Thursday, January 26, 2012

A New Year (a Little Late)

(Hi there Maude... I see you've been back at your game. Now it's time for me to get back at mine.)

I've had an amazing January thus far, prompted mostly by the simplest action: choosing a word to guide me in 2012. I've never given this concept much thought (maybe it never came up?); I've always stuck with the process of pondering resolutions. Instead, I let the words roil in my head, one by one. I remember grasping for a few, but I knew better to simply trust. Strangely, I don't remember where or when this word came to me, but it hit me strrrrong.



Give it the space on your lips it deserves.


Let it sink slowly from your mind into your heart.


There. Within just a few days of entertaining myself with this new word (which I immediately fell in love with, of course) I sensed something shifting within me. I sat smiling with that strong, solid feeling and let it know I am here listening, waiting. Patiently as ever.

I've always been the type to jump at the chance for a fresh start. I've always felt so grounded in those moments: the start of a new school year as a child, a new season for sports, a new quarter in college, a new class, a new friend, a new year in my life, a new YEAR for the world. I thoroughly embrace the clean slate concept.

I smirked silently to myself during a conversation my mom led at my Grandpa's 94th birthday last Saturday. I knew it was food for thought.

"So does 94 feel any different than 93?" she asked.
"Nope!" he responded cheerfully. Simple as that.

But that's just it. There is nothing tangible changing. It's an invented moment: purely man-made. It's nothing more than a chance to feed on the newness of that moment.

I will take that chance.

BELONG. I (re)realized in the past 6 months... I never felt much like I belonged in my hometown. Last August, I returned here for the first time in 10 years, down to the exact month I'd left. It sucked. My (poor) brother drove me home all the way from Saint Louis. I was a mess the first half hour. I cried again 5 hours later (probably right when I woke up). And I broke down hard the moment we pulled into the driveway wondering, "What the hell have I just done to myself?"
But that was 2011 (Phew! See what I mean about the clean slate?), and I've grown accustomed to trusting the process. Now, here I am ready to pack my car and leave for Georgia on Monday. Freedom. A place I belong. And even better? What has ALL OF 2012 been about? Belonging... Even. In. My. Hometown. WOAH.

Not that I'm meant to stay, but that was all a part of it: recognizing I don't belong and being okay with that regardless of how others feel. My friends and family who are here have filled the past few weeks with so much love, and I've let them. I've even asked them to. (Gasp!) I don't even think, okay I'm not going to have enough time to see everyone. The reality: feeling welcome and belonging aren't quite the same thing. So why couldn't I see it? Why couldn't I let myself belong for the past 5+ months?

Because I never have. Some of this goes deep, and it hurts (when I let it). But I see it, and I'm so solidly okay with putting this swiftly behind me. I'm finally learning, in 2012, just 6 months shy of turning 30, how to belong in this world and IT. FEELS. GREAT.

I can tell you in all honesty, in pure happiness and without desire for pity, that for the first time in a long while I'm actually waking up and feeling like these days are mine to have and to hold. I wake up thinking, "I belong to this day."

So simple yet so ridiculously profound.

(There will be more on this topic I guarantee.)

- - - - -

This post is dedicated to the many people souls I've learned belong in my life...
Zak - for gently urging me to keep writing (thank you), and patiently reminding me again and again of the amazing comfort another human being can offer...
Margaret - for sharing the journey of The Artist's Way and so so so much more...
Kara - for leading me to The Artist's Way, and understanding with me sometimes it is the only way, for without it we are lost...

And the soul-full women I continue to connect with online with whom I want can't wait to learn and share so much....
(list and links to come!)
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  1. trust the process. sounds so simply, and far too often, we make it so darn hard. you say you auditioned several other words letting them roll in your head, one by one. i'll betcha "belong" rolled out from your heart, and that's made all the difference. reading this just warms my heart and makes me smile. isn't it an incredible feeling to just lay things down? xo

  2. Belong. BELONG. I feel something with this word. A sense of connection. A sense of being a part of this community of women.

    I find it amazing how much one word can point to...the memories, the images, the feelings and sensations.

    I'm glad you are writing again.

    Love, Julie

  3. @whollyjeanne You are so right! I didn't connect how once I left my head I allowed my heart to do the work. Beautiful.

    A warm heart and smile has got to be one of the most peaceful feelings in the world. Thank you for your comment. xo

  4. Julie - You are so right. This community of women is like nothing I've ever known. Your encouragement means so much to me, to every part of who I am.
    I think I'll stick around this place. Thank you. <3

  5. I never felt like I belonged in our hometown either. I felt that way from a VERY young age and now that I think about it, I wonder if that's why I felt so out of place all through school. (Got to love those random moments of self-discovery). When I finally went back almost 4 years ago, I realized it wasn't meant for me and where I was living at the time and where I am now is where I belong.