Last night, on the eve of my 26th birthday, my muse came and summoned me to write, and I hurriedly took my pen and my hard-bound journal, hoping that now that I’ve lived a quarter of my life, maybe I can write something profound, one of those illuminating works that makes a reader say “aha!”.
Of course, that didn’t happen. But I wrote and wrote and wrote anyway – mostly snippets of my life that I couldn’t seem to shape into a coherent whole, and it didn’t matter because I was just happy writing away, nevermind that my arms and fingers were aching from gripping the pen too tightly (isn’t it ironic, I teach little kids to hold a pencil properly while I can’t even do it myself?) and my head felt all muddled and fuzzy. In the middle of my scattered, disorganized prose, I ended up writing this prayer:
Thank you for bringing me to this moment, to this place, to this time. For so long now I have been feeling as though I was ‘neither here nor there, betwixt and between’, always wishing I was somewhere else. But today, eventhough I still have all my questions and I miss my family and my country terribly, I am happy where I am and I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be but here.
This is probably one of the most honest, most sincere pieces I’ve ever written, and it amazes me how I never even realized that I felt this way until I read this. Those who are closest to me can attest that for the longest time I have been very restless. I felt like I was in a liminal state, as described by the anthropologist Victor Turner, suspended at the crossroads, constantly wanting to do so many things but not knowing where or how. I wanted my answers and I wanted them right away, and yet, no matter how hard I tried to find them, I always end up with more questions.
But for some reason, last night, when I decided to let go and just be, with my writing and with everything else (especially my insecurities, neurotic tendencies, and all those wounds that are too painful to uncover), I felt freer, more comfortable with myself than I’ve ever been in years. I realized that it’s okay to be confused and unsettled. And it’s okay if I don’t know where I’m going or how I’ll get there. I’m still young and I have the rest of my life to live, to make mistakes and to learn from these mistakes. Perhaps one day I will arrive at my answers. Or perhaps I will come to appreciate that I have the answers with me all along. I don’t know, and that’s okay.
In the meantime, I will write. I will write because when I write, everything makes more sense, I will know myself better and I can give myself more fully to others. Just like last night, I will write of the truth as I understand it, never holding anything back. I will be freefalling, happily plunging into the unknown, with its terrifying and angst-filled moments.
Come along and take this leap with me.