so i had this stark realization yesterday.
first of all, the past year or so has been very...fluid, we/ll say. surreal. hard for me to grasp reality. whether it/s a side effect of a severe post concussive syndrome or just what sobriety for prolonged periods of time feels like i/m not sure.
ok, i wasn/t always inebriated if that/s what you/re thinking. but this isn/t the point of this story.
the point is that for the first time yesterday i actually came down from my usual detached position hovering above myself, floating around observing my actions without any interest or intention in interfering. for the first time since i can remember i had a sincere moment of lucidity.
i was sitting in a classroom during my last class for the day on fridays. i was "correcting papers", meaning i was actually writing a letter to my sister. it was one of the first times the kids were working so well that after walking around the classroom checking their work a few times, i had absolutely nothing to do. so i sat down and pretended to be working in the hopes that they would continue working peacefully, too. which they did. and i had this moment of clarity. i saw exactly where i was and knew exactly how i had gotten there. i connected the dots and realized that it was me who had gotten me where i am today. that i have done some pretty sweet stuff with my life so far, and that it was always me that decided what to do and when. sometimes there was hesitation or discomfort on the part of others (not just particularly parents, though i am aware of their concern for my wellbeing and/or future; moreso friends & family that i leave behind on these adventures that are becoming increasingly more time-consuming with each new excursion) which discouraged me or rather made me reconsider, made me question my actions. but stubborn me i usually pushed on and look where it/s gotten me.
i looked at my students working away contentedly and realized that it was me, i was the one who had personally slaved away for hours and hours and hours doing my own homework & creating worksheets & diagrams & analogies & lesson plans so that these kids could learn a language and that this reward - them working and understanding and succeeding - was the fruit of my labor. no one else/s. i saw that i was creative and fun and capable and really damn good at what i do. that the kids love me and that, more importantly, i love them, something i hadn/t really realized. i mean, i get up before dawn to bike, train, bike to work. i travel almost 20km on bike every day. even on days like yesterday when it was pouring rain. incessantly. all day. i show up soaking but still have a smile on my face. still find them all adorable. all 350 of them. that/s got to say something about both of us.
i realized that i have been questioning my future for so so many years, and i still question it, actually, on a semi-daily basis. "oh my god! what am i going to do with my life? oh my god! how am i going to do that? what am i going to do with my future, this terrible concept that we are always terrified of but in reality can never actually touch? what about my future?" and it hit me sitting there surrounded by whispered questions ("is 'my' mom in english 'me mom' or 'my mom'?" "if my 'step-mom' has children, are they still my 'sister'?") and answers ("if your great-grandpa died in the war, maybe you should put a cross next to him to show that he/s not around any more." "you spelled 'sister' with an 'x'; it/s not 'sixter'."). it hit me hard.
this is my future. this is it. this is my life. the life that i have built for myself. i am living in france, for chrissake. teaching at elementary schools. i don/t think i had really fully understood what that meant before. i don/t make a ton of money, but i am flexible. i am courtenay/s chameleon and i know how to adapt and make the best of situations. i go where the wind blows me and i don/t just survive; i live. i graduated from a university cum laude in four years with two degrees and since graduating i have found two incredible jobs across the globe that push me, that have challenged me, and that have made me grow in leaps and bounds. so what if they aren/t "careers"? so what if they are only going to last me a year or so? so what? they are giving me experience that others coming straight out of college and going into a 9-5 job that pays well and has good benefits aren/t ever going to get. i may not always have great benefits, but i/ll always find ways to make my own, damnit.
it eased a lot of tension. a lot of pressure i/ve been carrying around for myself. a lot of stress. it showed me what certain people have been telling me all along, but i just wasn/t listening or didn/t fully understand. i can be whatever i want to be. i can do whatever i want to do in this life. i can. and more importantly reminded me that i am made to do great things. so great things i will do. i will never accept less than incredible. i will live my life according to my desires and i will work hard to achieve my dreams. what/s the point of dreaming if you never truly believe you can get there? what/s the point in teaching our children that they can grow up to be whatever they want in this world if we don/t even believe it/s true ourselves? if we aren/t doing the things we dreamed of when we were young? well i/m seeing that it/s so much more simple than we think it is. we can. and i will. it is not selfish to do what you want to do with your life. and it is not selfish to be happy. it is human. it is healthy. and it is how i will live my life.
thank you so much to all of you who have been there supporting me through all this, watching me grow. maybe i/m a late bloomer, or maybe it/s the cleansing of the rains or the poking of the daffodils & the promise of spring, but i think i/m finally coming into myself. and thank you for being there with me through it all. i love you.
in a world where you can be anything, be yourself.
a few words about miss chelsea elizabeth...
oregon-born, seattle-raised, bellingham-bred and franco-refined, she had moved back to the states from her affairs across the atlantic & now resides in columbia city with french husband & love of her life rémy. they spend most of their time taming the garden, taking care of their three chickens & two cats, and preparing the urban homestead for a new little chick of their own.
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