From looking at how I was when I left, to how I am now, it's a significant difference.. and yet, I am who I've always been. I just needed perspective and a deep personal cleanse. I needed the world to speak to me, block out the noise and the unnecessary; cut me down, build me up, increase the silence, breathe in the balance, to listen to who I am. I let go of so much, and yet I returned with far more than I anticipated.
I recommend to anyone and everyone to seek the unknown. If an opportunity presents itself, like the one I was given, take it. It seemed selfish to pack up and go, but the ones who mattered supported my decisions to experience and grow. That's the beauty of trying life changing things; the ones who love and support you, will remain, no matter where you go.
I went out for coffee, to the same place, almost daily. I'd take my drawing things, set up my space, and leave a couple of finished sketches in front of me on the table. It was, absolutely, to lure people in through curiosity, not for showing off, but for interaction. Before long, I became a regular, and was dubbed among many as "art girl." I had people pass and give the thumbs up, share their own stories, and soon had strangers sitting at my table; discussing their feelings toward art and how they themselves wished to become more creative. My words will never change when I say, "you can do it." When I get the scoffs, the uncomfortable laughs, the eye rolls; equipped with some lame excuse that they'll never be as good as me, or how I'll judge them for trying.. I stare right back. Don't use your excuses to stand in your own way.
I took my advice. I listened to how I spoke to others, and I dissected my own example. I allowed myself to struggle so hard, for the sake of saying I was useless, that I'd failed, or that I wasn't cut out for something so important to me. Something that has been of value to my life, since as far back as I can even remember. This is my life. I was standing in my own way, waiting for it to be taken from me, waiting to be laughed at, waiting to be told that it was expected that I'd crash and burn. I was also distancing myself from the love and support that I already had, for some strange sort of punishment or personal denial. I decided to feel selfish and undeserving toward my decisions; that I was somehow a bad person for ever believing in myself and trying something so grand and life altering. It's easy to feel wrong for feeling so good. There are people who will hate you when you feel good.. I saw that when I was away. Glad I didn't have to look to find the ones I didn't need. They left on their own. Distance brings clarity.
I know I felt insecure to let myself shine, because it brings a certain amount of attention that creates a vulnerability, which I'm still not sure how to stand so confidently with. Why waste life tucking it aside, just for the benefit of someone who might feel threatened by it? It doesn't make sense. I worked my lifetime to get where I am. Just like we all do. Everyone has a struggle, a challenge, a life to live. The world keeps on going, regardless of what those things are. They're your things to know. Keep them safe, let them grow with you. Push them harder in the face of uncertainty. It's neat when you get past it and realize that it's all your own to carry. Every little thing is what you make of it. Stand your ground and stand firm. No one can knock you over but yourself.
I left so much of myself out there in those woods, but yet, I brought back so much. I've grown. I've become more of myself and I don't give a fuck who doesn't like it. We have been given a life to live, so why live it through anyone else but ourselves? Seriously.. who cares? Do something you love, let it out, share it, embrace it. Grow like a tree and reach for the sky. I'm being a super flighty hippie here, I know, but seriously. To all of those who wanted to stand in my way, along with a big piece of myself... you can remain lost in the woods where I left you, in hopes that you find what you're seeking. I guarantee that what you seek is yourself. When you find it, hold on tight. You matter. You really do.
This world is a breathtaking place that we need to be far more thankful for. We are breathing it in every day, and we barely take the time to look at it -off of our phones- and see it for what it really is. It owns us, it guides us, it supports us. The trees, the stars, the rivers, the leaves, the flowers, the skies, the mountains, the birds, the particles that dance in the breeze. All of it is what we are. I will be seeking nature more and more, to guide me. For now, I need my friends/family for support and care. I broke down a little, in the midst of building things back up. It takes a lot of work to do so much at once. I haven't even put into words what this entire year has done for me, as a whole. I have so much yet to spill as I go. It's coming out, at least. I write so I can see it. Damn, I am proud.
Take it and run.