14.4.2019...and it's been five months since she arrived in Dublin??
Wow, how about that radio silence? It seems I’m quite poor at keeping a schedule for posts, but don’t fret! I’m always thinking my next share on here, it’s the act of getting it written.
Anyway, yesterday was my 5 month anniversary of living in Ireland and I have held onto one mantra:
I have no time.
Claire Wineland, an advocate and activist for Cystic Fibrosis, passed away in September of 2018 at 21 years old. This past week marked her 22nd birthday. I was scrolling through social media as on does in aimlessness and came across a video that Justin Baldoni had shared in honor of Claire’s birthday. In her speech, she says:
“…what we do have control over is whether or not we are proud of our lives. That’s something we have complete say over. I am genuinely proud of my life. I am so proud to be alive. I’m not saying I don’t feel pain. I’m not saying that I don’t feel sadness and suffering and loneliness because that’s what it means to be a human being. But I’m saying that that sadness and that suffering and that loneliness is beautiful.
We live in a society that benefits off of us continuously looking for happiness and dreams and goals out here. Right? If we say, ‘No, we are not going to go looking out there for a happiness. We are alive and that is all we need,’ we are beating the system and we are living lives we’re proud of! We’re living lives that make us happy.
You have to look at all of it. All of the pain, all of the loneliness, all of the beauty, all of the friendship and the family, and the sickness, and the heath and you have to lay it all in front of you and you have to say, “Ok, this is what I have. It’s all wonderful, and what can I make with it?””
Claire was and remains an inspiration and a grounding to many, myself included. Seeing Claire’s video galvanized me to reflect on the time I’ve spent in Ireland so far. I chose to move here because it was something I knew I’d regret not doing. I thought something would be clarified and that I would have a clearer understanding of myself and my future. After all, how many stories and narratives tell us that moving away will be the end all to any confusion or misplaced energy in our lives? (cough cough I’m looking at YOU, Mamma Mia and Under The Tuscan Sun). Truthfully, I am still a person who has no clear understanding of where they want to be going other than elsewhere. That’s what brought me to Dublin, right?
I can assure you, reader, that I am happy and content despite moments of debilitating anxiety, stress, loneliness, sadness, and sometimes apathy. As Claire elaborates, being human does not belittle one group of emotions at the sake of the other, but magnifies their importance as a whole. I am very proud of where I am and what I’ve accomplished in the last five months. I still find myself gazing with love drunk eyes at streets marred with litter and uneven pavement. And still, something is missing.
My first temporary work position here was at a medical school located inside a hospital. To backtrack, I’ve been focusing on temporary work since my visa allows me maximum a year to live/work here. So my first temp job is inside a room full of medical and surgical tutors, some my age, some older. Knowing I would not be there long given the nature of my data input task, I never tried to connect with anyone. We were in the same proximity every day, albeit doing different things, and I had decided that making connections would be fruitless. After another contract recently concluded, I found myself back at Beaumont working in a similar department still engaging with the tutors. Had I known before that I’d have the opportunity to return to my first position, I would have approached relationship building much differently.
Which loops me back to my somewhat dramatic mantra above. On first glance and utterance, I have no time sounds quite dismal. I have no time to make friends. I have no time to read that book I impulsively bought.
But consider approaching it with an air of assumption. ASSUME I have no time. Assume I have only this chance to chat with that cute tutor with gorgeous handwriting. Assume I have only this poetry reading to perform at. Assume I have this opportunity once. Because it’s true.
I love sporting the phrase, “to assume makes an ass out of you and me,” but in this case, I assume on behalf of myself and therefore can only make an ass of me. I see assumptions a bit differently than I do expectations. I’m not expecting there to be an outcome from theres interactions, or if I am I’ll most likely be disappointed (I admit to sometimes maintaining unreachable standards). Instead, I am opening that door to probability, to serendipity even. I’ve gladly lived most of my time in Ireland like this. I’ve hunkered down on doing the things I want and strive to do, ranging from art to friendship to living situation. It’s been a whirlwind and if living in this country has taught me anything at all, it’s that leaning into lack is where growth best occurs. And in my case, it’s the lack of time.
We get comfortable easily. I know I often choose the easier route to maintain that sense of comfort. But that’s not where things happen. Things happen when I arrive back in Dublin from Cork and I go to a social because I need to make some friends, many of whom I’m still close with. Things happen when I go to a meet up for writers in their twenties and I make connections and friendships over writing. Things happen when I go alone to a songwriting event and perform a song off the cuff and I get invited to an open mic.
Comfort and routine are glorious things to hold onto. They can also impede us. I find my lack of time a huge blessing because I want to make the most out of my experience here. And I hope I keep this mindset. I don’t want to leave Ireland and revert back to a person who didn’t take as many chances and regretted it.
I want to continuing being proud of the life I live.
Enthusiastically as always,