A year ago almost to the day I wrote on this website And then I had a new life in Rome. This is HILARIOUS, because that was a mere 365 days ago and yet it feels like another existence. I suppose it was, in many ways. Is that allowed? Can a person live multiple lives as multiple people without being Matt Damon in The Talented Mr. Ripley?
Am I going to have to bash you over the head with an oar as soon as you’ve finished reading this? HOW AWKWARD.
I am days away from typing And then I had a new life in London, and I’m freaking PUMPED about it, which is terrifying, because I have never been so single-mindedly PUMPED about anything in this way ever before. In fact, seldom has the word PUMPED ever been concurrently appropriate for anybody’s enthusiasm and yet so white-British-middle-class inappropriate at the same time too. I shouldn’t be saying PUMPED because I am not a Canadian cheerleader, and yet hey Internet! Look at all the fucks I give!
Flying to Sri Lanka at 18 years old, just because? Shoulder-shrug.
Moving to Detroit having never even been to the U.S.A, based on the fact that I’d met some Americans I liked more than most of my fellow countrymen? Whatever.
New job in Rome? No big deal.
Stretches of summers in France? Backpacking India? Hosing most South-Asian countries in my been-there-done-that list? Jobs in Renaissance villages and baby sections in toy shops, work experience in big universities and that time my family owned a jam-making factory? IRRELEVANT.
Sometimes, when I meet new people or I look back over old Facebook photos and blog posts I am reminded that I have an incredibly fortunate gift of a life. I have a bigger collection of places lived and friends made and experiences undergone in my 26 years than many people amass in 80. And yet, I don’t ever really believe it, you know? It takes something external to nudge me in the direction of gratitude. I take it all so for granted.
BUT NOT WITH THIS ADVENTURE.
I’m head-over-heels, caution-to-the-wind, don’t-give-a-damn BALLS TO THE MOTHER FUCKING WALL committed to moving to London and doing something I am passionate about, and in said 26 years I can count on less than three fingers the things I’ve been so devoted to before now.
I feel good about it. I want it; I’m hungry for it.
I’ve made a decision to be happy about it.
I popped down for the afternoon this week, for a job interview (HEY-UNIVERSE- HOOK ME UP, YEAH?) and although I knew I had a ton of people I could call to hang with whilst I killed the six hours between post-interview nausea and evening train home, I didn’t. I wanted to walk around the city, my city, and just look. Alone. I wanted to stand beside the river and pick out the landmarks I knew and make a mental note of the ones I didn’t so that I could learn. I wanted to loiter outside of interesting looking cafes tucked away in side-streets designed only for those with nowhere to be. I needed to sit on benches and get off at unplanned tube stops and stand next to the tallest buildings I could find to stare up, revelling in feeling insignificant and tiny.
I forget how much I adore London. It’s the freakin' promised land as far as I’m concerned.
I always feel the same when I get into St. Pancras, off the train. I walk self-consciously, aware that I’m not from here, and where that’s where I get my pleasure from in any other city- being an outsider, with permission to explore and wonder and be confused-with London I just want to belong already. And so I stand awkwardly to get my underground day-pass, knowing that a Real Londoner would have an Oyster card. I refuse to look at a map because Real Londoner knows where they have to be and how to get there. I check out my reflection in shop windows because I’m not London enough- I should be trendier, care less, have different shoes on.
I’m not that girl. Normally, I don’t give two hoots about belonging, but- and here is the kicker- I wonder how much of that was actually the opposite? Knowing I didn’t belong and so wearing my differences as a shield to protect from having to pick a home, a routine, a path?
I don’t know the answer, but do you know what? As the original black-or-white EVERYTHING HAS TO FIT INTO A BOX girl, I’m kinda of enjoying just figuring it out.
And like I said, I’m terrified, because I’ve never really let myself desperately want something before. I didn’t want to seem- well. DESPERATE.
But sod it. I’m quite prepared to commit, to be terrified, to risk getting my heart broken by the city of dreams just to say that I did it. That I put myself out there for my own biggest risk of them all- feeling like I’m home.