Monday, June 08, 2015

two months, failure, etc.

Today marks two months since I left home. Since I boarded a plane and shifted myself to the other side of the world. For what? For something I couldn't find at home. For an adventure, one that felt so incredibly necessary. And yet, if I'm honest, the past two months have been characterised by intense emotional experiences that have tested everything I thought I knew about myself and this decision that I made.

Nothing good is easy. We appreciate things more when it takes a little something of us to get where we want to be. Only, sometimes you underestimate how much you have to give, how much of yourself you have to open up to get to that good. And sometimes, as you find these little pieces of yourself falling away, you wonder if the sacrifice is worth it. If the good is enough to compensate you for the loss.

They're questions I can't answer yet. They're questions I may never be able to answer. Maybe the point is in asking them at all, with no promise of an answer. Like moving to the other side of the world, with no promise of anything at all.

It's early summer in London right now and the sun rises before 5am. I lay in the single bed of my temporary home and stare our the window, thinking thoughts. I find myself musing like that quite often, moments when I'm alone and the city is spinning past me and I can stare out a window or across a street or straight ahead and just let my mind go. And often, more often than not, I find myself circling back to one theme. Failure.

I found the following quote on Brainpickings, my go-to site for, well, just about everything. And it feels quite pertinent right now. 

'The word failure is imperfect. Once we begin to transform it, it ceases to be that any longer. The term is always slipping off the edges of our vision, not simply because it's hard to see without wincing, but because once we are ready to talk about it, we often call the event something else - a learning experience a trial, a reinvention - no longer the static concept of failure' - Arts Advocate Sarah Lewis, in her book The Ride: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery

Before I left for London, a work colleague told me not to be afraid of failure. But, it's difficult to be afraid of something that you can't quantify. Something you cannot accurately describe. After all, what is failure? I've never been able to articulate exactly why I'm here, so what exactly does it mean to fail?

And if Sarah Lewis is right, it doesn't matter anyway. Because what might feel like a failure today, will be an experience tomorrow. 

kb xx

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

a week, a roller coaster

A week is a long time. And yet, no time at all. I've been in London for a week now. And I've found myself cycling through some intense emotional experiences. I'm calling it my emotional roller coaster. Up and down and up again. It's a strange thing, but not an unexpected thing. 

Moving your life halfway around the world, far far away from family and friends, from the people that are significant pieces in the puzzle of your life, how can that not be an intense emotional experience? How can that not split you open, spilling nagging feelings of doubt and fear and sadness into the world around you? 

The very act of separation feels like the end of something. Like something irreversibly changed. And yet being in London feels like a beginning, an important and real beginning. I wrote about beginnings here. I thought that one thing had to end for another to begin, but now I'm not so sure. Why can't things go on simultaneously? Why can't I be here and there, too? 

And so I ride my roller coaster and I feel myself splitting open, spilling those feelings of doubt and fear and sadness - and hope and desire and something that might be happiness - onto the page. I'm scrawling the thoughts as they come to the surface with a blue pen on the lined pages of my composition book. 

I wonder if it is there, amongst the scratchings of my pen, the loops of my letters, the messy and seemingly unintelligible scrawl that is my handwriting, that I can find a balance to the wildness and unpredictability of this space I'm in. If, in amongst the words, I can find what I'm here for. 

kb xx

Monday, April 06, 2015

endings and beginnings

One of my cacti is dead. Well, dying at least. Its stem has lost the vibrant green of its youth and is now dried and twisted. I noticed it this morning as I pulled my bedroom curtains open for what will be the second last time. It caught me a little by surprise, as death is wont to do. And yet, the sadness is permeated by something else. Something that feels just a little hopeful. 

Does one thing have to end before another can begin? Maybe. In a way it feels almost necessary. If nothing ever ended, how would we ever begin something else? 

A little over twenty-four hours from now I’ll be boarding a plane for perhaps the biggest beginning of my life - save the initial one perhaps - and the cactus and its untimely demise feels strangle poetic. 

The past few months I’ve had a handful of dreams that featured snakes quite prominently. The dreams were vivid and I would wake from them and instantly push a mental rewind button to play them back as I lay in bed. Some cursory research revealed dreams about snakes can indicate change or transition.

The demise of the cactus, the appearance of the transition snakes - strange indicators of fate?

Relying on fate is nothing new for me. It’s the basis of my wardrobe and it’s served me well. Perhaps that’s why I’m comfortable taking the cactus and the dreams of snakes as signs from the universe that this decision to take my life from its comfortable space right here and drop it into one of the biggest cities in the world is the right one. That getting on that plane tomorrow night is the best choice for me right now. 

I am of course overflowing with feels that I cannot quite reconcile. Happiness and sadness, excitement and fear. Doubt, great big doubt. And yet, in part I know because of the snakes and now because of the cactus, I must get on that plane. I must do this. I can’t stay here. 

This part of my life is ending, this chapter in this safe and warm and comfortable environment is coming to a close. But there will be more chapters. Tomorrow marks the opening sentences of the newest, and so despite (or perhaps because of) the chaos of my current emotional state I will get on that plane tomorrow night and I will begin my new chapter. 

Wish me luck!

kb xx