A new altitude.

Hello everybody!

It has been a very, very long time since I last posted on here.

For this, I apologize.

I have considered sitting down to write so many times, but for some reason it just never quite felt right. It’s not that I was so incredibly busy, it’s not that I’ve had nothing to write about… I have neither of these excuses.

I just didn’t write.

Before I go on, I should make the following very clear:

I am okay, and I have been okay.

Yeah. I know. I have more than enough experience in the clinical field, aside from real life, to know that that’s NOT particularly the best way to start a conversation if you’re looking to instill any optimistic expectations for the discussion to follow. But in my books, honesty + preemptive-reminder-of-firm-ground = the way to go. So I’ll rephrase and reiterate:

I am okay, have been okay, and wasn’t at any point not-okay.

I’ll even insert this addendum: I am happy.

There. Satisfied? Good. (I hope so.) Now we can continue.

It’s hard to put into words what I’ve been up to for the past several months. (Likely why I haven’t written...) Of course, I’ve been doing the whole vet school thing. And loving it. Over the course of last semester, I fell head over heels for the heart, and broke up with my ambitions to pursue a career in zoo medicine. Actually, to be more precise–I discovered my obsession with the heart; I think I’ve slowly been falling in love with it for years and years now. So, assuming that my academically-fickle days are finally over (PLEASE may it be so!!), I will (hopefully) someday be a veterinary cardiologist.

But more on that some other day. (Some other wonderfully nerdy, geeky, sciencey day!)

In other news, Joe and I went to Italy over the Christmas break. But tales of that lovely excursion, too, will have to wait for another post. I recognize that I should’ve written of the trip much sooner–like within the week after having returned–but all is not lost. After all, in a way, it’s what stays with you that speaks the most of the lands you’ve visited and the times you’ve had… is it not?

Besides these big, flag-worthy features of the last several months, the rest of my experience has been less quantifiable, less tangible.. less… I don’t know.

It’s just been a bit of a mess.

Not a miserable mess, just a mess.

I want to talk about it, honestly, but I don’t know how. It’s even harder to even consider talking about it when I want to make sure I don’t give the impression that I’ve been depressed, or unwell.

Or maybe I have been?

But I think not, as I’ve been okay. I’ve been fine.

(These are all really convincing words, I know.)

Here’s a bunch of flowers to insert some happy here, to reassure you.

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I’d insert the refreshing fragrance of the “Freshly Cut Grass” candle I’ve got burning here for you, too, but unfortunately, technological advances have as of yet ignored the importance of social scent sharing media. Ah well.

But really, it’s been an interesting few months for me. I think the best way to put it is that I have had some sort of an identity… crisis? Crisis sounds so harsh (like “Addisonian crisis”, or “hypertensive crisis”). That’s certainly not the right word. I’ve had an identity… hunt. Rewrite. Minor detour. Scenic route. Or not so scenic. (Focus.) Identity edit. Identity rework.

Think phoenix.

Maybe a little less dramatic than a phoenix. But you get  my point. Maybe. Hopefully.

Basically, this past fall, when the sun once again took leave to accompany Persephone away to anywhere but here, I found that whatever personal growth I had accomplished over the past year had not been enough to carry me through another dark winter. Even the idea of getting on the spin bike inside the flatforget pulling on running shoes–was absurd. This, and the rediscovery of the relative absence of the social parachute of sorts which I so long had been convinced I could depend on (and the inability to establish one of any kind in our current geographical context) were both staggering blows to whatever progress I had made in the preceding seasons.

As much as I tried to avoid it, ignore it, deny it… I struggled a lot with these realizations. I had previously thought that I had come to terms with the way things are in some aspects of life in relation to.. to what? To growing up? To moving overseas? To just being me? But when the sun left, so did that extra bolster which apparently comes with its presence.

I spent a lot of time over the past few months staring at photos, reading old conversations, singing songs alone which I had, in the past, always had the invaluable gift of singing with others. I stood one day in the locker room at school, when no one else was there, and sobbed for the days of naivety, for the years I spent oblivious of the things I would someday lose, perhaps some of which I never even truly had in the first place.

