August 1st. Somehow we’ve already found ourselves in the eight month of the year. But time has felt strange these last few months. Time hasn’t felt like time. It has felt absent. Non-existent. Some months feel like years, other weeks feel like a day. In the end though, I doubt it really matters. Like yes I’ve done 22 turns around the sun but I feel that in no way this amount of time can even begin to represent the things I’ve learned, the experiences I’ve had, the people I have loved and those I have “lost”. (I say lost in quotations because I don’t actually believe you ever lose someone – those that pass on remain in your heart and those no longer actively involved in your life are also not lost, they’re just walking a different route than yours).
But time is a social construct and helps the world organise itself. And I participate in this too. I don’t actually have anything against “time”, I’m just merely observing that, in the greater sense of things, it genuinely doesn’t matter.
Take today for example. It is my first day of a 2.5 week stay-cation. I have only been awake for 4 hours on this beautiful, warm Saturday morning and I feel as if I have enjoyed a solid three or four days of inspiration, relaxation and nothingness. Yes I’m still tired from working super hard this past month, and from all the crazy life stuff that happened in the months before. But I also feel relaxed. I finished a book, wrote in my journal, and as we speak (or rather, as we read) the nail polish on my toes is drying. Stay-cation or what?!
I’m calling it a stay-cation because, as the word implies, I’m staying in St. Barth. Numerous reasons: 1) this place is a vacation in itself, beautiful scenery, beaches, and most of all, family and relaxation; 2) there is still a global pandemic going on giving me very little desire to want to, unnecessarily, go to any other location (even though I am super excited for my future travel plans, they’ll just have to be put on hold a little longer); and 3) I am TIRED. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. I want to just stay in one place for a little while. And I know, energy creates intent, and at my core I do feel good, like I’m becoming myself more and more everyday that I live and breathe. But, A LOT has taken in place in the past few months, hell, even the past few weeks, and currently I just want to rest, relax, and grow more into the human being I want to become.
Who do I want to become? I am still largely unsure. What I know is that I’m growing into healthier and happier habits everyday, which I enjoy and which make me feel like someone I want to live with for the rest of my life. Maybe that is all we really need to strive for: to make a partner for life out of ourselves. In the end it’s always going to be me, myself and I. And no, not in the sense of “I am born alone and I die alone”, also because I have greatly different views than that one, but because everywhere you go and everything you do in life, no matter what lovely human being is besides you, traveling alongside you on the path of life, YOU will also always be there. There is no escaping that one – so you might as well enjoy your own company the most.
How am I working on making a better life-partner out of myself? The past two weeks of working on this have included A LOT of self reflection, self-anger, self-disappointment, and at the end of the road (say, last few days), self-acceptance – at least much much more of it than before. It is so easy to analyse our old behaviours, patterns, and choices and to then judge ourselves for things we did, said, and who we were at that moment in time. But how is this fair to ourselves? Didn’t we chose those things with the knowledge we had at that time. What is the point in judging those moments when in reality they brought us to where we are now and to who we are now. I decided it was time to be thankful for everything I had chosen so far and for all the things that happened in my life: acceptance, learning, growing.
So after self-anger and then self-acceptance, I feel somewhat “new”. Not that I am new or that anything about me looks new, but I feel new. As if I gave myself a fresh start, a clean slate to continue the rest of my life without self-judgement and negative energy/vibes to myself. Yes, this feels scary and the occasional (read: often) doubt comes up, but eventually that’ll become less because the more I practice what I preach and act and live to become who I desire to create, the easier this will go and then there will be no more room for unnecessary doubts.
Recently I’ve felt much more intone with my creative side. Creating whether it is writing, dancing, drawing, music, cooking, or just great discussions with family. I have been working on my novel and I’ve been drawing. I used to think I didn’t have any drawing-skills, that those genes had all been given to my sister, who makes beautiful drawings. But I’ve always liked drawing, the idea to create anything beautiful by putting a pencil to paper. So I sharpened my pencil, bought some coloured pencils, and got going. And honestly, I really, really enjoy it. So far it’s been mainly flowers – I love the way they look – but I’m also excited to try and draw other things. Painting too. I want to – correction, I am going to – buy paint and just create whatever comes up in my mind. If other people like what I make, great, if not, great too, I’m making it for me.
I also touched the piano again for the first time in probably five years. We’ve had the piano since I was, probably 6 or 7, and I had piano lessons probably from 8 to 13. And then in high school I got busy and didn’t want to continue taking lessons, and once I got to college there wasn’t a piano around nor any inspiration to play if there was. But recently, after speaking to a creative friend, we got talking about painting and about playing piano and all of a sudden this desire to play arrived two days ago. I sat down, and I didn’t even have to think about how to position my hands, they naturally moved across the keys as I played guitar chords on the piano (I forgot how to read left-hand notes and have yet to find inspiration to re-teach myself), while jamming out pop-songs with Christiaan. After my mom had grown tired from our singing and my fingers had grown tired from playing, I only felt joy. I could still play, it still sounded great, and I still loved the feeling it gave me – a sense of creative freedom.
Another inspiration filled moment occurred a couple of weeks ago, and then again yesterday. Cooking. Before I had been inspired to make something from scratch. So I made hummus. It was very tasty and I was so proud of my creation. Something I made from scratch and only healthy ingredients. I felt like a kitchen guru. Then yesterday, after eating a lunch that didn’t taste like anything, I felt inspired to make a new dish, something healthy and fun. I wanted to eat food that tasted like food and was healthy too. So I went to http://lavieclaire.com/ (the bio-store website) where there are many many yummy recipes, and scrolled through until I found two things I wanted to make. I ended up having to go to the store 4 different times (initially 2 different stores, and then twice more because I kept on forgetting ingredients). But I didn’t let this stop me, even though I did feel frustrated for a solid five minutes before having to go to the store a fourth time… But once I got going, I really got going. I felt excited and happy the whole way through cooking/baking and by the end I was proud of myself. My family hadn’t even tasted any of the things I had made and I was already beaming with joy. I had made two tasty dishes from scratch, all healthy, and all by myself! Dish one were mini Zucchini Pizza’s (vegetarian and tasty) and dish number two, which I was/am most proud of, is Zucchini Brownies!! That’s right!! Brownies made from a base of Zucchini! They’re a little bitter (which I personally have grown to love – I used to hate bitter as a kid) and they tasty fantastic and have the actual texture of brownies too. My family, even my siblings who don’t like bitter that much, really enjoyed them too.
So here I am on this beautiful Saturday morning, typing away at my keyboard while the fan does little to prevent my back from being drenched in sweat. Occasionally, as my phone signals more new emails, I stare up and look outside where I can see the Atlantic Ocean and the Île chevreau (also called Île Bonhomme), and I feel at ease. I feel like I am becoming someone I enjoy being with. I feel myself becoming Leona more and more every day.
How beautiful to feel alive and like I’m growing.
I hope you feel alive today too, and every other day of being you.