Sunday, May 31, 2015

Wandering, Be

My life is overwhelming.

It's overwhelming that I'm still alive right now to say these things. It's unexpected, and more than pleasantly surprising. 

Relatively recently, I very legitimately thought that I was going to die. Like, cease to exist. Quit breathing. Dissolve.


But I didn't die, and today my bank called me not once, but twice because some lunatic was up late last night, pacing back and forth and cradling her laptop like a baby, using my credit cards to book a flight from London to Reykjavík to Toronto, hire a car in Keflavík, and schedule an ice caving adventure in Jökulsárlón for this November. 

It's almost as if my bank has never met me. Obviously, that lunatic was absolutely me. In fairness, though, the majority of my wandering shenanigans have been either crowdfunded or attached to grants from the National Science Foundation or the National Parks Service. I think that this is the first time in my life during which I've worked my hours and paid all of my dues. And goodness gracious, this lunatic has some plans.

My November is, more or less, booked. And I'm using Iceland as a halfway house to my lovely friends in the Eurozone (and the U.K., hello Hannah!) as well as a halfway house to my own survival. Funny, because I'm doing Iceland solo, and doing lots of things that could probably kill me. The sun doesn't really rise in Iceland during November, and the weather can be unpredictable and temperamental; however, I was raised in Michigan snow and I've driven through insane blizzards in Colorado and I've survived fish-tailing in we'll just do our best to not get the rental car lodged into a snow bank, shall we? I fully intend to drive a car I've never heard of before now, walk on a glacier and under ice caves, search for an American plane crash, dance with the Northern lights, flirt with several volcanoes, and drive the entirety of the Icelandic Route 1. All because I can, and I will.

I am jumping out of my skin, excited. But still, it's a lot to think about and a lot to do, and kind of a lot of money. Not in the grand scheme of things, but considering the fact that I was flat broke just six short months ago, it is. It's worth it, though. So much. My heart, it wants this. And I have to follow it if I want a glacier's chance in hell of staying healthy.

This period of growth is sporadic. It's combustible and spontaneous. It's random and so much like a sparkler or a spreading disease or a swarm of bees. And although I have November at my fingertips, I've recently acquired a three month hole in my end-of-summer plans. Possibly. Probably. Most likely. And the uncertainty is both a thrill and a terror. I could literally go anywhere and do anything with that time. I can keep wandering, if I can sustain myself for that long. I. Could. Go. Anywhere.

And it's interesting to see my friends and family during this time, taking root instead. In comparison, I appear to have lost my mind. I'm out here living day to day, week to week, making loose plans and tentative promises, just assuming that I'll find something in the middle of the nothing because I always do. But then there's everyone else, making solid plans and standing on foundations that are firm enough, allowing their roots to sink in and spread and weave and strengthen, making commitments and certain promises, growing up while I'm growing out. 

There are certain commitments that I haven't allowed myself to make just yet. There are certain parts of me that I can't give away. There are still dark corners in my heart and some real fears, and I'd be lying to you if I claimed that my skin no longer felt like a prison for my spirit. It still does. I haven't had massive anxiety attacks over it since I've started to feel better, no clawing at my exoskeleton or searching desperately for the magic button that would open my ribcage; however, I still wish I could transcend this body. So I'll do it metaphorically, by taking my body where my spirit wishes to go. 

I am, after all, prone to wander.

Monday, May 18, 2015

An Open Letter to Anyone Who Has Pissed Me Off, Ever

You know who you are.

Or, perhaps, you do not. Possibly, probably, you are blissfully unaware of your status on my list of severed ties. Not because I never tried to stand up for myself, but more likely because I have a tendency to self-direct my anger, finding it easier to identify fault in myself rather than others.

Usually, I am much more discerning than all of that. I can address anybody else with all of the clarity of grace in the world, but when it comes to addressing myself, I am as graceless as all of you have been. If possible, even worse.

That ends. Today.

How dare you. You ignorant, entitled, uneducated, narrow-minded buffoons. How dare you address me without the slightest regard for my most basic human rights? Who do you think you are? What entitles you to invade my personal space and my spirit and the spirits of those whom I love? Just what, exactly, makes you an expert on my process and my immediate needs and my growth? 

Oh, pretentious ones: I am done listening to your empty promises and your empty threats and your empty ideas. Your perspective, if any, is embarrassingly one-dimensional. Open your eyes, turn your heads; our observable universe extends far beyond your capacity of thought. Really, it baffles me as to how your heads have swollen to the sizes that they are. Who allowed that space, or is it that you've pushed and shoved and manipulated your way to occupy it? 

You should know that your attempts to isolate and alienate me have failed. You should know that your slammed doors have opened all of my windows and escape hatches. You should know that your mission to tame and normalize me has not made me like you. You should know that your abandonment and your blind eyes have made me more vigilant and more aware. You should know that even though you've shattered my sense of security, I have found safe spaces. And you should absolutely know that while you took away my idea of what a home should feel like, I broke free and I metamorphosed into a seasoned wanderer who has traveled many miles and met incredible people and who has woven herself an infallible network of genuine soulmates, always standing at the ready to advocate for one another.

To me, you are as meaningless and irrelevant as you tried to make me feel. No more. There is always a breaking point; a point at which I can decide that enough is enough. You have no say in my journey. If you are not here to grow me, then you're here to show me exactly who I do not need in my way. So, enjoy the sight of my fabulous backside as I walk away from you, for good. 

Did you really think that you could turn tables on somebody as wide-eyed and open-hearted as I am? Sneakily warning me against seeds of bitterness in order to validate your own guilty conscience did not deny me of my righteous anger. And, more importantly, these years have not made me bitter. These years have made me beautiful.  They have widened my gaze and opened my arms and delivered me into good, good hands. They have afforded me experience and collaboration and community and intellect and growth; I have taken all of it in my stride. All of it.

I have fallen and I have gotten back up, never any thanks to you. Never.

You graceless simpletons. You had no idea with whom you were dealing.

You still don't, but I do. I finally do.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Becca: shaped and molded and used and invaded and bound and released and glittering with the sweat necessary for survival. I've been told, by people with stronger backbones than you, that there are good things for me; finally, I accept that. In fact, I accept that at the very minimum. Great things for me, for today and for every tomorrow.

I almost feel sorry that you won't be along for this marvelous ride. But then again, you've done your part. You've made your opinions known. You've been very clear about how unacceptable I am, and I do not accept that. There is no space left for you in my life; I've made plans and I'm going to new places and I'll meet new people and we'll invest in each other the way we were meant to, and you? You'll remain stagnant.

You don't even have to stick around to watch me grow. You wouldn't recognize growth if it were thriving and overflowing right in front of you.

And it is.

(mic drop)