As always, I am writing to you from my floor. This is a new floor, a light brown carpeted basement floor. This new floor feels far from the cool white-tiled floor of my house in Rwanda, where I mulled over evil, humanity, and healing. It feels even further from the big red tiles of my Honduran campo home, where I spent many candle-lit hours writing and sunrise filled mornings processing life’s journeys. It feels far from the expensive rug covered floor in Boston we collapsed on after hours of storytelling and shared empathy. This is my new floor — it doesn’t yet contain those moment, those memories.
R, I moved. again.
Thankfully, I can still put all of my belongings in my car. I can pack them up in one city and then unpack them somewhere else. The process is nostalgia-inducing, as it seems impossible to unpack without gazing at old photographs and meandering through old memories. The memories that fall out of boxes as I unpack are those of times before digital cameras, making them feel even further away. They are other lives, past lives. The photos are spread across this new floor, waiting for a decision on which ones I will put on the wall. Which memories belong on the wall of my new life and which ones will go back into the shoe boxes they emerged from?
As you know so well yourself, R, part of me deeply desires the transient life. I long to move without the shoe boxes containing memories; to move with only necessities. Yet, seven moves, four years, five countries, and a graduate degree later, and I find myself back in the same city I abandoned in what seems like a life time ago. I relish in the uncertainty of having my personal belongings in my car — of being in the small percentage of people that desire this. We are the un-grounded. Un-grounded in terms of place.
Yet, R, this move is different.
This move is an effort — for the first time — to find (or create?) a little more certainty in my life. I joke to friends that I want to put three roots down. I dislike the terms “settling down” or “putting roots down,” even though I borrow the latter for my own metaphor of growth. I am not sure how many “roots” we have in total to put down, but I’d like to put a few down here. I’d like to feel safe, to build a community, to build a home, to watch as the next chapter of my life unfolds. It all begins with adjusting to this new floor.
R, do you ever enter a new space, and feel overwhelmed with everything that could unfold there? With the life you haven’t yet lived? I wonder, in my new dimly lit basement room, what I will experience in the confines of these four walls. Will I whisper words of love? Will I grieve a loss I haven’t yet fathomed? Will I conquer self-doubt? Will I struggle? Will I embrace self-love? Will I accomplish goals I haven’t yet set my mind to? Will I mourn my transient self? Will I long for lake-side beaches in Burundi and mountains in Peru? Will I feel at home?
R, What challenges and joys will I celebrate and process in this room? On this floor?
I’ll start with placing the images of freedom on Honduran beaches, a sense of home in Mexico, and finding on my life’s work in Rwanda and Uganda – back into the shoe box. These photos will mix with cards filled with caring words from friends, expressions of love from past relationships, and sympathy cards already contained in these boxes. If the images and the boxes containing them are tucked away, the floor space is clear for new moments, memories, and a new chapter for me to explore.
Love and Stories,