Hi.

Welcome to "My Life in Parenthesis." 

Bravery

That moment when I knew it was time to go, for real this time. I had to make the decision that my heart had been telling me was right for months, that had felt too difficult, too heartbreaking. All I could think about was everyone else's feelings. How could I protect myself without hurting others? Avoiding judgement that never did come anyway. It was a beautiful, bittersweet day when I packed up my life in boxes and escaped from the life I had been creating for myself for what seemed like a lifetime, but was really only two years.

The other day a bee snuck into my room and couldn't find its way out. It kept moving back and forth in front of the open window. It could feel how close its freedom was, sensed it was almost within reach, but somehow, couldn't quite grasp it. I took a piece of tissue paper and guided it out the window. It angrily resisted those seemingly painful moments, too much work perhaps. Perhaps it was scared of this hidden force guiding it into the unknown? Until, just moments later, it glided into freedom, into the open air. 

An hour later, I found it again, this time nestled in a tee-shirt on the bed. I looked at it, imagining how comforting this strange, soft place might seem. But I knew the comfort wouldn't last. I didn't really think it was what it needed, so I picked up the shirt and, once more, guided the bee to true freedom. It hasn't come back since, and neither have I. Too many times I tried to leave, and was lured back by the comfort of a soft bed to share, the bustle of a life in a city which feigned comfort and a loving embrace. A city pulsating and vibrating and surviving off the lives and souls of its unassuming victims, I mean, inhabitants. 

I flew out the window that day, soared to my freedom, a life more sustainable, into the unknown, yet full of possibility and potential and love. I ran from the seeming comfort of love only in name and not in action, to a love of myself, a grounding, sustaining love as a verb, not just a fleeting feeling reified by empty words and promises left unfulfilled. A true act of courage.

For weeks later, the realization of what I had done would wash over me in waves. And the tears would inexplicably come. Grateful tears of joy and relief, in awe of this act of courage. My body felt different, as the heaviness lifted from my chest, tension released from my shoulders and lower back, my breath became lighter. With the tears, the constant sense of dread released its hold on me. There were no more eggshells and my feelings were valid. I could just be me. Unapologetically me.

From now on, I commit to acts of bravery. How sad to think that I have to learn to protect myself intentionally. That it seems almost unnatural or selfish. From now on, I'm reclaiming my body, protecting it from the heaviness of dread and fear. Intentionally practicing courageous self-love and gratitude. Because I deserve it.