Photo by: Mimmo Mastrodicasa

Shifting Stories

I arrived on the West Coast yesterday after having traveled from the East Coast of another country located on another continent. No complaints here, it wasn’t a bad commute.

I began my journey in the middle of the night catching a bus to Fiumicino, Rome’s international airport. A couple of flights and 24 hours later, I arrived in Seattle pleased to see the iconic skyline snuggled up next to Puget Sound. The ferry boat lights twinkling at dusk as they chugged toward Bainbridge Island, delivering tired commuters back home after a long day.

Since I’m a girl without a visa and have a structured timeframe, for the last year or so I have been staying in Italy for three months and then returning back to the States for three. Back and forth, on repeat.

I used to resent having to leave. I felt pushed out of a place I love surrounded by people I love. I felt unwanted, like a child told to go home to eat dinner at my own house. Silly, really. How we collect ‘less than’ stories in our heads. Playing them over and over allowing them to shape our feelings and actions.

Now this story has shifted. I no longer feel unwanted, I feel and see it as a huge opportunity. I feel set free.

Of course on one level I felt sad to leave. My last day was punctuated with tears leaking from my eyes, a lower lip tremble, and open arms hungrily reaching for hugs. But these moments were counterbalanced with a giddy excitement to live the next chapter with eyes and heart wide open.

As I told you, I’m closing up my Portland apartment early next month. I held on to it all this time based on an old, tired story. In my mid-twenties I was placeless for a bit while traveling. I remember I felt detached and unsure of myself. I thought it was because I didn’t have a zip code and a place to point to and say “I live there,” the place I was returning to “when I got home.”

I now know it wasn’t about a location at all, it was about me. Most everything boils down to us, doesn’t it? Now that I feel more comfortable in my own skin I understand I am my own home. It’s not a place on the map, but a place in my heart and head. With this understanding, I’m now ready to shed my stuff and the anchor that comes along with it.

Which has brought on more thinking and an additional layer of freedom.

The conversation went like this: Hey Robyn, why do you feel like you have to return to the States every three months? If you have events to attend or people to visit, then sure come back. But why return out of habit? Why not consider other countries and cities? Why not look for projects that move you regardless of location?

Yes Robyn, why not?

Why not, indeed. For the next month I’m pretty scheduled. After that I’m wide open. I’m not sure where I will be, purposefully. Mexico is topping the list right now. The sun is shiny, the internet connection strong, and I have people there. People I love with babies whom I don’t see regularly, but would like to.

I’m open. Open to flow with how this chapter unfolds. Open to continue writing and peeling back layers of tired, old stories. Squealing in delight over what has been hidden underneath, just waiting to be discovered.