I didn’t know I needed to read this until I had already accidentally stumbled across it. It caught at my breath and chased the rhythm of my chest. Since I got back from Switzerland, decisions made, I’ve been happy and then sad and then excited and then scared and then indifferent and then and then and then and then and then.
And then it made sense.
I thought I was doing All The Emotions because of what I am about to do next. But that’s not it. I’m emotional because of what I’ve done.
Last May I moved to Italy. Sixteen months ago I was a different person. And I don’t mean college-semester-abroad-I-got-so-crazy-shit-going-back-home-is-gonna-be-like-such-a-drag-nobody-understands-me different. What I mean is… I mean that I didn’t realise that I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t unhappy. Just. I don’t know. My mind wasn’t as quiet, my heart not as buoyant. I wasn’t alive inside. I was terrified of being alive, actually, because then I’d have to admit that maybe there were things in my life I needed to change if I were ever going be the woman I am supposed to be.
Admitting a need to change seemed to me to be failure. I don’t fail well. I ignored it all instead.
How’s that for personal development.
After the leaves began to fall, crisp and golden, from the trees, responsibilities started, and I moved on to Rome. Rome showed me the Other Side of Italy, and with the party of warmer months over I wasn’t left with much.
Who moves to Rome and hates it? I wondered. I did. I didn’t like Rome because I didn’t like myself. I tried to ignore that, too.
But the universe made it very clear to me that if I were to fulfil my personal legend I’d need to figure out a different way of interacting with my deepest thoughts and widest environment in order to shed the skin of somebody I used to be and move forward to the future that was waiting for me.
I can’t explain it any other way- and I’ve tried. It genuinely, really, 100% feels as though there is a life for me that already exists, and in that future I have everything that I dream of having now. The love, the writing, the joy. My only job is to file my metaphorical paperwork and the rest will follow. Because it has to. The universe knew the girl I was didn’t have the capabilities to do that- to focus and realise a dream. So she pushed me and pushed me until I cried and laughed and panicked and wanted to give up but didn’t. And what do you know? The moth became a butterfly.
Maybe, the girl became a woman.
It happened in Italy.
I am unequivocally happy now. And I am terrified of leaving this country and her nomadic friends and colors and uncertain addresses because maybe doing so will somehow undo all of what I have done.
It’s ridiculous, I know. The woman can’t turn back time and become a girl again any more than the flower can become its bulb or Joan Rivers can ever know what her real face might look like.
But it is how I feel.
I don’t want to feel sad about leaving Italy. I’ll be back. She’s in my blood. But as soon as I read that stupid quote on a stupid girly web-based pinboard it stupidly hit me that I’m sad that I might inadvertently leave this new self behind. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID.
Earlier this summer I caught a color crying in the bathroom at DREAMERSchool.
“What happened?” I said.
“I’m sad,” she replied.
“Because everything is changing and I’m scared that the things that are important to me can’t come with me.”
In my voice but with words that came from somewhere else I replied, without hesitation “It’s funny. The things that are truly important have a way of sticking around. And the things that don’t make it? Not so important.”
I know this to be true, but still. I worry, you know?