Life after Thailand…

I know there has been a bit of radio silence on this end. It’s not like it’s anything new to you all – in fact, *knock, knock* is this thing on? Probably not. But I’m still here. I know you’re all a bit surprised.

A lot has happened in my life in the past year or so. Some of it I’ve put on here; but most of it I haven’t. I read an article recently about whether or not you should share personal information on your blog. My view is that this wouldn’t be me if I didn’t. I may hold back some of the finer details, for a number of reasons, but in the end, this is what I have to offer you, because this is my life and this isn’t my place to weave stories out of thin air.

I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life. Ever. I’ve been in a state of euphoria and belonging that I never knew existed in the world. I don’t think I’ve ever been that content, that sure of myself and my actions in all of the memories I have of myself. It was weird timing, it started around November or December of 2012. I was working like a mad woman, but I knew that what I was doing was good, I was doing it right. I was appreciated and I didn’t mind putting in the hard yards. It was summer, which never seems to fail in making the most bleak situation shine. I was living at the beach, something that I’d dreamed of for myself since being a little girl, growing up in landlocked Spokane, watching Blue Crush on TV repeatedly. Surely you’ve head this story already

Surfing at Bondi Beach - Sydney, Australia

But the strangest thing was, I was in a state of complete chaos. I knew that my relationship was ending. My friends weren’t people that I’d known my whole life, but I just knew they were my people. Like in the Meredith and Christina way. We were reckless and fun, the perils of young professional life, of lack of funds, of complicated relationships and families half a world away, those things didn’t stop us. You hear it said all the time, but the world was ours.

Randwick Race Course - Sydney Australia

Stitch Bar - Sydney Australia

It took another four months for my relationship to spiral to a point of no return. I don’t remember the exact day that I knew it was over. It took a lot of talking. A lot of justifying, of trying to convince others to talk me out of it. I remember one moment; it was winter in Seattle, Sydney was sweltering back on the Southern Hemisphere, I sat in a brick oven pizza place, in the University shopping center where I’d spent four glorious years stocking up on necessities. Jackie, my most happy-go-lucky friend, looked me right in the eye as I told her the ins-and-outs of my feelings and desires:

Don’t you think you’ve already made up your mind? she’d said.

Deadpan. Jackie who sees the good in everyone, who forgives out of the love of her heart because she can’t see the world as a bad place. Someone else said it to me, a bit later down the line. And I knew they were both right. I knew the answer. But giving up 4 years of your life is a scary, scary thought. We’d worked so hard to be where we were. In Sydney, in Bondi, on our own and finally in a relationship we thought we’d figured out. It wasn’t always easy, I was too far invested from the get-go, sure that we’d be together, he was just a backpacker, having a good time. I’d moved to Italy, given up my shot at a life with my friends and family at home and I’d ostracized him for it for a year and a half relentlessly. I never let him forget the sacrifices I’d made. Never let him forget to appreciate me.

Suddenly, after a year back in Sydney, I saw myself in a new light. I saw myself doing almost all of the things that I wanted to do and had always talked about doing. See, I’ve always been one of those people that talks about who I want to be and never quite lets myself, or maybe makes myself, be that person. I was using him as the excuse not to be that person. And I had to be myself for once. The day I met him, I was a lonely 22 year old, not even a week past 22. I was in a place I’d never been before, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a bar full of strangers, foreigners, in the Sydney suburb of Newtown. It is still to this day, one of the best nights of my life, and no offense to him, but that has little to do with the Italian that followed me around the bar all night long. This year, at 26, I felt like it was my time to make my place in the world, and I had to do it alone. I never wanted to hurt him. I don’t really think anyone sets out to hurt people who they’ve loved at any point in their lives. I just knew that until I had to fend for myself, I’d never be that girl I saw in my dreams.

At first it was easy. Of course there were the days that emotion took over, but I knew, knew I’d made the right decision.

Looking back now, I can’t remember what I felt like in the those first few months without him. I liked my new flat, it wasn’t far from my old one. I don’t remember feeling bad, but I know myself well enough to know I would have been lonely. I don’t like being by myself. To the extent that I plan my weekends back to back so that I rarely have to be at home, just in case I would happen to be there alone.

Work was still going, still busy, a year and a half in and I was still constantly busy. I always used to say I didn’t understand how people had the time to online shop or look at Buzzfeed during the day. I actually didn’t have the time. Then that stopped. Suddenly, I had time on my hands, and it was a very strange feeling. I was left feeling inadequate, although it was no fault of my own.

I went back to Seattle for a wedding. I was so happy in that ten days. Each time I go home, I reaffirm that Sydney is the right place for me. I know that pains my family at home at times, but everyone has a place in the world, and no matter how painful this place might be to me at times, it’s still my place.

The wedding was beautiful. The couple are two of my oldest college friends, who met on the first day of school and never really looked too far back. Now they are finally married, and their life is thriving and beautiful. Seeing old friends, grown up, healthy and all in different places in their lives meant the world to me. I no longer feel like an outsider in my own life. Everyone has changed, and it is so good when we all get back together.

Berger Smith Wedding - Seattle Washington

That was in August, and there have been developments since then… some that have set me back on where I should be by now. But, like I’ve always done, most of the time without even realizing my own bravery and strength, I’ll keep going strong.

There will be more stories.