(Originally posted on June 25, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)
What a week it’s been.
I typically try to keep my blog topics queer-themed, but lately I’ve been thinking more broadly. It’s all been big picture stuff – life, the universe, and everything. I’ve spent this past week in east coast country; breathing fresh air, being moved by nature, and having intense conversations with people I don’t talk to nearly enough.
Being here, off work and surrounded by family, friends, and scenery I only see once a year, disrupts my routine in the best way. It forces me to really see my life like an objective observer. It’s a time-out, during which my only priority is to figure out where I am and where I’m headed.
It can be so easy to leave things as they are in life. Routines feel safe and comfortable and uncomplicated. Human beings resist change by nature. But this past year has taught me that moments of change are the moments when we really live.
The person I was a year ago is still with me, but I’ve let go of some of the pieces that were holding me back. I’ve changed significantly, but I don’t see a stranger when I look in the mirror these days. Instead, it’s almost as if I recognize myself more. It’s like I’m finally seeing shades of the person I was meant to be all along.
A few days before I left for my trip back east, I had a conversation with a good friend. She said something really simple and it has stuck with me ever since. We were talking about body image and comfort level with respect to clothing (or lack thereof). She said you only get one life, and you only get one body, so you may as well own it.
One life. Such a simple, obvious concept. Hedley actually made a pretty catchy song about it a while back. And yet it’s only sinking in for me now.
I’ve spent many years really, really caring what people thought of me. That’s not something I can switch off overnight. But my mindset is definitely shifting. Life is so very short… a hundred years from now, what is going to matter?
I only have one voice, one mind, one heart. Shouldn’t I sing, even if I’m not the best singer? Shouldn’t I play my guitar, even if I’m not the best musician? Shouldn’t I share my stories and thoughts with people, even if they’re not the most powerful or fascinating? Shouldn’t I do everything I can to be heard while I’m still here?
This is the body I have. I can kill myself trying to improve on it, but from what I’ve witnessed, even the most beautiful women focus on their flaws. So many of us carry ourselves with body language that silently apologizes for our inability to be perfect. Our bodies are amazing – shouldn’t we use them to do the things we enjoy instead of hiding them under unnecessary layers and sitting still?
I feel an overwhelming sense of urgency right now, and spending time in the place I’m from is only amplifying it. Today, I am painfully aware of what I want from this life. I want a job that challenges me and pays well enough for me to do the things that I enjoy. I want a place I can call my own, and settle into for more than a year or two.
Mostly, I want a girl to bring home to the folks. I want to introduce her to my whole family, and show her where I came from. I want to take her on long walks against beautiful backdrops, and stay up all night talking under the stars.
I want a simple, magical, beautiful life.
There is a freedom in acknowledging what you want, even if it’s not quite in your grasp just yet. There is a peace that comes with telling the world exactly who you are. How can we be valued and loved by anyone who doesn’t really know us? How can we feel truly connected to loved ones when we keep them in the dark about the most colourful part of our souls?
This trip to the homeland has shown me that all the things I never thought I would have are not only possible; they will be my reality in the near future. It’s only a question of when, and who I’ll be by then. I will make sure people know the real me.
It’s only getting better from here.