As I sit here writing this post, the world outside is in a state of emergency and the unknown. We are being challenged to change our normal routines, change our patterns of living and more importantly, stop taking the world we live in for granted. Mother nature has sent us to our rooms as punishment for the damage we have done & we must sit in our shit and reflect. Take a pause and hit the reset button. And yet, at the same time, there are still moments of normalcy. It seems strange the latter still exists or is it? Is it all too unpredictable that some sense of normalcy still exists? Furthermore, is it so far-fetched to predict that once this pandemic is over, things will return to normal?
I’m trying to find the words to best describe how I am feeling. The vocabulary for it is just too vast and I’m only just beginning to find out how I feel for myself. Maybe this doesn’t make much logical or rational sense. Why should I feel anything? I have a roof over my head, I have my health, I find inspiration through my camera lens, I go out for scenic hikes, and I binge on cinematic treasures Netflix has to offer. All of which I previously took for granted as I busied myself gallivanting across the globe. As I scurried from one airport to the next, packing and unpacking at each temporary hotel, I buried something deeper and deeper into the far depths of existence such that I could easily ignore. Adapting was not just part of the job, it became my reality. An existence I welcomed as it allowed me to practice the very art form our society is being challenged with today – social distancing. “I’m practicing the art of social distancing for the first time.” I said recently to a close friend one day as a reference to my longest stretch of staying put for as long as I can remember. I was quickly reminded that I didn’t need practicing, I was an expert at it. She was right. I kick ass at it.
The act of social distancing – staying six feet away and protecting yourself, is something I can claim title for. It’s what I know. The narrative I have always told myself was this – you’ve been hurt before, you’ve been let down before, you’ve made mistakes before, you don’t deserve forgiveness and you haven’t been given the chance to grow before. So my answer to this was easy. Protect yourself and keep a distance. Guard up, deflective wall up, distancing activated. Not to say I ran away. But I sensed the need to walk away for just a moment, re-look at what I was surrounded with and look back at the character that filled my shoes. It was a jaded vision of me, it was a character, it was someone out of a movie script. The narrative, was written by everyone around me, BUT ME.
Who is that? I don’t recognize her. Is that me? Who lives inside that person? Where did she come from? Who made her? Why would anyone love her? Who can save her? Who is giving her a chance? Is she allowing herself a chance? Who would forgive her?
Now more than ever, I’ve been given the gift of time, the gift of space and the gift of life. To revisit such a destructive narrative. I refuse to be victimized and I refuse to drown in self-destructing pity. More importantly, I refuse to let those who wrote the narrative to crucify me. The story doesn’t end here and I’ll be damned if I allowed that. I have no intention of re-writing history, for if it were not for the experiences, I wouldn’t be in this position today. I don’t for a second regret what I went through, as the lessons I have learned far exceed the hardships. I also don’t regret making mistakes. I would much rather have learned from my wrongs, than to blindly presume I was always right. But as I write this, I’ve been at battle with my head and heart. I’ve begun honest and hard conversations. Admitting matters of the heart. What hurts, what I’ve learned, what is real. I’m beginning to dig up the very thing that I buried for so many years far beneath the surface and forcing myself to be brutally honest with myself. It’s yet to fully reveal itself and I’m still discovering new depths. Discovering new things each day. Discovering new meaning. Connecting with my Simba group who not only never abandoned me when I needed them most, but continue to lift me up and remind me how much I deserve to be loved. Remind me the importance of self-love. Remind me there is so much to discover.
Who knew social distancing could be so wonderful!
As we learn to reveal, heal and grow alongside our planet, let us reflect on what matters most, re-adjust our priorities, and begin to forgive ourselves for whatever happened in the past. It’s in the past and you have every right and opportunity to make amends with yourself, amends with others if you so chose, learn from it and move forward. Recognize only you can break down the barriers. Recognize only you can write your own narrative. Recognize that the first thing on the agenda is to define what it means to have the best fucking relationship with oneself. There in lies the pinnacle of all relationships with others that are to come. Once you find that, never let it go.
Now’s the time to flip the fucking script.
Only you can write your own narrative and allow yourself to have the best fucking relationship with oneself.