Gormanston, County Meath, Ireland

I was going to write about actual, physical journeys. I’ve done a fair bit of travelling in these almost forty-two years of living and I thought that would give me some interesting stories to share.

However, once I sat down to write, I wanted to focus on the much harder, internal journey I’ve been on since my mother died.

Since she died, I’ve come out and started talking about the female genital mutilation that happened to me when I was seven. Since she died, I’ve lost 30 lbs in weight and I’ve finally gone back to work. Since my mother died, I’ve come a long way in figuring out who I am and I’ve stopped trying to live for other people who aren’t ever going to approve of me, no matter what I do.

The journey to the inner sea of me, the journey into my own personality has been a difficult one. I’ve had to ride the rapids of depression and confront the trauma of growing up for the two decades in a land at war with itself.

Journeys are curious things. I didn’t realise I was on a journey until I started nearing the end. At first it was just a matter of putting one foot in front of another and getting through the days. Now I feel like I’m on the last stretch of the journey. I’ve stopped only focusing on avoiding the rubble, the pits and the treacherous, hidden quicksand of sudden grief and unbearable emotional paralysis. Now I’m starting to look up. I’m starting to notice the canopy of possibilities, the stars in the distance that are pointing me towards my current destination.

I think one of the lessons this journey has taught me is to stop trying to plan and think things through. I need to learn to feel, I need to submit to the divine universe and speak my core desires and let go. The universe will provide, all I need to do is to be really clear about the want. It is not for me to reason how and which way, it is for me to trust, to focus on the soul-deep truth and give in.

For a person who thrives on lists, boxes to tick and structure, letting go is hard. I want everything colour-coded, long, short and mid-terms plans and goals outlined, booked and logged in. I want and adore having everything pre-prepared. But my journey is teaching me that while this blanket of knowing is protective, it is also restrictive. I close myself to possibility when I try to pin down everything. So, I am learning to wing it.

I’m the kind of person who packs a month in advance, if I can, when going on a journey. I plan and organise things by activities, schedules, itinerates. The joy of list-making, a notebook filled with numbers in case of emergencies, of hour-by-hour meticulous appointment setting and timetabling, these are the things that spark joy. But I’m learning there’s bliss to be found in surprise, adventure and unplanned and unexpected detours.

And the best thing that I’ve found on this journey is that there is no end. Each journey only leads on to the next, and at the end of it all, to quote Dumbledore and J.K. Rowling, “to the well-organised mind, death is but the next great adventure.”

Posted in Life-writing.

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