Moving Out and On
“Start now. Start where you are. Start with fear. Start with pain. Start with doubt. Start with hands shaking. Start with voice trembling but start. Start and don’t stop. Start where you are, with what you have. Just… start.” ―Ijeoma Umebinyuo
I’ve been meaning to start a blog for years. Years. I have talked about it countless times. Sat down and pulled the browser up, ready to get into the details, only to come to a frustrated, fearful slamming of my laptop shut. I’ve even had a professor “assign” it to me, trying to get me to do something (which still didn’t work… thanks for the nudge, Amity).
If you know me at all, you’ve heard me talk about my writing and about getting my work “out there.” You know that writing and words are my entire soul and spirit, my main survival skill, many times the reason I have been able to keep moving forward instead of giving up. You know of my fears and my apprehensions on being “good enough,” and of sharing so much of myself with others. But I’ve found that the compulsion, the need to write, has always outweighed the fears. That my worries on vulnerability have always been thrown to the side in the end, and I’ve chosen to bear myself, regardless. And anyway, as they say about writing, if you want to be a writer, stop talking about the writing and write. So here we are…
People always told me that to blog, I had to have a “why” or a “what.” A reason for beginning, for putting another one of these things out into the vast, endless internet ocean. That I had to know what I was doing before I got started. Recent events have shattered that illusion for me… Knowing what you’re doing before you get started? Not in Bangkok.
But I’ll come back to Bangkok soon!
For now, I’ll tell you about my impulsive, random decision to run away for three weeks to Thailand.
I’d been feeling run down and exhausted for months. Run down is an understatement. When I graduated college in May of 2016 with my writing degree, I promised myself that I would take some time to relax and figure out what I wanted with my life, what my next steps were. Specifically, I promised myself that I wouldn’t start working every day to replace the void I knew I would soon feel without school. My last year of college, I took 7 classes each semester, worked a part-time serving job, was the editor of our literary magazine, and worked for another literary magazine as well. It was insane, overwhelming, exhausting, and amazing. I was totally over-worked and out of my mind most days, but I was filled up. I was doing what I loved.
After graduation, I found myself stuck in the sea of serving coffee to (mostly) grouchy breakfast-goers, and then picking up a second job making burritos at a locally-famous shop. I wasn’t writing. I wasn’t even reading. I was slaving in two restaurants at least 6 days a week and too physically and mentally exhausted for just about anything else. I was doing exactly what I told myself I wouldn’t. And it didn’t take long before I was miserable. As I’d predicted…
I kept doing that anyway. I didn’t know what else to do. Each time I thought about how deeply I cared about writing, about how much I wanted to share my work with the world, I’d feel such an immense fear welling up in my chest that I’d have to walk away from the blank page before I’d burst into tears. Seriously. I didn’t understand it. I’d started freelancing at a marketing agency for extra money, so I was glad to be writing in that regard, but it wasn’t what I wanted. I wasn’t doing anything creative. I wasn’t sharing myself. I was not happy. I was scared to admit that to myself.
“That you’re so bound up about writing tells me that writing is what you’re here to do. And when people are here to do that they almost always tell us something we need to hear. I want to know what you have inside you. I want to see the contours of your second beating heart. So write. Not like a girl. Not like a boy. Write like a motherfucker.” –Cheryl Strayed
I had just moved from a one-bedroom apartment where I lived alone for a year and a half (I’ll write on this amazing experience eventually), into a three bedroom with two of my favorite women in the world. I was actually nervous as hell to live with people again, but thank God I made the jump. They were saving me by listening to my daily breakdowns about how unfulfilled and exhausted I was. I went to sleep every night feeling guilty about not living authentically, about filling their ears and the house with such negative energy, about staying in comfortable misery. I woke up and went to work, angry at myself and the monotonous routine. Thank you forever Nelly and Kimmy for being so patient and kind.
My niece came over to our house one night and started telling me about her solo backpacking trip to Thailand a few months before. I’d followed her on Facebook and thought that it looked beautiful, but I’d never given it too much thought. But as she was relaying her experience that night, I found myself choking back tears. And (though that’s not too out of the ordinary for me…) I knew, deep down in my gut, that I had to follow in her footsteps. She looked up flights right there on my bed, and it was only $576 for a round fuggin’ trip. And I was sold.
A week or so later, the flight was booked. I was apprehensive. I was nervous. My friends and family had no idea what I was doing. I had no idea what I was doing. But I was excited for the first time in so long. And more than anything else, I knew I had to do it. I knew it was where I had to begin.
This blog feels like the same uneasy, butterflies-from-my-gut-to-my-throat step that I look out of JFK airport and onto the plane for my 13 hour flight to China. But that knowing, that knowing is right there. The “why” and the “what” of it? It doesn’t much feel like it matters anymore. It’s the “how” and the “why” that needs answered.
How do I continue to grow and change and learn? To seek? How can I move closer to authenticity, to my truth? Towards God and the Universe and others? How can I be inspired? And more crucially, how can I use my experience to change the world? Or at least to change my own…and hopefully yours a little bit, too.
And why not?
Originally published at to our depths .