The way the light comes through the windows in my living room is really beautiful, especially in the afternoon. The sun brightens the light green colours of the couches and creates light and dark designs on the floor where the bars on the windows block its path. When you look outside the view will take your breath away: Lush, green trees line the horizon with mountains and volcanoes quietly standing guard in the background. The sun is bright and alive and the world seems to shimmer in an effervescent summer heat.
But sometimes the way the light comes through the windows in my living room is too much, especially in the afternoon. Some days my anxiety rears it’s head or I have a mild depressive droop and things don’t look the same. Or, they look the same but my perception has changed. And that’s okay.
For a while I’ve had this idea of what my time here should be like; these expectations I imagined others had of me. These imaginary benchmarks of change: adjustment, settling in, finding my way around, and finally, fully embracing the culture. I should overcome all these obstacles so I could finally start living my life here. Start experiencing joy and peace and whatever that feeling is when you feel like you’re at home.
To my disappointment, as I checked off each benchmark (moving into my house, check, putting up pictures on the fridge, check, being able to get a moto anywhere, check, begin learning Kinyarwanda, check), not much changed. That’s not how it works.
Some days I feel like I’ll always be shedding these skins, these expectations I carry around that don’t really exist. But each time I lay one skin down and feel the wind on this new body, each time I take a deep breath into a new freedom, each time I open my eyes to a new perception, a kinder perception, each time I do this I feel that much closer to Myself. To this heart of mine.
There’s no such thing as the “right way” to live your life or a way you “should” be going about it. And that can suck. It’d be much easier if there was a list, a nice line of boxes you could neatly check off at the end of each day. But there isn’t. There’s just you and me. Each of us shedding skins and falling down and learning to love better. We see the sunlight through the windows and sometimes it’s beautiful and some days it’s just too much. And that’s okay.
In this new skin, free from benchmarks and disappointments, I feel big and wide. The open expanse of uncertainty is both terrifying and a relief. Down the road I will shed this too, but for now, it is enough. In this moment, I am enough.