Homecoming

I’m coming home.

I’m coming home and feels good to say. It’s lined with touches of sadness and lingering shards of regret, but I will say it freely and unapologetically.

I miss my family, my friends, and my country. I would like to tell you that I really struggled with this decision, but it was pretty fluent, like falling asleep. I’m tired of battling to swim upstream in an effort to prove to myself that my life has been lived perfectly, to compensate for the mistakes of my past. My sister just gave birth, although I know that it’s deeper than that.

I left knowing that she was six months pregnant and when I found out in May that she was expecting, I had already booked my flights, gotten my visa, and committed to my trip. I was completely stoked, but all I could really think about was how much I was going to miss out on by being abroad and away from her. When voicing this to other people, it was received with, “well you didn’t plan on her getting pregnant,” or “don’t worry, babies are boring for the first year.” Umm, are those serious statements? Like, are you fucking kidding me? This is my sister’s first child, she’s creating a new human being; do we actually grasp the gravity of that, or are we so far removed from honoring and valuing  motherhood that it has just becomes a faint distant, notion, easily dismissed? (That’s a discussion for another day).

Don’t get my wrong, coming to New Zealand has been one of the greatest experiences and biggest learning lessons of my life. Explaining everything it’s been is for another day, but I’m realizing that even though I’ve decided that what’s best for me is to go home, I don’t actually have to justify why. I’m allowed to just want to come home, and I don’t have to berate myself into thinking that I’m a failure or not good/committed/whatever enough because I’m choosing to leave this place, even though it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

We don’t have to do anything, ever out of obligation or guilt, because we feel that we have to, or that we should. We don’t need to prove anything to anyone from our past or present, or to show them that we’ve changed and that now we’re good enough for their approval. I realize now that a lot of my decisions have been based around running from the person I once was. They’ve been an attempt to re-create myself and separate myself from the lost, scared, angry, and self-abusive girl that made lots of mistakes.

Well, she’s still here, inside of me and a part of who I am, the girl who was only ever looking for love and acceptance.

If we don’t learn how to forgive and accept these parts of ourselves with understanding and compassion, they will continue to subconsciously influence some of our biggest decisions. I know that they have influenced my choices for the past five years, some of them because I genuinely wanted to try new things and see new parts of this world, some if them so that at my ten-year-reunion I could feel like I was worth a shit.

Travel is incredible and I think that everyone who can make it happen, should. It changes your perspectives on life in ways I cannot even begin to explain. Through it, I’ve come to realize what’s actually important to me in my life and that my family and friends – my relationships – are one of the biggest sources of fulfillment I have on this earth. I will continue to travel because it’s fucking rad, but I will also make sure that in the future, my decision to do it is for the right reasons. That it’s because I’m ready to start something new, not leave something – or myself – behind.

 

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