So I’m taking a quick break from my project 14 for a while to write of other ramblings and thoughts. I’m going back to University today at an obscene hour of the morning, and the last glimpse I have of the ‘burb of which I grew up in is the sunrise and the cow fields. I’m going to miss it, again, and I don’t know if I’m exactly ready to go back.
I wanted to be done my project 14 by now, but I think it’s already done me a world of good. Old me would’ve seen how far behind I was, and made excuses, and felt like a low worm about it, and given it up. New me shrugs, realizes everything else I did on my vacation, is proud of what I’ve already done, and realizes that I’ll continue thinking and plowing my way through it. It feels good to count this, not as a failure, but a work in progress.
I left University at the end of the summer semester soul-tired and heart-bruised, and not just a little bit discouraged. For the first time in my life, I questioned whether I was cut out for my chosen field, which scared me, because I’ve never looked back before. I also left with a broken heart, a fatigued body, and a lost soul.
I wanted to go home. I wanted the comfort of my family, I wanted the company of old friends, I wanted the security of a commune I knew well. I wanted to rediscover the secret of what made me awesome when I felt like I was on top of the world in high school, and I wanted to reclaim the reason why I’d been so sure for all my life. I wanted to recapture the magic that kept me from failing, and the wizardry that helped me make friends.
I went on a snark hunt. For those of you who have never read the Lewis Carroll nonsense poem, it describes “with infinite humour the impossible voyage of an improbable crew to find an inconceivable creature” (credo wikipedia), which is exactly what I did. The secret and reason and the magic and wizardry was the snark that turned out to be a boojum, and the me that hunted for them with “thimbles and care” vanished with it (If you’re excessively confused, “The Hunting of the Snark” can be found here, or you can read the wikipedia article here). That is, the secret and reason was the naivety of youth, and the magic and wizardry never existed.
There was no one me that was then battered and broken, and a different me that was once whole. There was no searching me and a me that had all the answers. There was no amazing me and commonplace me, no sure me and questioning me, enthusiastic me and discouraged me, then me or now me.
There was just me.
I am one person, battered, broken and whole. I am one person, searching and finding. I am one person, amazing, commonplace, sure, questioning, enthusiastic, discouraged, then, and now. I am a contradiction, a paradox, an enigma, and I am perfectly okay with that.Who I am today is the sum of everything I was yesterday and everything I hope to be tomorrow.
I’ve already said what I was yesterday: broken-hearted, fatigued body, and lost soul. I wanted to come back confident and swinging, with my head high and everything behind me. I wanted to come back bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and five pounds lighter, with the same vim and vigor that I usually approached life with. I wanted to be able to walk onto that campus sure that I was in the right place, and strut around like I owed the place.
My broken heart is not whole again, nor do I think it ever will be, but it is better, and more beautiful and worth more for the repairs I am making in gold. I still carry around a little baggage, because it is hard to give everything to someone and realize they don’t consider it enough or worth their effort, but maybe it was too much. While it’s still there, though, it’s not too heavy or too much to bear – I can put it away when I need to, and I don’t feel the compulsive need to unpack it at every junction. It’s just mine, now, a dusty old fanny-pack I never need to open instead of a battered backpack with many broken zippers, and I can’t wait to get rid of it.
My fatigued body is rested but it’s not bouncing. I didn’t lose the weight I wanted to, but at least I didn’t gain much. I got sleep, decent food (amazing food – I missed my mommy’s cooking) and no stress for two and half blissful weeks. I’ve built a solid foundation of good habits. I’m not going to strut; I’m going to tread more lightly and carefully through life. I’ll probably still strut every once and a while, but I’ll learn how to dance, and caper, and bounce through life as well.
My soul is not lost any more, but wandering on a journey with the Bellman’s map: no conventional signs, perfectly understandable, and entirely blank. While that might seem to be the same thing, there is one very crucial difference, that I am not afraid any more. I’m okay with this – I’ll just putter along and take the lack of directions, not as a reason to panic, but as a reason to be sure I’m not going in the wrong direction. My soul is lighter, and happier, accepting this uncertainty.
I said when I left that I wasn’t going to be coming back the same person I was leaving, but I’m not coming back the same person I thought I’d be coming back as either. And yet I am, because everything I’ve done and everything I’ve wanted make up me. I’m also going back to a new aspect of my University. I’m living with different people, in a place I can really call home. People say that home is where the heart is, but I think it’d be really rather uncomfortable to live without your heart, and anyway, it’d be terrible if you forgot it somewhere. Home is where your heart wants to be, and right now, my heart wants to be with my friends, continuing down the uncharted path of life, and taking on the whole damn world. So look out, because I’m coming home!
It’s amazing what writing and coffee will do for your outlook, isn’t it?