Walking Beside Waves: On Acknowledging Shifts in Oneself While Exploring the Scottish Isles
I never wrote much as a kid. In fact, I was convinced I was terrible at it.
I don’t know why I am telling you this, or the purpose of it yet, but I have been thinking about what it means when and how you give something away.
Sharing, I've been thinking about sharing.
Initially, writing came through as an innate desire to express.
A need, really, and as that became impossible to ignore, I dove in, without a clue as to what I was doing. There are no romantic stories that start with, “for as long as I can remember, I wrote.” It didn't come naturally, and I would say that it still doesn’t, but my gosh does it fill me up. Not just that, but it stands as a reminder.
A reason to keep learning and shifting when adjustments are needing to be made.
And once I began dipping my toes in, shaping the words around adventures and releasing anxious energy I thought I’d never be rid of, things began to fall into place, and just in time for my grandpa to begin his lessons in literature: Emails back and forth that walked through common grammatical mistakes, sentence structure, and often misused words, in a way that worked with not against the way information was processed on an individual level.
Without that, I was trapped behind their expectations. Their desire to be perfectly placed here and there, blindly and without question, abiding by the rulebook that was assigned to me.
I can think of a few moments I’ve given away recently--it was too soon and we hadn’t been given the room to understand each other yet. They hang heavy on my shoulders, or maybe in my gut, regardless, I’m never without the feeling of loss. Of wishing, I could have held on a little longer.
I don’t mean to sound dramatic, and maybe you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, but that’s just how this might be: an unnecessary explanation to something completely irrelevant to anyone but me. Invisible even, as you see, when I give away these moments, I don’t say a thing, and it’s only later that I realize the misstep.
I am certain I will not come to a conclusion by the time this meandering piece comes to close and I once again settle into this narrow seat beside closed blinds, not wanting to let the light of the world in as we fly from one continent to another. But that's not the point, really.
One might say it's more about the acknowledgment of the darn thing.
Exhaustion pulses through every fiber of my being. I can feel it in my fingers and the way I brush my hair to the side as it keeps falling in my face. I’m coming home from a month long trip I took with my cousin in Europe, and it was on this trip that I began to realize just how treasured words are to me, and if the whole of me doesn’t feel ready to share, then so be it.
No matter how beautiful the scenery or memorable the moment, giving it away too soon would cause an angst I’m no longer comfortable with.
When I close my eyes, I can still feel the lightness of the grass as it brushes against my heals, and the way the sponge-like earth pushes these legs further, higher, and around every boulder; deep red and coral rocks scattered across the hillside, pressed up against stone walls that once stood much higher than ourselves, and the bog cotton that dances until it's met with crashing waves and sudden drop-offs.
Carefully, I rest my head on a boulder warmed from an unusually sunny day for Scotland, not wanting to crush the pieces that make up this unforgettable moment.
You see, when I share that with you, it feels meek and withered down to nothing in comparison to the feeling I had while standing, face to the wind, eyelashes bending up and down as my gaze fixates on the nothingness of the Pacific ocean.
So yes, I share this. I share these snippets of moments from a place that inspires me to run like a child—like the younger me. The me that crushed flower petals and climbed trees barefoot and carefree. I would even pull eggs from the fridge and place them in baskets of blankets just in front of the fire, hoping to warm them enough to hatch.
To start this new life alongside mine. Spoiler, they did not hatch, but it’s the mindset, uncovered these 15+ years later, that I dare not forget.
I dare not let go of. Not all at once, anyway, and not in a way that suffocates and suspends all creative endeavors. I want to feel good about my word, holding my head high when I say:
“In the grand scheme of things, writing is new to me and it's not something that comes easily; it took awhile to get here, and it will take even longer to get to where I’m going, but the time spent doing so is worth it, as it brings me closer to Chloe that never once questioned her motives for building homes for the faeries in the trees or crawling on hands and knees as twigs and branches pulled at her hair.”
Not until this year did I think I was truly good, at something. And again, I don’t mean that to sound dramatic, but I realized it’s less about what I’ve been told I’m good at, eventually leading to believe it, and more of the feeling I get when I read through something I wrote, or an email shared with my grandpa when we first began our writing adventures together, him patiently making suggestions, as I continued to question whether or not it was a good idea.
Whether or not I could come to a place where these words, my words, meant just as much shared as they did beneath that stack of notebooks…
From days spent wandering the lush green hillsides with waves crashing and salt spraying against our sun-warmed skin, to our next adventure, both unsure of what or where that will be, though I have a feeling it has something to do with painting the house colors similar to those found on the Isle of Lewis, planting vegetables and trimming roses, doing my best to replicate the feeling of Tuckaway farm, showing my body more love by way of movement and fresh air, being with those I love, and writing.
Writing and sharing.
And writing and sharing nothing at all.
Not all at once, anyway.
A Final Thought
As I wrap up and edit this post, sitting on the floor of this unfamiliar place that I’m beginning to call home, a few thoughts put themselves at the forefront of everything.
Transitions, even when they’re from one great thing to the next, take time and patience—much more than you think.
So go easy on yourself and know that nothing is permanent.