Returning to the East Coast has brought up a lot of thoughts and fears for this already over analytical girl! It's all revolving around the concept of "moving back". For quite some time now, I've considered my decision to move to the West Coast as one of the best of my life. It afforded me a vacuum... a place free of expectations to hear the sound of my inner voice. Most of my life has been spent listening to the voices of my parents, friends, religious leaders, significant others and any and every one else. I had never learned to recognize the sound of my inner voice. Over the last 2 years, I have gained a deeper understanding of myself, my interest, my core beliefs, everything from my tastes in clothes and music to my fundamental spiritual thoughts. I've proven to myself that I can make it on my own. I left an unproductive marriage, found a job I was good at, forged what I think will be lasting friendships, and created a life for myself that I not only enjoyed but was extremely proud of.
Now as i sit in a Cracker Barrel in Oklahoma City, OK, I wonder if it's possible to move back without moving back-WARD. Can I learn to hear the sound of my inner voice amongst so many other voices? My fear is living somewhere that I'm known as "the (fill in the blank)" ... the dancer, the christian girl, the good child, the hippy... Can I be the person I've become in the face of those preconceived ideas? I guess we'll find out.
And now as I sit in a Cracker Barrel in Nashville, TN, I realize that there is a flip side to this dilemma as well. I fear that in an effort to not let go of myself, that I will refuse to change and stifle the natural evolution of life. I don't want to hold so tightly to the person I am right now that I miss out on the person I can become. At the risk of sounding cliche... Life is a journey, not a destination. And although I'm significantly happier with where I'm at right now then I've ever been, that doesn't mean I still want to be here in 5, 10 or 15 years.
Maybe the key is in the wording. Maybe I should look at it less as moving "back" and more as moving "forward". Even though in January I'll be back in Charlotte, where I spent most of the hardest years of my life, living spitting distance from many people who believe they "know" me, doesn't mean I have to move backward in my journey. I'm a completely different person now than I was then. There is truly no way for me to go back to being that person.
And just because people have expectations of me doesn't mean I have to live up to them, nor do I need to do things that fly in the face of them just to prove my independence. The next step in my journey will be learning to live ABOVE the expectations of others. For instance, not refraining from getting any more tattoos for fear of disappointing people but at the same time not getting any new ones simply to prove that I can.
It all goes back to that inner voice. Thankfully, I will be living with someone who understands these fears. He has reassured me that he loves me, for instance, for how passionate I am about things, not for the passions themselves as those change over the years. He loves me for the woman I was at 17 when he met me, for the woman I am now 10 years later, and the woman I will become over the lifetime we will spend together.
I hope that I can not only hold onto and encourage my own inner voice, but his as well... to not hold onto the man he is right now at the expense of the man he can become for once again...
Life is a journey, not a destination.