you as your brother, something remarkable must be out there. And your life has only just begun.