A friend just asked to see my blog, and I felt ashamed that it was so out of date. I started it almost a year ago, but I’ve purposefully ignored it for weeks. It was an outlet for an old self. An unsettled self, with unbounded optimism.
At the end of my first post I wrote
I need to work out how to be brave and show vulnerability at the same time. I am brave. I am vulnerable. And it’s time to say something about it.
It still feels true today, but the meaning of those words is so different to me now. I’m living the words – it’s no longer about saying something, it’s about doing something. I am being the experience. I’m facing it every day. How do you write about that?
“You can have the courage to climb the mountain, swim the lakes, go on a raft to the other side of the Atlantic or Pacific. That any fool can do, but the courage to be on your own, to stand on your two solid feet, is something which cannot be given by somebody.” UG Krishnamurti
Mostly during my preparations to move to Seattle I felt comfortable in my skin. I was in an empowered and excited place. My choice was so extremely different to anything I’d ever done before, it was easy to see the contrast.
But I was also in an extremely safe place; I was still at home amongst my family and oldest friends. When I made the decision to move, everyone told me I was very brave. It felt like a brave, crazy thing to do - jack all that security in and go to a new unknown. It still does. A year ago I felt that vulnerability as fear which prevented me from sharing my truth with the people around me. I wanted to move against it. I wanted to feel bravery in my life, in that moment, instead of just talking about it. And so I was inspired (by Lisa Lynch) to write into my vulnerability during the move. I wanted to out my fears and be free of them as I moved through the journey.
Now I’m absorbed by the reality of those choices every day. Life no longer feels quite like a roller coaster. It’s life. It feels like an island now. An interesting, uncharted, isolated place.
We’re all on that journey. We all look for the same fundamental things on our island. The only difference is that the adventure of that island life remains real for me. It’s not pre-determined, it’s not delivered in a convenient pre-assembled pack. It’s all around me as I travel forward – I feel the burden of my choices.
Usually we just glide along our path blind to them. Here I feel every bump and bruise. Fear is close to the path jumping out of the trees and loneliness is hidden around every corner. I am getting better at coping with them. But I am not immune.
Perhaps I’ll have some interesting stories to tell. They will be different to most people’s. But I’m still on the same journey as everyone else. The obstacles just become more obvious when you cut back all the usual trappings of life and stand on your own two feet, on a smaller island.
My fears are not new, they’re the same as they always were. But I understand them better now. They’re softer, more subtle and seemingly indelible. Despite their predicability – I miss my family, I feel disconnected from friends, etc. I continually underestimate them. At times they overwhelm me. And just as before, they usually remain under cover. Frequently they mute my voice and isolate me from those I love. I still put on an armor to prevent them from showing. But it’s a completely different colour; instead of maintaining a uniform that I’ve worn for years, I now wear my heart on my sleeve and no-one around me knows what to do with it. It’s messy, it sounds unusual and it doesn’t fit in very easily.
If I show it at home it causes heartache, guilt and discomfort; ultimately there’s nothing anyone can do about it anyway. So what’s the point in sharing it. FaceTime is my nemesis. If I show it around here it highlights my difference and isolates me.
And so I stand on my own two feet and hold my fear and isolation within me, out of sight. Part of my truth but not my definition. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.
Reconnecting to this site this evening has made me realise that I need it just the same as I did a treat ago. In 2015, when we were planning this adventure I rarely spoke about my work. I hardly thought about it either. There was no need; it was the only known constant. But now it consumes me. It’s the source of my biggest adventures. And so perhaps it’s time to start writing again.
When I created this blog in May last year, the image I chose was a skyline – at the time I associated it with Frasier Crane. Tonight, when I came to the page to copy the link, I found an image that meant something much more to me. For the first time I saw it as a symbol like a flag, a beacon towards a home, an illustration of a life. Not only do I see that silhouette several times a week in my daily life, it symbolises the life I first wrote About on a page 10 months ago. Dear Blog. I need you more than ever.
I want to be the best version of myself on this journey towards an independent entity – calm, adventurous, confident and joyful. I will try to show up in that way, no matter what I’m doing, but it will be harder to do that on my own. I will have to embrace imperfection, and build bridges out of myself more quickly and with more fragility if I am to make it across the ever changing tides of communication. I will learn yet more as I push my own boundaries towards it.
Instead of using my blog to open up my fear and “SaySomethingAboutSeattle”, I want to find news ways to open up Seattle and “SaySomething”. With you I will travel along an uncharted path towards LivingLifeInSeattle.
I want to use my experience to connect with people both here and at home. As I go out into this world and create a new professional identity, I want to open up my fear of standing on my own two feet in a way that brings people in rather than pushes them away from my island.