A few swims into July and what otherwise seemed essential is now reintroduced as a distraction: work, goals, resolutions. The familiarity of summer makes one believe that it was never interrupted by fall and then winter and then the following season. Last year’s paddles feel too close to now and recent memories of October to last week, begin to dissipate.
But this year, something keeps me from whole-heartedly losing myself in the erasing momentum of the summer. This year, I have found the good in goodbye and I want to hold onto it.
Besides a potentially exciting essence that changing one’s country and context every few months may suggest, it is for sure a lonely road. Having done so for the past five years, I had become accustomed to the stages of separation from one context and of the initiation to the next one: few months before moving, you begin detaching yourself from your surroundings, personal and tangential and you begin insulating yourself especially through finding what’s good in what’s coming. When you become more emotional, you actively search for what is wrong with the context that you are still in and try to make yourself worked up so that loss feels more bearable.
When you get to the new context, whether it is a school, a job or a circle of people, you introduce yourself all over again and in practiced lines, you focus on a goal and you emerge into the experience. What I had noticed however was that after following this circle of separation and reintroduction a few times, I had grown cynical and automated in a way that felt alien to who I once knew myself to be.
Before trusting myself to a new surrounding, I would take note of when this experience would end and only then would I feel comfortable enough to begin breathing again. When asked to say something about myself, I would choose to share a more technical, a more superficial fact about me instead of giving something else a try. And when I was called to speak from the heart on a matter I would, but knowing that I could then open up because this interaction would soon be gone as would I, probably in another plane.
Off course I wanted some context to make me feel like I could trust them enough not to feel obliged to go, no matter how much I fought against that. This year, I am still going away and I’m still going away alone. But this time, I have been welcomed and kept into an educational context that has been tried and true for the past 3 years and I have not been able to detach myself in time, nor have I had the urge to find what was wrong with it to guard myself from being confronted by separation.
And because of this, I am now experiencing what separation from somewhere and from someones that matter feels like. If you are avoidant and reading this, please know that eventually trusting a context is a good thing. Going through sadness of separation is a good thing. No, you wont know how to handle it. Yes, you will try to prolong your stay and yes, you will seek out ways to keep some communication channels open through the transition if you continue to keep on going as did I. You may also find ways to keep in touch.
But if you have been through separations and reintroductions a few times you know that this relationship will change. And every change is a loss. And losses are nuclearly designed to hurt but I like to see it like this: if this experience hurts while other separations did not in the past, there has been change in me. I have, for some time, let myself belong and breathe full breaths among a group of people who have showed me what that looks like. There is safety, trust and peace of mind that comes from a sense of having belonged and of having shared something with others, no matter how old you are and no matter if you have or haven’t had that with your family.
It’s not about having everyone there in the future. Yes, I truly, truly hope to have these people in my life as I continue moving through shifting contexts. But the good that they have created in me is not conditional and it is not based on whether we will all decide to continue being there for one another or not. The gift that they have given me is a different sense of belonging that will have me remember that whenever I show up for a challenge, I am not just representing myself or my family. I’m also standing there thanks to and for them too.
Having this blog as a channel of expression, I decided to write this as a post of gratitude and of acceptance of what has changed in me. Perhaps I needed a written testimony that will remind me of what is different in the following months of transition. I also decided to share something more real and personal because I personally have had enough with success stories. If anything of what I wrote sounds familiar, please trust, belong and then don’t be afraid to say goodbye. Because things that hurt are often worth it. And there can be good in goodbye.
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