The clouds felt so thick over top of you. Descending back to the ground felt like returning to prison, didn’t it? I saw you exit the plane and head to the bus station. You stared at the clock. You didn’t feel as though it would ever change but I knew it would. You had 45 minutes to kill before you got on the bus that would take you 15 minutes away so you could wait another 3 hours for another bus. I could see you felt defeated. As you walked to the toilets exhausted I tried to tell you to get a grip. You dropped your backpack (Ozzy) on the stall floor and sat by him. The tears started rolling. I heard you say it. You thought nobody could hear you but I heard you whisper…
“This is a first, I’ve never cried for a landing, only takeoffs.”
The skies weighed down as if they were boxing you in. You gathered your emotions and returned to wait for the bus. I saw you sit on the bench, put Ozzy on the seat next to you, turn sideways, then pushed one leg through the backpack straps to ensure if anyone tried to take Ozzy they would take you too. As you threw your other leg over the top of your bags and leaned against the massive pole behind you the tears cut loose. I saw it. It was the first you didn’t know if you would make it. You didn’t know what was you and what wasn’t. What you should leave and what you should keep. Your heart wasn’t even 1% over your feet. How could it be? Who you had grown to be and who was at your deepest core weren’t the same.
I saw you type the words “It smells different. I can’t pinpoint it. I never can here. Smells are named with countries or specific geographic locations for me. This smell just confuses me. Everything here has been confusing me. In a good way, I suppose, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating” and I knew you were starting to look inside and not around you to see who you are.
We are built on cues from the day we are born. Social cues, music cues, weather cues, geographical cues, feeling cues, date cues, holiday cues. Cues guided you on how to be YOU. Then in a blink, with the roar of a plane engine, a rush of wind, a shift of culture, and switch of weather systems you were stripped. You were discovering what just sat on the surface of who you were, and what has penetrated you to the deepest core.
I know it can be scary. To forget birthdays because you know they are in the summer and it is cold here…so you forget. To prepare for holidays that make you bleed red, white and blue without stores decking out their departments. To have that split second when you wake up where you forget which country you are in. To think you saw a friend and then realize it’s definitely not them because they are across the sea. All of this is to be expected. Your life has always been guided by familiarity. Your senses tell you what to feel, they remind you who to be. They receive signals that awake feelings that trigger personal action.
Stationary things make you reflect.
Moving things make you dream.
Birds, motorcycles, cars, particular languages, sirens, waves, crickets….they all affect me. Not all of them have soaked into you, Core. Like music, close your eyes to about any song and you’ll be somewhere your physical body isn’t currently residing.
Stitches by Shawn Mendes?
You are driving down Mud house road, driving in my 2003 Alero between the Mansion and Lake Road.
Not Easy by Alex da Kid?
You are driving down State Route 188, going around the S curve heading back to Pleasantville after work. An empty lunch box is sitting in the passenger seat. Fitbit flashing 10 miles on foot logged for they day. You wipe your face and feel the sawdust. The end of your jeans are damp from washing horsetails and your shoes have sawdust caked on the top.
Better Man by Little Big Town?
You are standing in the round pen in the barn, Heath Ohio. Whip in one hand, lunge line in the other.
Diamonds by Hawk Nelson?
You are running the Lancaster Bike trail between Ewing and 6th Ave. There’s a tiny incline here, *leans in* glides up and you are almost done with your run.
Trust In You Lauren Daigle?
You feel cold tile, the sound of Dominican Spanish yelling with the rhythm of a bouncing basketball in the distance. Hot humid air is boiling up on the tile. You are scratching helplessly at dozens of mosquito bites. Your feet have dirt lines, and are dehydrated from being out all day in the heat.
Wasn’t Expecting That by Jamie Lawson?
You are in McConnelsville OH, outside a gas station, you smell cigarettes and alcohol. Tears are running down your face.
Chains by Crowder?
You are listening to one last song play in Santo Domingo before picking a team up at the airport. You are looking out the window to the sea with the city in the distance. There’s a bridge pole with red graffiti reading something along the lines of “leave us alone America”.
The Cost by Rend Collective?
You are in Emmanuel House. Skirt brushing my ankles. Children in the distance. Small tv. Motion sickness from getting off the bus. Mosquito bites scratching against your chaco shoe straps.
My Lighthouse by Rend Collective?
You are returning from a youth mission trip. Hot July. Bags piled up on your lap. You say, “Play it one more time” at the corner of 33 and Blacklick Eastern Rd.
One Step Away by Casting Crowns?
You are coming down the hill out of Junction City OH approaching the S curve. You are accelerating to 70+ mph. White and brown dog dancing across the road in front of you.
Some things will always affect you if they truly penetrated you. Smell…Touch…Taste…Sound…Sight they all affect me. Not all of them always soak into you, Core. When you are stripped of all the cues you once received it’s how you know who you truly are. What you’ve truly learnt. You find out where the true you runs in trouble. You find out what you have adopted and what you fostered. What fruit you merely bought and what fruit you grew. What you are good at shining and what you were good at reflecting. What heat grew you and what heat burnt you.
I need you to remember one thing. When you land underneath the clouds, when life is vague, memories start to feel like dreams and you no longer have me giving you cues on who you should be, don’t be scared. Be excited. That is when the truest you. The most natural you, will show. Untouched by her surroundings. Untouched by what she thinks she’s supposed to be. Untouched by unnecessary wavering pressure.