Bright and early tomorrow morning, I am embarking on a huge adventure.
This trip–more than two weeks away in a tropical, foreign country–represents so much more than just a vacation.
You see, this is a trip I am taking alone. With a group of people, yes, but with a group of mostly strangers.
This is a trip that is about ME.
A year ago, if you would have told me that I would be traveling out of the country, by myself, I would have laughed at you. You see, anxiety has always held my adventurous spirit back.
Do trips sound fun and amazing? Heck yes! Do I want to take them? You bet!
But the fear almost always creeps in.
In the past, anxiety would seep into my head and make me question my ability to do anything daring. What if you get sick? What if you get hurt? Or stranded? Or the plane crashes? Or you get sold into a sex trafficking ring? (What? Your brain doesn’t think these thoughts??? Just today, in fact, my mom told me to watch out, because I am a “pretty blonde.”)
The fear, especially of getting sick–food poisoning–or worse, has always stopped me.
Now, I feel better equipped to meet that fear head on. Is it still creeping in? You bet…the thoughts pop into my head and the anxiety floods into my body.
Now, however, I feel like I can meet the thoughts where they are. Recognize them for WHAT they are. And then I can use my tools to move past them.
It might be deep breathing. It might be venting to a caring support person. It might be self talk. It might be popping an Ativan if nothing else works. But. I. HAVE. TOOLS.
And now…now, I know how to use them.
The last year and a half has been tremendously hard and difficult. My life has such complicated layers–so many more than I ever allowed myself to realize. So many layers that I have never allowed myself to feel.
Over the last months, I have slowly peeled back layer after layer, exposing all of the memories, all of the feelings, all of the pain. I am still not to the center–my core–but I am so much closer than I have ever been.
I struggled with taking the jump and saying yes to this trip. I felt mom guilt. In fact, my own mother questioned me with, “What kind of mother leaves her two children at home for that long so she can go party in another country?” (For the record, I have NEVER been one to party. This is as much an educational trip as it is a vacation). That question mimicked the critical inner voice inside my head–Who would judge me for this trip? How can I burden my husband this way? How can I leave my sweet babes for so long?
Luckily, I have some pretty amazing women in my life who encouraged me. They could see how rejuvenating and healing this trip would be.
So…I took the leap.
Tomorrow, I am going to board a plane and arrive in another country–another world, with a rich, full culture.
I am going to rock huge, big humidity hair. I am going to sit, quietly on the beach, in my real life “safe space,” soaking up the sun and the sound of the waves. Feeling the heat on my skin. I am going to sweat out of my makeup and not care. I am going to hike through the rain forest and drink really amazing coffee.
And, more than the fear and anxiety that I am so used to feeling? I FEEL EXCITED.
And worthy of this journey and experience. Because I am a mother. Because I am healing. Because I am me.
Watch out, adventure….here I come. ❤