Wednesday, April 23, 2014

On having left, but not behind.

It's one in the morning bolivian time and I've just watched a video my dad sent me. Of course, I'm crying. If I had opened it at a different time of day, in a different swarm of feelings, I would be smiling, laughing, aww-ing. Timing is everything. 

Like the time I gave my brother the scar between his forehead, probably one of my earliest most traumatising memories. The timing of the hard plastic edge of the swingset hurtling into his face. And I thought it was all my fault, I hid under the bed and cried while they took him to get stitches. When they came back to find me they told me it wasn't my fault, silly.

My family has always been good like that. A lot of people leave home because there is nothing good for them left there, all the conversations are too loud and sharp, the looks mean or absent. There are entirely too many people who have no choice but to leave their families rather than stay in a ticking bomb. I know because I have worked with them, travelled with them, lived with them. I struck gold in the lottery of life and this has never been why I leave, left.

I have a well of strength infinitely deep that I go to draw from when I am fatigued, hungry cranky, lost in my purpose or confused in my relationships. This I credit to my home and the people that grew me up and around. Yes, I just wrote grew me up and around. Because that's how I write in English after almost a year in a spanish speaking country, yo. 

You can leave because you know you have love and warmth and soul to come back to.
You can leave because the same ones who taught you hello are the ones who will swallow their tears and say goodbye with a smile
You can leave because they were the ones who nodded their heads and said, go for it.
You can leave because you carry them, no matter the weight, in the suitcase of your heart
You can leave because they send you ridiculous videos and messages and all at once you're ambushed by love being sent from far, far away
You can leave because you can come back, anytime.

I've felt the pull of home stronger now than I have at any other time I've been away. This may be because I know it will be like this for a while, that the choices I am making for my life may mean I will continue to miss out on Easter Egg Hunts where Phil pushes Gel into the bush just to get ahead, or Christmas where we've all stopped pretending it's about gifts we mostly don't like anyway and are increasingly bad at pretending we do and go straight for the food binge bender and Remember When stories. I will miss out on new jobs landed, graduations attended, funny jokes at the dinner table, sibling banter and disgustingly fat movie nights. 

It's rare moments that hit me when I realise how much I am missing out on by being over here. How do you figure out the equation of greater or lesser than when on the one hand you have the moments in the lives of those you love and on the other the life you are living yourself? I am spoilt with having left, but not being left behind. I can still feel the familiarity and love of all My People despite the oceans between us and the abysmal bolivian internet connection.

I am rich in luck and all the good things (my family sent me tim tams and nutella) I know that this is where I'm meant to be for now and all I have to do is go to that infinite well of Everything I've Ever Needed, draw a bit of water, and go on my way again - to The Worlds I want to live in and fall in love with for a while.

'Cause I can go back anytime anyway, Silly.

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