Updated: Dec 11, 2017
It started in my twenties.
Her whispers and the allure of her charm. I even told people about her. I told them of her desires and her spectacular dreams. I told them of her whimsical hopes and her infectious optimism. She was beautiful. And yet, was she real? And was I as convinced of her convictions as she was? I don't know. I felt so stuck between earth and the sky. I believed her but who was I to fill her heart? And how would I do it? There were too many uncertainties. Too many risks for a sensitive soul. A soul whose fear of the unknown outweighed the courage of her love.
And yet, I knew.
I wanted to take her hand and run wild with her but I wasn't ready. I didn't know enough about the world and how I fit in it. And so, I did it. It didn't please me, if anything it took me to some dark places. I felt suffocated in my deceit of her but I also didn't feel I had a choice. I left her. I left her in favour of a promised land. I left her to follow the seemingly knowing crowd. I had no idea what I was doing but I told myself I was being realistic. After all, maybe they were right? And maybe she was too starry-eyed and romantic.
And yet, I knew.
I knew but I reluctantly took flight in the opposite direction. In truth, I thought I would only be gone a short while. But the more I travelled the further I went. I travelled so far from anything that resembled her. Sometimes I even thought she had gone. Maybe it was easier that way, having nothing to do with her, maybe subconsciously I created the distance to ease the pain.
Yet I spent days, months, years feeling her itch. I longed for what she stood for, in fact I preached it, but I wasn't living it for myself. I pushed her down and convinced myself that everything was on track. Sometimes I think I even believed that it was but she would remind me that it wasnt. It often came in the form of anxiety. Now I see it as the result of her energy suppressed but at the time it just floored me. Still, I explored different paths and I got caught up in being good at what I did. I worked hard and I achieved a lot. I went on overseas trips, I bought a new car, a property... heck I was fine without her.
But I knew I wasn't fine. I knew it wasn't about all of that. I knew that I had swam so far from her shores that I was barely treading water. I knew that I appeared to be a swan gliding graciously across the pond but underneath my legs were thrashing to keep afloat. I was drowning in other peoples ideas of the world. I was living other peoples dreams but where were mine?
She came back to get me time and time again. Sometimes she would return as the faintest of silhouettes but I saw her. I felt her glamour. And sometimes I even skipped towards her in the hope of catching a better glimpse. But my resistance had woven its cobwebs deep. I had built such a wall that when she came to see me I couldn't hear her. Her whispers left me confused and writhing.
And so, I left her, time and time again, I left her and went back to where comfort lived.
And yet, I knew.
I questioned myself constantly. Love what you do? Pfft. Wasn't that now a fanciful daydream? When had I succumbed to this way of being? To mediocrity? When had I become what, I had never wanted? I had lost my spark and dreamy aspirations to the mundane and the repetitive grind. I would sit for hours in the confines of four walls and I called it a life. I hadn't expressed myself in years. I was secure and I was successful in the eyes of many, but was I? I felt like a caged animal.
And yet I knew.
I knew life was magical. I knew it didn't have to be this way. I had always been creative and I had ideas. I was unconventional at heart, and damn, I pushed against the status quo. And yet there I was; all my gifts and talents and dreams squashed to fit into a promised land that held no promises for me. I was grateful for all that I had, but still, every inch of me, every dancing cell in my body knew that there was something more. My heart yearned for her. I was living a sensible life and I was doing what was safe but stuff safe!!!
And there she was. So many years of running from her, when all I had wanted was to take her in my arms. She first emerged as anger, then sadness then elation. I actually think my soul had a tantrum. She had been so patient and graceful over the years but finally enough was enough. She was done. She refused to continue along the same path.
And now I wonder, maybe she knew that she had to let me go.
Maybe she knew that I needed to explore a life without her so when we met again it would be with such fervour.
Maybe she knew that my time away from her would be so uncomfortable that once we united we would be inseparable.
Maybe she knew that the dream was so big, that it needed the vehemence that could only be fuelled by the years spent apart.
Maybe she knew that to reach others, I needed to experience the fight for myself. I don't doubt it. In fact, I know she knows more than I could ever imagine.
And so, I can only be thankful for the teaching. I can only revere the struggle and the time spent apart, because without it I wouldn't hold her in such esteem. I wouldn't have the love for her that has no boundaries, the love that defies all fear. I wouldn't have the determination to serve her in all her splendour nor the commitment to conjure her beauty to life.
And yet I knew. I knew that she was me.
Contributor: Rochelle Smith, founder of The Honour Project
Feature: As featured on Rebelle Society