Or at least that what’s it feels like. 2 years here, 2 years there, repeat. It seems like saying goodbye to people I love comes around a bit too often. Along with packing bags, giving away copious amounts of clothes, trinkets, random shit that I have procured in one way or another over a year or two (how does it happen?!), leaving a community, a life.
The last time I left somewhere, I said goodbye to New York City, to my best friends, to a dream, to a lover.
I didn’t want to leave, really. I felt pushed out. I couldn’t crack New York, and it made me feel like I had failed. Really, it just wasn’t for me to unravel, but I didn’t come to know that in my heart until after I landed in Singapore again. I was attached to those dreams and loves and ideals in my head of what it was meant to be.
I left with my claws still in. I left feeling like I had made a mistake. I left with a racing heart and mind, spinning and spinning around the idea in my head about what was the right decision. When I flew away from my kind-of relationship with my kind-of boyfriend, my heart threw a fit. When he asked me to move in with him while I was taking off, I considered running off the plane. When I had a layover in Denver, I stared at the flight board, debating whether or not to turn back and go the way I had come.
Because in my head, going back to Singapore was going backward and I was choosing it over love.
I had lived in Singapore before, and I had had the experience. It wasn’t my first choice. It was a plan B. I couldn’t afford to go anywhere else in the world. [Ironic, as Singapore is the most expensive city in the world.]
And because I’ve been conditioned to think that I should always be ‘growing’ and showing progress and all this made up bullshit, I refused to let it be that the universe was sending me right where I needed to be. Truth is, I had some unfinished business in Singapore.
I had a tribe I needed to join.
I had a love I needed to fall into.
I had some beliefs I needed to let go of.
When I touched down in Singapore and took a taxi into town on the East Coast Parkway, I knew I was home. My fears still had me believing that I had ‘failed’ at having a relationship (instead of feeling content knowing that I had chosen to leave a situation that never would have made me happy). My head was still twisted and I second guessed myself and my heart physically ached. But underneath that, I knew I was in the place that the Kristen I couldn’t be in New York, needed to be.
Eventually, after visits to New York and messy break-ups (yes, multiple [I wrote about it here]), I let the version of Kristen that wanted to settle down in a place she hated with a man she didn’t understand, go. She was real. She was a part of me and played her necessary part in shaping me. But there was no space for her anymore. Not if I was going to embrace my life fully for what it was.
I reconnected with a tribe that had grown, with wonderful and warm people from all over the world who love to create and vibrate high and who happened to find each other in a seemingly sterile city. People who truly love each other in a way I have not felt before. People who truly want the best for each other. People who realize how lucky they are to have each other.
And I am so insanely lucky to call them mine. [I LOVE YOU GUYS]
I traveled again. I had money to travel again. I paid all my debts. I went to Wonderfruit with all my friends. I taught yoga, a lot. I joined a yoga shala and started practicing Ashtanga again. I created poetry. I performed (not always well) at Singapore Writer’s Week and Singapore Poetry Week and Metaphor’s Be With You. I ate hawker food. I never had to smell trash or shit or pee on the streets. I never had to ignore someone jacking off on the subway. I never had to wear a jacket outside and I saw palm trees every day. I enjoyed living, even the day-to-day stuff. I loved. I learned.
And I’m so grateful to the universe for sending me back there.
I remember telling my best friend, before we fell in love, how happy I was when my ex texted me and asked how I was because I got to reply, “I’m well,” knowing without a doubt, that I was the most well I had been in years.
And maybe this is why leaving this time doesn’t scare me. I am at peace because I know now I have a place in this world, a home that will greet me with open arms, that knows me well. A home that doesn’t require me to be anything other than what I am. A home that has made me well. Well enough to go out into the world on my own, happily.
And a love that isn’t going to stop me.