We walked dragging our feet barefoot through the water at Crescent beach and laughed about this blogger, a massage therapist, who travelled to Italy and would write about how she would recount her stories to friends and family back home with a particular spin as though the dingy coffee shop set in a rough area of town were some picturesque beauty and failing to mention her traveling companion had run off with some new boyfriend leaving her to fend for herself most of the time. She lived this perfect Italian dream. Neither of us had left on our own adventures yet but we enjoyed how funny reality can be miles away from the way we tell our stories.
I can see how easy it would be to only tell the good stories, or to make them all sound so perfect. I knew before I left that life on the other side of the world is just… life on the other side of the world. I reminded myself I’d need a grace period to settle in even, something I forget within minutes of my semi-regular little reminders.
Cheri and I laughed about it over Skype today. I laughed about the girl in Italy and how sometimes it would be nice to say, “life swallowed me up in perfection over there…” even though I never anticipated it would. She’s in New Zealand now and so we’re both able to relate to this feeling. She laughed and told me she was glad we talked near daily so that she got to hear the real stories, the real struggles, of the letter I got in the mail that made me cry alone at the kitchen table and had me missing old friends, about how sick I’ve been feeling from wheat and how sometimes I just long to be alone.
I guess behind all the fun adventures, we all have days like these and now I can say, I’ve had a week like this. Every time I sat down to write the words just wouldn’t come. I wanted to process this feeling before I just blurted it all out in some mess that couldn’t be understood by me or anyone else so I just waited…
All week I’ve been struggling with community life. Having gone from such freedom to sharing a room, a bathroom and everything in between. Getting thrust into a new life before you’ve had a chance to catch your breath is hard. I miss cooking every day and having my favorite kitchen tools at hand, meanwhile having inviting everyone over for a good glass of wine, lots of conversation and some dinner.
I told myself for Lent to give myself a break, to stop comparing myself to others or trying to have it all together. I noticed I was so hard on myself I couldn’t just enjoy who I’ve become or who I’m becoming and that’s not something I want to cultivate. If ever there’s a time to step into the person I want to be, it’s now. Having said that, the days following my decision have been brutal as I kept running into the old beast but I’m just glad that finally the day has come where I’ve decided I want to live a better life, one not robbed by my critical self. How’s that for a week?