Several weeks ago, fortune found us hours away from Carnival in Barranquilla – site of the second largest Carnival in the world. Only Rio tops it.
After being in Colombia for 30-days, I can still recall the scene of my room the night before I left:
Prioritization piles, meticulously stacked and organized, next to my backpack. One, non-negotiables: headlamp, knife, travel adapter. Another, required clothing: hiking pants, several pairs of Darn Tough socks, rain jacket. Another, if I have space: an extra pair of yoga pants, denim shorts, denim jacket.
In the zona de cosmetica, where things like sunscreen, toothpaste, and insect repellent lived, so too, did my make-up bag. As wearing make-up had been a part of my daily routine for fifteen years, it was just as implicit as my passport.
Its been just under a week since my soles touched down on Colombian soil.
On December 22 of last year, my father picked me up from Ft. Lauderdale airport, the beginning of a visit home for the holidays. It had been nearly a year since we had seen one another, just enough time for me to forget how bright his eyes became when he saw me, how supportive he was when I spiraled enthusiastically down the corkscrew of my newest idea, and how erratic and stubborn of a highway driver he had become.
You are allowed to search the darkness.
You are allowed to not always see the light. You are allowed to feel dim.
You are allowed to let yourself down. You are allowed to not show up for yourself.
You are allowed to admit that you were wrong and that you do not know the right answer. You are allowed to question everything, including yourself; including the mismatched pieces of yourself that never seem to add-up to a whole
You are allowed to have misplaced motivations and to make the wrong choices.
You are allowed to be self-conscious and compare yourself to someone else and ask “what if?” and “why not?”
You are allowed to feel hollow. You are allowed to feel empty and not know what to do to fill yourself up – because you don’t even know what it feels like to be full.
You are allowed to feel vulnerable. To feel guilty. To feel misunderstood. To feel like you are a burden.
You are allowed to feel lonely, alone.
You are allowed to feel left out, to feel like an anomaly even when surrounded by the people who are dearest to you, closest to you. You are allowed to feel like you do not fit. Like you do not fit in.
You are allowed to feel broken. You are allowed to feel defeated. You are allowed to feel weak and to want to give-up.
But you won’t give-up.
Even though you know that the darkness will never leave, you will not give-up.
Because your search through darkness is the first step to shifting your own shadow.
Your search through darkness is the only way to shine light onto your enemies: what you fear. what you run from. what you hide from. what breaks you down.
It is the only way to illuminate your path and to guide each step.
You are allowed to search the darkness, as long as you promise to find the light, too.
“Life’s waters flow from darkness. Search the darkness, don’t run from it.
Night travelers are full of light, and you are too: don’t leave this companionship…
The moon appears for night travelers, be watchful when the moon is full.”