Today I sat outside with my best friend. We wrote all our fears, our anchors, our heartbreaks, our hopes and our dreams onto flying wish papers and then we burned them.
I watched as all these thoughts turned into embers and I realized how easy it can be to let go when we are truly ready for it.
Recently, I scrolled through my Instagram to around this time last year and looked at my pictures, read my captions and thoughts.
This was a time in my life before I started to get in touch with my love for writing and creative expression. For a long time I had been silenced. For a really long f*cking time I felt that others did not want to hear about how I felt. When I did express how I felt, when I decided to open up, and invite someone to gaze into my world I was rejected over and over. Maybe it was because they didn’t want to hear it or, because they weren’t ready for it, but I stayed around and kept trying because I so desperately wanted their love and acceptance.
Yeah, I burned that.
Expression is a way of life. I have learned that if we internalize all we feel, it leads us down a dark road where we are left alone in our head. It’s a state of self sabotage that we don’t don’t recognize until we are left over-analyzing answers that haven’t even been given to us. It takes time to remember that we are worth listening to, and all of our thoughts and feelings are valid. We should never allow someone to make us feel small.
I kept scrolling and saw more pictures. I remember when Haley would come home from school and I was there on the floor in the same spot as when she left. She would hug me and tell me everything would be okay.
Everything will be okay. I burned that too.
I feel so deeply. I always have. In a sense we all feel in our own ways. I knew I didn’t want to numb myself with alcohol or drugs, or sex with strangers who didn’t care about me; I just wanted to feel all of it. Numbing can be the fastest pain relieving choice for us at times, but I choose the constant reminder that anything uncomfortable or painful is only temporary.
Everything is only temporary. I would encourage others to find the lesson in the discomfort, in the pain. It’s there, believe me.
I scrolled further, to the time when I finally realized I had lost myself. When it became clear that the only way to become full again was to completely submerge myself in the unknown. To when I devoted time to lose myself a little more, in a different place. I was so scared of the feelings I was going to come face-to-face with.
I would go to the beach and just run. I would run until I would almost collapse on the sand. Then I would cry and look up at the sky and wonder why the f*ck my heart has been breaking for what felt like my whole entire life? Why love was such a hard thing for me to get a hold of? Why couldn’t someone love me? Why was I so difficult to love?
I burned that.
I fell in love with myself that summer and never looked back. The relationship we have with ourselves is a a crucial one and also the most difficult. We can become so unaware of how we give so much love away and accept any form of love that comes our way, without having our own self love in mind. We often put ourselves on the back burner and after a long amount of time we forget how important it is to love ourselves. We forget to ask ourselves what is going to serve us to our fullest potential and most importantly to not settle.
When your trust is broken by someone you are in a relationship with, they can leave or you can leave and you will heal. When your trust is broken by a family member, and a part of you feels responsible for taking care of their well being it is a different kind of pain.
I remember teaching yoga classes and seeing missed calls on my phone and my stomach would sink. After class I would listen to the voice mails and cry and realize how deep my attachments are to my family and how badly I wanted to save them.
I burned that.
We can’t save people from self inflicting pain. This is something that I have always struggled with. I always want to help and would try so hard that it ended up taking a similar, or worse, toll on me than the person I was trying to help. We cannot convince someone that they are worth being loved or saved. We can’t change someone’s mind to make better decisions—that’s their choice.
So guess what I did? I burned that too.
The final thing I decided to burn was all my fear. Back-bends have become more difficult for me this year but I am getting better at exposing this part of myself again. My heart. I burned my fear of falling in love again, of getting hurt again. I burned my fears of expressing myself to others and to myself. I also burned my fears of walking away from painful jobs, or people. I have burned my fears of trusting others. I burned my fears of being alone.
Something better is waiting. Something better is always waiting when we are ready to take steps towards it.
Every single thing, every occurrence and challenge we face in life has lead us to wherever we need to be. To drop all the baggage in order to make space for something so new and so great, whatever that may be. To invite clarity and love and confidence and peace to our lives. To prepare for new adventures to come, and to walk forward. Fearlessly.
This is the way of life.
The beauty, the pain, the triumphs and the loses.
We can shed our layers and burn the baggage and watch as they turn into embers and fade.
We can let go, and we can make space.
Author: Anjali Romaniuk
Apprentice Editor: Vanessa Marjoribanks / Editor: Travis May