I suppose it was destined to happen.
In returning back to the very place that housed all of the happiness, all of the hardness, and the years of chaos in between, a host of emotions were bound to bubble up to the surface.
All it took was one look.
My Kelowna-bound bus approached the Hwy 97 turnpike to display that familiar panoramic mountain view and, like clockwork, I felt a sinking deep within my chest. And, no matter how many times I tried to reassure the concerned gentleman sitting beside me that the tears rolling down my cheeks were a result of the afternoon sunlight glistening off of a polished Okanagan lake – deep down I knew that the flood in my eyes had nothing to do with the lighting, and everything to do with the memories held within this picturesque little valley.
In hindsight, it had been foolish of me to expect that coming home would feel anything other than a welcomed reunion.
Naive to think that, in placing myself back here, I wouldn’t be confronted with the painful reality that everything is different than it used to be.
For, I now know that when a million things have changed, coming home isn’t a homecoming at all.
The evolution of my relationship with this incredible place on the planet is both dramatic and complicated. To think, there was once a time when this city handed me my every dream, my every wish, on a perfect silver-lined platter.
A lakeside paradise that fed indulgence after indulgence directly into my insatiable veins.
Transported me into a whirlwind of excitement and exhilaration so consuming that, before long, I was jonesing for more.
And, it wasn’t until I got completely entangled within the maze.
Disoriented amidst the fog.
Until I opened my eyes and barely recognized my own self.
That I mustered the will to walk away from it – the allure and the anarchy, to begin moving in the direction of something that would ultimately take better care of all the buried pieces of Who I really Am.
Of course, I’d be lying if I said that there are not still days that go by in which I wish I had paid closer attention to the warning signs.
Listened a little more intently when my loved ones cautioned me to slow down.
Trusted that all-knowing intuition deep within my gut when it encouraged me to wake up.
Maybe then it wouldn’t have hurt so damn much when I hit the bottom; although, in all fairness, the ground is a long way away when you’re living amidst the clouds. Yet, for as clear as hindsight can be, I now know myself well enough to confess that there was simply no other way.
My life had to completely unravel.
The tears had to outnumber the smiles.
The pain of staying put had to far outweigh the fear of the unknown before I’d ever muster the courage to remove myself from the entire fantasy.
It was just how it had to be – because, in completely loosing who I was, I ultimately found Who I Am.
I lost everything in the pursuit of trying to do it all right.
My peace of mind.
Until eventually, thankfully, I lost my will to continue trying so hard to be someone I am not.
I’ll never forget the day I gave up on chasing perfection.
And, I’m not talking perfection as I’ve experienced in the moments following that initial departure from Canada; the seamless flow of events that effortlessly guide me to who and where I am destined to be. The fulfilment in finding and attuning to the circumstances around me.
I’m referring the unattainable perfection I spent almost a decade suffering amidst in the relentless seeking to find the next best thing. An illusion that somehow justified Botox injections at age twenty-two, a new BCBG dress for every Friday night outing, and a smattering of pretty party friends to enhance all the frame-worthy photographs. The fabricated perfection that caused me to wake up hungover, desperate to piece together the previous nights events, paralyzed with fear from the potential of having said too much and blown what was, and had been all along, a big fat cover.
It was the day I decided realness is more important that pretty.
Learned that fun doesn’t need to be accompanied by a 26er of vodka.
And, coincidentally, the same day I decided that my own heart is the only one that will ever be worthy enough of answering to.
Fast forward three years, a career change, dozens of new places to call home, hundreds of heartbeats who graciously entered my life, hundreds who left, thousands of first times, and even more changes in opinion about concepts I never expected to waiver on. Yet, amidst all the transformation, one thing remains consistent.
I continue to choose myself first.
Call it selfish, call it unconventional, call it whatever you like – but, for me, it’s the only way. And, although there are still days when the doubt seeps in and I’m unexpectedly tested beyond measure, I have become comfortable living a life that others may not understand. For, in my experience, unimaginable freedom unveils in the moments I dismantle the pressure to please and appease everyone else. And, I know that, at the end of the day –
All that will matter.
All that will ever mean anything.
Is the relationship I have with the world I carry around right inside of my chest.
So, in giving priority to my only marriage that’s ever lasted – the one with my own heart.
In putting emphasis on pausing, listening, and get honest about what it is that I need.
In choosing not to instinctually push emotions away just because they feel something other than pleasant.
I can say with honesty – yes, there are some familiar cascading-mountain views.
Some people from my past.
Some afternoon bike-rides down Abbot Street which have me missing the old.
Longing for what was.
Opening my eyes within the very city that holds a great deal of my most precious memories and meeting the morning with an attitude of comparison and lack.
And, all these years later, it still hurts like hell.
However, in trusting that time has the power to heal most everything and believing that what I choose to focus on will only expand – I’m welcoming the discomfort.
Reminding myself that this feeling is what makes me human.
This feeling is a contribution to my growth.
This feeling is a humble remembrance of all that was, and all that still remains after the dust has settled. Acknowledging the boundless abundance that prevails within this beautiful valley, and proving to my own self that even the brightest beginnings can occasionally be disguised as tearful endings.
2 thoughts on “Lost & Found”
Love love love this post Natasha! You have a beautiful gift for sharing yourself and putting it so perfectly into writing!
Kyle read this first. Then quickly called to see if I had read it. He felt it was so powerful, and your best one yet. I have to agree! Maybe it’s because I was a witness to this homecoming.. but this was raw. It was real. And it kind of stabbed my heart too. Remembering who we were in those young days. What we thought was ‘perfection’, or what we had to ‘attain’ or ‘strive’ for.. when in the end it was a load of crap! I think back to those years, wishing I wasn’t so hard on myself, as I’m sure you do too. But remember my friend, we had some pretty epic times too. It’s all part of the growing pains into adult hood. I agree though, you’ve found yourself..as I feel I have too since those days. I loved you then, and I still love you now! We are so blessed to watch each other grow, and shed the old and the nasty, and morph into our true beauty! And I know this is a gift of mine..to be a witness to your beautiful journey! Love you my sweet friend..and I miss you! XO