I was once told, “Try and surround yourself with positive, happy people. People who won’t bring you down and you’ve got half the battle won,” he said.
I wasn’t prepared. This weekend was a blur. A blur of beautiful faces and souls, all coming together to say goodbye to this leg of the journey. It’s a funny feeling – saying goodbye.
Throughout the course of three days I was surrounded by people who had danced on tables with me, held me tight when my eyes poured with sadness, fought my battles and been my biggest enemy. People who I had known my entire 26 years, people I’d spent less than 9 months with in a haze of happiness and people who had spent the last 5 years making me embrace my quirks and share my secrets. It was full of people who had encouraged me and rooted for me. They make my cheeks hurt in laughter and make my heart swell with pride for their own bravery and independence.
The weekend was full of booze, of dancing, of love and honesty and the sort of feeling you never want to let go. Family, friends, lovers. Great music and good food, and a sense of openness for the future and the present and the past. Something that couldn’t stop you or hold you back and made you want to live forever in the fleeting moment. In the never-ending tick-tock of the clock running down its hour and speeding up its minutes. The lights flashed red, and green and the bass ran through the veins, through the heart, as we swayed together and closed our eyes. Feeling nothing but the calm, the sheer joy of being together and being free, all at once.
There was a time when I didn’t feel this sense of community, yet it had never left my side. Throughout the weekend, I felt like I was an outsider looking in – at the eccentric and kind-hearted souls who ran into the bar yelling, and melded with people over nature and dirty, German words, and spilled booze at the wrong time and had no care for rules or germs or proper behavior.
They were people who understood what it meant to let go of all expectations and to live. They cheered me on and stopped me from crying, when they saw the corners of my lips start to take a dip in the wrong direction. It’s hard to say goodbye, no matter what length of time is in front of you, as it means missing the smiling faces and incoherent thoughts that ramble out at the most inappropriate times.
Being with all these people, made me appreciate the life that I have and recognize what I’ll be missing on my journey. It made me appreciate the beauty they saw in me, the courageous soldier – following her path to righteousness and freedom. The petite, blonde taking a leap into an unknown world, un-phased by its vastness and excited by its adventures. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and sadness, and this awareness of the bittersweet moments that surrounded a beautiful goodbye weekend.
Just like the faces of loved ones that I see now, as I greet new people and share more precious moments – I know that I’ve already got half the battle won.