And seven months later I came home.
It is one thing to finish writing a chapter. It is quite another entirely to commit to putting that final full stop. To drawing the line underneath. To reaching for the corner of the page to turn over and start a new part of the story altogether. The reality of endings is less romantic than you might expect. Rather, it is a soft and quiet meandering from one thing to another. So seamless that for a time it is hard to acknowledge to oneself that it is, in fact, real at all. But putting that full stop in place is still harder than one ever expects. Preparing oneself for a thing will never be enough.
The past seven months have been, for me, a full and riotous chapter of my life. There have been so many twists and turns and elements of surprise and unexpected thickenings of the plot. Full of colour and noise and smells and every page plastered in the images of the people I met and lived with and worked with and loved. A scrapbook could never hold the trials and tribulations of these past months. It is hard for me to accept that my wonderous adventure has ended. But now that I am distanced from all that stuff which I hold so dear, I have been able to reflect. And I realise that I have learned some things. Here is a selection of my recent realisations:
– It doesn’t matter whether the horse is really big or really small, if they want to be an arsehole you’d better get out of the way!
– You can get to the point of thinking you can’t possibly face another customer or smile at another child, and yet when the come you find you can.
– The deeper you allow yourself to love someone, the more vulnerable you become, the keener your hurts will be. And yet when asked if it is worth it? I would say yes.
– It is okay to cry when your heart is so full it starts to overflow.
– It is not okay to allow yourself to get lost in other people’s stuff.
– The people that truly love you will not ask the questions you can’t answer, will not force you into conversations you can’t have, and will not try to remind you of the things that cause you sadness.
– A broken heart cannot be ‘fixed.’ But it can be healed, by letting the shattered pieces slowly fall away until everything is fresh and whole.
– Facebook is possibly one of the worst things ever invented. We all use it, but it does more harm than good most of the time, always showing us the things we don’t want to see and encouraging us to shout to the world the depths of our desperation to be seen as cool or happy or successful. What a mess.
– I really REALLY like giraffes.
– You can fall in love with someone without expecting to and without realising it.
– Getting lost in cities is not fun. It is perfectly acceptable to swear at everyone and everything during the process of driving around searching for landmarks.
– There is a certain comfortable exhaustion that follows the act of crying so hard you have nothing left. It is actually quite a nice feeling, once the crying part is done of course.
– I like Battlestar Galactica.
– I have watched a lot of really bad films. So many, in fact, that I can’t remember what most of them were called or what they were about. Only that they were bad.
There are many more things I have come to understand, during the past seven months and since I left, but the above are the ones that are clattering around in my head the loudest. It has not been easy for me to come to this end. It is all a little peculiar still and will be, I think, until I am settled into the next chapter. Isn’t that how it goes? One thing ends and you are suddenly plunged into a different part of the story with little time to prepare. It takes time to adjust and figure out where you are, how to go about proceeding forwards. But you always work it out. And so shall I. Because I am at a pivotal point. Right now I sit at the eye of the storm, the centre of the wheel, the place around which all possibilities turn. I need simply choose where to go, and things will be set in motion.
It is with a heavy heart that I let my fingers reach for the corner of the page. I am almost ready to turn over and start the next one, fresh and clear headed. I will take maybe just a little more time to make sure nothing unnecessary follows me through that transition. Flush out the bad thoughts, the doubts, the negativity. Cry out those last tears of frustration and anger and pain and sadness so that I do not smudge the next part of the story.
And it seems that the world smiles on me sometimes. That there are moments of clarity which show me the things I need to see most, the things that may just boost my resolve that little bit more and give me a gentle nudge in the right direction. Little things that make me smile with their sheer coincidental existence, things that give my heart a little lift so that it does not plummet that day. I was out shopping with my brother today (me for a SIM card, him for presents for his girlfriends birthday) and I came across these little metal plaques. Something about them found a little snug corner in my heart and warmed it.
And so, failure aside, I am contemplating what I might attempt to do.