Monday, October 20, 2014

In Order to Transform Myself:

Many aspects of my life throughout the past year have all seemed so elusive at times; all happening within my sphere of experience and yet simultaneously all somehow distant. Duality is the name of the game. I'm entering a quickly changing landscape; its undulations seem endless and it constitutes the foundation of my daily existence. And yet I'm not searching for anything that deals with the everyday and instead seem to be searching for the next ideal that will allow me to–like a phoenix–transform and soar. And I know that I'm on the right path; I've been beating this path through the jungle since I knew that any such entangled environment existed, right outside my cocoon of childhood safety. That web of connections and wilderness reveals more of itself to me with each new bit of information about the world that I uncover; opportunities for educational enlightenment are endless. I'm at a growing point in my life. It's an apex that could otherwise be called the peak of my 20s and the combined entry of my mindset, confidence, and aptitude all suddenly finding themselves positioned at the front of the stage of my life. I know that by staying within my 28 year old self–regardless of how wise that self may be–that that same self–and thus me–would not evolve: it would step out into the world only to be questioned and probed–under the pressure of which it would sometimes buckle and other times stand. As I grow older, wiser, and more comfortable with who I am and who it is that I want to be–and more importantly, who it is that I'm becoming–I'm able to look into the mirror and tell myself: you're beautiful, and truly mean and believe it. It's been some time since I've been able to do so. Last night, I even kissed the mirror that I was in front of; I kissed myself. If I can't kiss and love myself, how is it that that same self is able to kiss and love somebody else, equally, or perhaps with even more magnitude? I'm growing up quickly. Much of that has to do with my actual age, while a separate subsection revolves around the idea of me growing up in the Netherlands throughout the course of my 20s. So many of my firsts have occurred here and only now do I see this: my first salaried position within the arts; my first published piece as a writer; my first true love; my first holiday to Norway; my first self-hosted dinner party. And so on, and so on. Perhaps I have not been able to realize all of the aspects that make my life here in Amsterdam so unique simply because nearly everything within it, was and is different that everything that was in it for the first 22 years–the most notable being the absence of daily communication in the English language. And so another first: my first, second language, which would be Dutch. Compounding my ability to fully grasp the American-European identity that my Super Ego has processed and subsequently created over the past six years, by living within the Netherlands, is the small detail of it that has recently changed: I am now Dutch. And yet still American. That's new. And it poses to me, deeply rooted questions about identity, and the ways in which I'm able to answer them is often internally overwhelming, and at times, quite frightening. Never did I ever expect to live in Europe. Or speak Dutch. Or marry my dream man. Or become European. Or be a published author. Those were all unique instances that crept into my life via the situations that I've chosen to immerse myself within throughout my time in the Netherlands. But I should not underestimate the often overlooked word in the previous sentence: chosen. I choose what I engage with; I control my life. I'm learning to say no; to stand up within myself in order to stick up for myself; and above all to be myself, on purpose and with purpose. As I barrel toward 30, I'm able to recognize patterns within the years that have helped lead me where I am now. I'm not a fixed member of any organization except that of my own; I believe in myself. Only recently did I realize how mentally excruciating my first year and half in Amsterdam actually was: I was alone, with very few resources, navigating my way through a world constructed around a language that I did not fully understand, speak, read, or write–all of which are aspects of my life that are no longer true. Yet when they were, it often felt as if the world was on my shoulders, while I attempted to swim within its oceans while simultaneously carrying it. That's all over now; I've swam within the deepest of internal oceans–which contain my darkest of emotions–and have somehow retained my ability to stay bobbing on top of their surfaces while concurrently peering though goggles into their depths below. Such vast oceans will always exist within me. And I'm happy that I know that they they're there, and what, exactly, is under their kaleidoscopic and transparent façades. Knowing the capacity of my emotions is invaluable to me, as to feel is to live, and to experience is to know. At this moment in my life, I'm combining what I've previously felt with the knowledge that I've so far gained, in order to transform myself.