So I heard you lost yourself

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I have been tired. A kind of tired that I cannot associate with a place, or a people. It stems from the watch that doesn’t work on my left arm; the wind that appears to blow so confidently this time of year.

I have spent days laughing at the way my caramel hair flies over my cheeks. This southerly has totally enveloped my body; I no longer shiver. In the cool of June, I find my arms spreading wider. I’m insanely happy. And yet, I am not exactly sure where I am.

Days like these, I really should see. I should move the strands from covering my eyes. But instead, I have become apt only in pursuing my heart. I have learnt how strong this impulse is; my life is a playing field for romanticising the concept.

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Someone told me to breathe. My first instinct, of course, was to respond that I do. But take yourself out of a city, out of home, out of a job and into a new one. You will realise you have not breathed in the same manner you once did – in the comfort of your own bed, or under the roof of your family name.

Last July, I paused in the streets of Rome. Here I was aware of the speed of time; I feared the temporary nature of this foreign place. So I stopped, and I breathed in the smooth accents. I took a hand to the rough buildings, to the proscuitto and the pancetta.

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Here in this small café in Wellington, I do the same. In fact, I offer you a headphone. I’m listening to my favourite band, The Paper Kites. They sing a sweet tune called A Silent Cause. It has this gentle flow that reminds me of quiet, unknowing streams; of long roads, and of overcast clouds against green fields.

I’ve been served an Americano by the friendly owner of Milk Crate, and I’m starting to write. I’ve been meaning to, but I’m not writing for this reason alone. I am writing because when the sun does hit this wooden bench, and my thoughts pull like string at my fingers, my mind is finally exceeding the pace of my actions. I’m in my own head, and it feels peaceful here.

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A girl has taken a seat on the other side of the communal table I sit. She’s been walking. She’s noticed the sun pulling her hand behind her, and stopped to scrunch a smile it’s way. Another older man has paused to gaze at the golden beam. We are simple humans. Easily satisfied.

I am uncertain of what otherwise characterises their days, but from this moment, I like who they are – the man and the girl. Perhaps we are similar, perhaps only similar-minded. I am not desperate to find out. In my idealisations of people, I often find inspiration to better myself.

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From across the table, I wonder if we’d tell similar stories. If, given a selection to choose from, I would claim the ones currently labelled mine. For a second, I consider the stories others would hope, even expect, that I tell. Eventually, I ignore this idea altogether.

To everyone, but even more so, to myself: I am growing! And while harsh people have granted themselves the ability to judge anyway, I do account this transition stage. I’ve decided it’s more important to live up to an opinion of myself than others’ opinion of me while doing so.

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If I get caught up in this whirlwind, it’s okay. As written as this is in my future, so too is my continued passion for life. In fact, this is perhaps all that’s truly mapped out. If and whereby the ink becomes faded elsewhere, I’m truly not bothered.

Reality is, no one ever went to Rome, and did as the Romans straight away. We are humans; we are designed to react to change. However, this is not to say we always know how. To counter such a fact, it’s important we trust ourselves. We should slow down, but only ever to remind ourselves of what has and continues to drive us.

I’ll argue that walking through this city is never the same as being lost.

McKenzie xx

Location of images: Rome, Italy / Vatican City.

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