I’m lying in bed, and I find myself barely able to breathe. In a few days, I’m taking a one-way flight out of my country to start a life in a new one. Seeing my two packed suitcases waiting in the corner of my room, I break out in cold sweat. I’ve had months to prepare myself for the move, months to convince myself that I made the right decision, months of asking myself ad nauseam – what if I don’t go? what if I do? Somehow, no amount of preparation is enough when you are throwing yourself into the complete unknown. That was 2010.
Now it’s 2017. I did go. What would have happened if I stayed? It’s one of those existential dilemmas that make for a good movie. Unfortunately for me, my life isn’t a film set and there’s no one to call out “cut” when things start to get dicey. So it’s a question I will probably never have an answer for.
What I do know for sure is that getting on that flight was nothing less than a leap of faith that changed my life in ways I could never have imagined. What started out as an adventure quickly turned into a journey of self-discovery. I learned a few things about myself that I would never have learned otherwise.
“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere; sometimes in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself.” – unknown
There were days when I asked myself if the price of knowing the various iterations of myself was worth it — experiencing a loss so great that made me wonder if I would ever be whole again; facing adversities which I had never imagined could possibly happen to me; to be rendered so helpless in many situations that I could only give in to the utter sense of failure that came to envelope me; to be so far removed from all that I thought I was, I could barely recognize myself anymore.
Everyday, it gets a little bit easier to say yes. Because the “me” that I have come to know since I moved is someone that I would have never had the chance to meet before —
someone with enough fortitude to weather obstacles, big or small
someone with enough faith to know that my humanity can only do so much
someone who will always be my parents’ child, relying on their wisdom and comfort
someone who understands that beyond the color of our skin, wherever we are in this world, we are all humans with the same pains and frailties
but most of all, someone with enough space in my heart to welcome another person’s love, and capable of giving love in return
As I sit here now, I write this because I want to remember every self-discovery, every lesson learned, every win and failure, every gain and every loss. Because at the end of it all, when I find myself asking the same questions – what if I had not gone on that flight? what if I had stayed? – I want to be able to say with absolute certainty that it does not matter anymore. Every step I have taken since getting on that plane seven years ago has brought me exactly where I am supposed to be; and maybe, just maybe, to the person that I am supposed to be.
Words and photos by CRU