And through all this, I felt immature and irrational and ridiculous. I watched myself do this, I watched myself allow this frustration in–basically ushering in all this resentment and rage and heartache. But I knew I was fine. I knew that life is good, and I knew that I knew it. (Does that even make sense?) I knew resolutely that, somewhere inside, there was still a happy person.

And I decided, over and over again, that things had to change. That had to change. I had to find a way to allow myself to taste the contentedness I was so badly craving. Because, let’s be honest: there are so many generous, attentive, and truly caring people in my life–a life which is so full, and whole, and fortunate. My task was to reconfigure my tendencies to let these aspects of my life and only these influence the way I pass each day.

It took some repetition, but eventually it sunk in. It sunk in bit by bit, and with each step forward, I found new ways to see myself, to observe the world around me, to find bliss. I plastered my phone, my computer, my notebooks, with messages of optimism, gratitude, and ambition. I found flamenco again, after what feels like so many long years of separation. I found restoration on the yoga mat again; and, consequently, meditation found me. With all of this, and more (more subtle changes), I’ve circled back around to a renewed, refocused way of being.

This time, this year, I feel like a new person. I am still myself, of course–my passions, hopes, and dreams remain; but this year, unlike last, I can’t even look back without feeling like I’m paging through some old yearbook from the attic boxes. I’ve somehow heaved myself up to some new altitude, where it’s easier to love, to laugh, and to live. This is a new standard of peace for me. (Or perhaps it’s some lost old, primitive means of existence which I knew once before, but had somehow misplaced along the way to 25-year-old vet student in Scotland… who knows?)

I even have new dreams, new goals, new ideas of what life could hold! I often catch myself daydreaming of running off to some quieter place somewhere, in the sun, by the sea maybe, just to read and stretch and create and think (and, of course, to dance in the evenings to some Spanish guitar). Indeed, I have always dreamt of sunshine and waves, but somehow, my beautiful green paradise of reverie has grown quieter, less populated. (Not that it was ever that busy to begin with… maybe I’ve always remained a little shy, deep within somewhere.) Lately, I’ve been contemplating the idea of someday visiting a monastery for more than just a couple of days, for the chance to grow and to learn and develop. Some nights, in my dreams, I relive mornings from many years long past, when I used to stand silently, breath held, bare feet on the cool, hard floor in the house in Santiniketan, peering out a window or through the door onto the veranda where my grandfather chanted mysterious verses in Sanskrit, seemingly suspended in his own sphere of private experience and awareness.

These days, I find within myself a desire to learn those mantras, to understand their deepest meanings as they might pertain to my life, secular as I may be.

I want to hear, I want to experience, and I want to grow. Consciously, I feel almost as though I have wasted so many years of presence, in a way, but I’m also surprisingly accepting of this fact, and can’t seem to recognize or muster up any regret over it. Maybe this is in itself a sign of success. I look forward to so much these days, which is a really fascinating experience considering the fact that I hardly have any idea what many of my future endeavors may be. (Vet school graduation… internship… residency… job… house? That’s kind of as structured as my hopeful timeline gets at this point.)

The effect of this post–or the weight of its impression–will clearly be significantly diminished someday when I next post a photo of myself scowling with a braid dripping with cow shit, or a stressed out rant about the eternal barrage of exams the vet student is forced to endure. But I like to think that the effect of the feelings and the ambitions I’ve expressed today will sustain and flourish to and past that point, so that maybe that scowl or that stress might just be fleeting, inconsequential experiences. (On retrospect, now that I think about it… hair dripping with cow shit would be absolutely hilarious, despite its inherent unpleasantness!)

Anyway, now that I’ve droned on for so much longer than anyone should or likely ever will read (and now that the topic has, as always, invariably veered back around to some sort of animal refuse), I should put this post to rest and head off to bed. (I’ve once again managed to defeat my own intentions of somehow trying to go to bed at a rational time. Night owl blood runs deep, I tell you.)

Good night! Love to all.

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