Imagine, you’re with your favorite group of friends, and you all are getting each other real excited to go sky diving. Hooting and hollaring, cheering this idea on, not remembering how terrified of heights you are. Telling people for weeks about this huge adventurous plan! You go buy your ticket and as a group you all go up in the airplane. You’re talking the entire time, just so excited, still not remembering that crazy fear of heights you have. And then the plane door opens, and you realize you have to jump out of an airplane 30,000 feet in the air. And all the talk you’ve done that distracted you from your fear vanishes, and you’re staring out of this open airplane door thinking, “what in gods name am I doing?!”
If I was to explain my feelings crossing the Ocean City bridge at 11:34pm last Tuesday it would be the above.
Maybe a little confusing? Keep with me..
I’ve been sharing the news that I was coming back to Ocean City for the last two months. It wasn’t a whole lot to speak of, it felt at the time. I had done this nine previous summers. When telling my girlfriend Breesha, my ex Jonas, who both felt and had their own ways of supporting me a lot last summer through it all, both had the same response, “are you sure Kelsie?” But I felt strong and whole in who I’ve worked so hard to become, that I responded with an unwavering confident. I got this. I’m glad I felt so confident at home, had I known there how I’ve felt now, I probably wouldn’t have left. That same feeling as above, when that plane door opens and you’re finally hit with the reality. There you are, and there is no going back. JUMP.
All that night, and for the days that have followed, its taken everything in me to remind myself to stop holding my breath. To keep both feet on the ground. To stay calm and graceful. A constant reminder to tell myself: I am enough, I am worthy, I am not a person that compares anymore. God, how did I get back to a person of self doubt?
The weight in my chest was so heavy a week ago that I could have so easily turned around on that bridge and went back to my home of comfort. To my friends. To my mom. To my contentment. But you know, this is where I’m supposed to be. It’s not a comfortable feeling of knowing that, but it is what my gut knows to be true. Otherwise I would not be sitting at Coffee Beanery, where I sat for hours in October applying for graduate schools, to realize I was running away to Thailand instead.
My aunt said to me, and god do I ever love her for this. ” but you know what, you are there because you are supposed to be there. maybe things WILL repeat themselves (god save me if they do) because the universe/ God gives us lessons repetitively until we are supposed to learn what we are supposed to learn.”
Amen to that. Also what a weight off my shoulder. I hope that sits with you as much as it sat with me. We aren’t in control, so just ride the waves and enjoy the lessons.
I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.- Cheryl Strayed
What is it about this place? What is it that causes me such a deep feeling of caution. Waiting for the next piece of heartache, the next part of turmoil. So much of it has to do with how destructive I’ve been so many summers before. I explained to my mom in the best way I could explain, this city is where I’ve made the toughest, unrecognizable choices. Where I used the heaviest. We all have some addictive tendencies, my drug of choice is lust, passion. I grew in that part of myself such a great amount in Thailand and through the last 7 months, and it’s like putting an addict right back in her toxic environment. With my pick of destructive, bad choices. This city, something about it, affects me in ways it doesn’t affect others. I‘ve gotten down on my knees and prayed for strength more times these last 6 days than I have in my entire 25 years on this beautiful planet.
But it is not taking over this year. It’s just not.
Is there a place that when you return to, brings a weight to your chest?
Is there a place that you’ve been avoiding returning to, because it’s too much?
Is there a person you are avoiding, because the heartache will be too much?
I challenge you to show up. Give yourself that space to grow through it. We stay away from the areas of our lives that are the hardest, because we need them the most.
Spirituality. People. Places. Yoga poses.
Show up to those areas, and work through it. With me, because I’ll be right there with you putting in the work. Remaining intentional on staying whole.
Embrace where you are. Make it the most beautiful chapter of your life. Cause there is a next chapter.
And it will be even more beautiful. Keep building those powerful steps in the path of your life.
I created this blog to walk through our journeys together. My travel journeys to help you fulfill that part of your life, if that is what you choose. But to also live through the real life crap together. To let you know you’re not alone in the heartaches of life. This journey for me is leading me to my ultimate goal, working abroad and seeing the world, but I can’t be anything less than honest and transparent with all of you, that this city is not where my soul flourishes, it’s toxic for me. But I am going to sit in it, because not every location and situation in life are going to be comfy, cozy, blissful, safe and I can’t continue to hide, and run from those experiences.
“Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can’t cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It’s just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.”
― Cheryl Strayed,
So let’s walk through it together. Show up where it hurts. Be easy with yourself while you live the lessons.
Trust the process babes.
Give yourself a second chance. Or a third.
“What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I’d done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently than I had done? What if I’d actually wanted to fuck every one of those men? What if heroin taught me something? What if yes was the right answer instead of no? What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?”
― Cheryl Strayed,