I used to be engulfed. I had lived with family, I had lived with friends, lived in apartments and lived in dorms. I had lived in Germany and I had lived in Bangalore. I had travelled near and far, unhitched and unaccompanied. I had spent my nights with 30 others shoulder to shoulder and my days in absolute solitude. I had photographed pigeons pooping in Venezia and soaring in New York City. I had been alone and surrounded all at once. Through all the confinements and all the freedom, I was forever protected and sheltered by those who believed in me, worried about me, and cared for me.
It’s a steep and slippery slope to climb when trying to overcome the comfort of home. I’d always believed I had to find happiness in the discomfort to be truly happy- for a comfortable life is a stagnant life and one that has not pursued all of its most outrageous dreams. I found myself hopping from one country to the next, looking to live just long enough to call it home, but not enough to sever the tattered strings leading my unlit path back towards the bliss of childhood. But home never faltered and the dim flame settled upon my childhood never blew out.
I had made feeble attempts at rebirth. I’d tried to create a façade of inexplicable unattainable happiness such that I’d lost myself along the way. My ability to recreate and rewrite my persona on a day to day basis became exhausting. And yet, I thrived off of it. I felt this breathless freedom- the kind of freedom you feel as you bike down a steep hill, let go of the handrails for just a moment, close your eyes, and tip your head back enough to let the air fill your nostrils and take your breath away in an all encompassing rush of adrenaline and solitude.
I’d become addicted.
Forevermore was I destined to search for the high that came with an unpredictable tomorrow, a fleeting friendship, an ever changing path to happiness. My roots stayed grounded in the comfort of home, while my pallid branches craved for sunlight. The energy I found in the unknown guided my capricious path towards a destiny of solitude. But it was a solitude filled with understanding, truth, reality, and deep down wholeness- a solitude worth whatever sacrifices had to be made to attain one more fix.
Today I stand at the edge of a 100 storey building. I glance back at the shelter, from the corner of my eye I see all that I used to be. I see a girl; innocent, idealistic, unsure. She wears a blue cotton dress with a swirling flower on one side, her curly hair bouncing in ponytails as she smiles and points to the sky. I look forward and I see in the far distance a woman who is jaded. A woman shed of attachments and grounding, but successful in her own right. A woman who stands tall and proud, all her possessions in a small bag near her feet, waiting. I look down, and I look up, left and right, in this place I stand today I see a daughter, a friend, a visionary, a teacher, a student, a searching soul. I see someone with gall- someone who is so headstrong that her safety net could be slipping out from underneath her but she would be too blinded by her self-righteous path to enlightenment to notice. I see someone who is scared to take the next step forward, knowing full well there is no turning back now, and there is no standing still on the teetering edge in this speed-of-light life she has embarked upon.
While I fear my life may leave me empty handed, I recognize this path is the only one I will allow myself to pursue. I have been trying to make the world spin slower, give myself a moment to bathe in the delicate balance of bliss I have discovered today, but I know I must let my breath out, pick my right foot up, and take the next step into the black abyss of undiscovered destinations and incurable freedom.