As with so many of these letters, I am writing to you from the floor. I lay here on my back to grasp at moments and questions without answers from a different physical perspective. I steady myself by running my fingers along the carpet. Last time I wrote, this beige floor was new. It marked a new beginning: a moment in time. Now this floor and these walls hold much more than a moment.
Two years ago, as I waxed nostalgic for white-tiled floors in Rwanda and red-tiled floors in Honduras, I asked questions about how my personal journey intertwined with my work. I was still building the synaptic connections that opened my mind to the strength of blending of personal and professional. I was still learning to root my professional experience in both my personal and professional past. R, I have to say, we have to fight to elevate what we know in our core to be right. We have to keep saying it until we are heard, we can’t only whisper it to each other. We have to stand up, we have to move forward. And, yes, of course, we have to walk away sometimes.
R, this floor, which you too have rested on after wine and tear-filled evenings, has seen a fight, a struggle, a process of growth in these past two year. This floor has not seen days and nights passing easily. But, R, I didn’t move again. Instead, I got back on this floor and breathed in and out hundreds of times. Yes, you are right, I did run briefly last year. I ran to find myself again, and I left this floor. I left the physical brokenness the floor had witnessed and I left the heartbreak that ripped through me. But you understand, I had to run. I had to lay my body down on the cool white-tiles in Rwanda, to gather my strength to fight this fight and to gather stories. The stories that help us, the big us, not just you and me, go on.
R, last time I wrote, I was both nostalgic for and worried about memories. Today, I sometimes wonder about memories. I wonder about how they fade and change. R, today, those ghost ships don’t feel so far away. Today they are drifting close. I’m not waving at them, letting them pass. I am looking on curiously, wondering where they will someday dock and if the ship I am on will find a port that fills my soul. The transient nature of these ships is only metaphorical, as my life is a little more rooted than when I wrote to you last. I have loved and lost – and then – loved and lost again. And, from this floor, I picked up the pieces, reassembled and moved forward. I stand on this floor today with both my feet firmly rooted in the carpet. I know the big questions exist, as they always do, somewhere out there, but I have my two feet on this ground.
I have to chuckle, R, when I read my own words about finding more certainty in my life. The things that seemed certain, such as simply (and literally) putting one foot in front of another, became impossible and uncertain. You know it too well, R, what happens when the “baby steps” metaphor becomes literal and what happens when our bodies challenge us. But, then one foot does go in front of the other and you practice walking on that beige carpet.
R, I asked so many questions of you about what could possibly unfold in that new space two years ago, on that new carpet. I read them now with both heart ache and strength, yes I whispered words of love, yes I grieved a loss, yes I was hurt and ask questions that still don’t have answers, yes I struggled and yes, I took steps on the path of embracing self-love and conquering self-doubt. So, R, I guess it is a journey, even though moments on this floor caused time to stand still. What are the questions to ask about what will happen next, R? What I know now is that I can still get down on the floor, as I am now, and count my breaths. In and out.
Love and stories,