I was skimming over my Facebook wall today, like we all do every day. Then suddenly I saw this picture above posted by my friend Shaun; it started with “This is your life” sentence, so I immediatelly decided to continue reading it. And eventually got inspired enough to write this blog post.
Can I call Shaun a friend? Not really, I guess. I kept seeing him from time to time during those beautiful months I’ve spent at Abraham Hostel in Jerusalem. Yes, he was very handsome and very tall and had those beautiful long dreadlocks. So every time he was around and was saying “Hi!” to me, I was blasting and forgetting all the smart and interesting things I could (should?) have said. And after that I was thinking “Damn it! I could have said XXX and XYZ! Stupid me!”. Oh well… Shit happens.
So I can’t really call Shaun a friend becasue we have never had a proper conversation, and – yes – it was not Shaun’s fault at all. It also took me days of thinking whether I should invite him to my FB friends or not (like a teenage girl, I know! But I couldn’t help myself!). But I eventually did. And he accepted! Yay! It never changed anything and didn’t lead to any kind of propoer conversation, but when I saw this picture today on FB, I knew immediatelly, why I was supposed to meet him on my way not that long time ago. Becasue this picture came just in a right moment.
“This is my life” – is a sentence I have to learn and remember very well. To be able to defend myself when I’m being asked “What for are you doing all of this?”. This picture gives all the answers I believe in and want and try hard to follow. I should even try to memorize it!
“Do what you love and do it often” it says. It’s exactly the opposite to the what the culture and the system I grew up in has taught me so far. I’ve learnt to be humble and not too brave, and I’m a very good student. I’ve learnt how much it hurts when you try to do what you love but you fail. I had to pay for every mistake I made, the system doesn’t accept the loosers. “What for were you pursuing yourself so hard?” I’ve heard every time I was trying something new and I failed. It made me stop saying that I was trying. But it never did stop me from trying. And I learnt, very quickly, that I’m only allowed to speak, when I succeed. With this new lesson I quickly started to build my image of a successful girl. The failures were known to me only.
One of the most difficult decisions I had to make in my life was quitting my job to travel. Yes, travelling is what love, that’s for sure. So I always kept travelling, I can’t complain. But was I really living my dream life? No, I wasn’t.
The decision was hard not only becasue of the uncertainty it brought. I didn’t know what I was going to tell the people. What for have I quit my job? For having an idea of travelling, but not really a plan. Some people even say that it was an extreme decision – I actually never thought about it in such categories. I rather think that I matured to it eventually. Although it costed me a lot to take this deep breath to immerse into unknown. What has helped me? The most important sentence I’ve ever heard in my life and I keep it now as the most precious treasure in my heart. When discussing all the hesitations with my dad, I eventually heard from him “I wouldn’t quit job if I were you. But this is your life and your decision. And whatever you choose to do, remember, that I will support you, no matter what”. Yes, dad. In that one single sentence you made me eventually make up my mind. You made me brave enough to try.
Have I no fears? I do have. A lot! All kinds of them. I had over two hours long skype conversation with my friend B. from Palestine yesterday. At one moment she had said “Thanks for sharing this, Kasia. I thought I was the only person in the world who has fears. Nobody talks about it. And becasue I want to be a strong woman and I want to be perceived like one, I feel that I am not allowed to have fears”. No, B., you know already that I also have a lot of fears! And I guess we are not the only ones that do have.
Should I name some of them? Like when travelling to an unknown country I’m afraid to be sexually harrased.Like what I’m going to do when my bike will brake during my bike trip and I will have no idea how to fix it on the way and there will be no one to help. Like when sleeping in a stranger’s house, I’m afraid that he is maybe going to abuse me. Like what if I will not have a place to stay and I’ll have to sleep in a tent in a middle of nowhere and I’m really really afraid of sleeping in a tent alone. Like being raped (the worst fear of all). Like the one that I will lose my friends becasue I will be abroad for too long and we will not manage to keep friends anymore; and I will be lonely. Like the one that the people closest to me will die. Like being terribly lonely. Like I will be somewhere on the other side of the world and something terrible will happen here and I will not be able to help. Like generally speaking not being able to help. Like becasue of the life I chose for now, I will not have home one day, but not in the terms of a building, but in terms of emotions. Like I can enumerate countlessly.
The question I keep asking myself is whether I want to stop myself of living MY LIFE because of those fears. And if I will be happier not travelling and not being exposed to face those fears. The answer, so far, is “NO”. And I’m not saying that this is a recipe for everyone. Certainly not. But it is for me, I guess.
Why did I want to post this? To tell some people who see me as this extremely happy, very successful and always laughing girl, that yes, you are right, guys. I am happy becasue I chose to. I am successful becasue that’s how I see my life and I do laugh a lot because it helps me to deal with my fears. But all of this doesn’t mean that I have no fears, emotions or hesitations. I do. We all do. And strong women do as well. And we all have right to doubt.
Have a nice day, B.! That’s for you:
Rio (Ryjewo), Poland, 8 August 2015