“It is only alone, truly alone, that one bursts apart, springs forth.”
-maria isabel barreno
I stared at the Mount Si sign adjusting my backpack, putting one foot in front of the other launching myself up the mountain. A year ago, the thought of doing anything alone would’ve killed me. It’s incredible when all of the sudden the limits you had created for yourself no longer exist.
I previously had a very different life. This is your warning if you’re not interested in knowing my deep dark secrets, stop now. But now that I’ve put it that way, what are the chances you’re going to turn back?
I crave people: community, conversation, energy – I need it in my life. In other words, I’m an extrovert. But as I’ve become more self-aware, I’m learning that there’s a quite little voice that urges me to be alone and find myself. Prior to this discovery, the extrovert was so happy to have found an amazing person to spend my entire life with.
I made a decision. I stood in front of family and friends and said yes to a life. Even though my little introvert voice asked me politely to wait, I still said yes and committed my life to another person. I could list off the reasons I did it, love, my mom had cancer, an “ideal,” but there isn’t really any use in pointing blame.
As time passed and I lived confined to a role I wasn’t sure I wanted, that little voice grew louder.
Ceiling gazing on the floor of my Vancouver apartment, thoughts are flying. Miles and miles away from my old life, moments of loneliness hit where I crave it. Memories flood and steal all of the positive thoughts trying to wedge themselves in.
Then I remind myself that I left.
And when I did, the quiet voice had become a pounding song that held my hand as I drove away. I needed to find myself. I needed to know what I wanted – and it had to be done alone. I had to allow myself to take that journey.
People shift and change. If we don’t let them, we lose them. If you start to feel dishonest about yourself, you lose you. I was so lost, and I never even knew who I was to begin with. I hadn’t given myself a chance to find it.
Sweating up Mount Si, the grey skies cleared to let light in and it hit me – how everything is beautifully flawed. If we allow ourselves and others to be a perfect mess, we can find our way on our own – but oddly enough, together.
I have been many different versions of myself. I’ve had every hair colour and had a go at almost every sport. Student council president to class troublemaker, yoga teacher to trucker’s mouth, I add a lot of flavour in the pot.
I’m aware of this.
Living this life-long decision I felt like I was wearing all of these hats, finding the version of me that fit for someone else, not the one that fit for me. I was left with a room full of hats and I didn’t like any of them.
I need to know who I am and what I want in order to mean what I say in life.
I had to discover it the hard way. I had to break a promise. I had to learn that the grass can be browner, and you may not make it in everyone’s good books along the way, but it’s worth finding.
Somehow I know that every experience has led me here – to knowing myself. Every bad decision and every wrong turn. I never learned anything by following directions.
Falling over has helped me up, and getting lost has helped me find the way.
Now, I’m on top.
The view is imperfectly perfect, but I’ve earned it. I understand myself, I get me and I know how I fit. I didn’t find that by ignoring the quiet voice… I found it by becoming best buds with it.