what it took

I was away for 100 days, and yet it felt like so much longer. I can't identify what it means to feel that way, being good or bad, but I realize that much of that has to do with the fact that I have worked hard, and in the process, I have changed. I feel so different, and yet more like myself. Because of this, I know I'll probably always seek certain adventures to remind myself what actually matters. When you take yourself away from everything you know; your comforts, your home, the things, the fluff, the bright lights and noise... the world presents itself and tells you things that were always there. You just have to listen.

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.

The key is to love yourself, to nurture your own needs, and listen to what your heart tells you. While the isolation of being on my own, in a new place, had a certain loneliness to it, I never really felt alone. When you learn to appreciate your own company, you create a friendship with yourself that brings a new sort of self respect that no one can shatter. Learning to love who you are, inside out, is a very trying effort, and I managed to pull a big chunk of self respect out of my system. I believe this is when I listened to what was going on. I needed to go home. I needed to push myself harder, without taking on so damn much at once.

It's weird to think that I loved it, and left. There is far more to it than what's on the surface. And damn, that surface, that scenery, that island, those trees, that ocean, that sky that is filled with stars the city doesn't even notice, is absolutely incredible. I will always go back to it, and might even make a habit of getting out there, on my own (or with company) to let life filter out the good and the bad, when it is needed. I feel so clear of crap. We are so insignificant in this world, and that message is a valuable one to carry back in your pocket. The noise, the drama, the garbage, the gossip, the "does your ex know you're back?" Fuck if I care. Nope. I have bigger things to carry and nurture and provide for myself. It's incredible to feel like life is an actual gift, and it's up to us to take that gift for what it is and make it into something more. It is all..... all our fucking choice.

I gained so much confidence in realizing that I can take care of myself. I lived in an empty house, off of what I brought in my car, with my dog, and my business, which has become my life. It's a different adjustment when your office doesn't take you out of the house, so I took it upon myself to create a routine, where I managed to get the connection I was needing. For an introvert and semi-hermit, it was neat to me that social interaction was something I was seeking. It became so necessary, for a variety of reasons. One being that I am human, the close second being that I am a feeler. I like to touch people, by sharing with them what I do. I am an artist. We're emotional... so damn emotional.

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.

I'm happy to be back, surrounded by love, in the place I call home. It's like I never left, and yet, it feels like I was gone forever. I came home when it called me, and I didn't even really realize that's what it was until I acted on impulse. I listened to my guts, hopped on that ferry and came right back. I am so glad that I did. I'm happy that no matter what things look like on the surface, it's still a massive adventure. It's a deep, emotional, wonderful sensation that makes my life feel more worth it than it did 100 days ago. They say that home is where your heart is. Where your heart is... you'll find yourself.

Take it and run.

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