Arrivederci

There is something about this season that needs to get written down. It feels strange, like both an ending and a beginning, like I’m right on the cusp of a chapter getting turned. Half of me is desperate, hanging on to each moment, hungry for every second to be savored. The other half is a bit more pragmatic, ushering the emotional side to let go, let go, we can’t get them back but that’s okay — let’s go.

I am writing this a month early but the contracts have already been signed and the deposit has already been paid. After 28 years I am finally moving out. I am doing the opposite of those who fly to live out the American Dream. Because the truth is that I am not in pursuit of greener pastures. What I am actually doing is treading slowly into darker waters.

When my mother was still pregnant with me the doctors said that I was expected to come out on the last week of August. My dad thought this was excellent. He prayed that I would arrive on the 28th so that him and I could share a birthday. But August came and went and I remained, stubbornly, in the womb. My grandparents got so tired of waiting for me to arrive that they took a  short trip to Singapore. When they returned, I was still there, a fetus staunchly protesting to move into the real world. But on the 7th of September, it happened. I was pushed out the way we all were: kicking, screaming and crying, so royally pissed to be evicted from the quiet safety of my first home.

This is something like that.

It is comfortable to stay. As Filipino culture would have it, I’m allowed to. Nobody would hold it against me. Nobody would think of me as less of an adult. But I’m doing it anyway. When I bring up the story with others they are often quite surprised. The big question is always the same: what made you decide to move out?

I have searched within myself, trying to figure that out. And the answer I seem to keep landing on is a tad bit dramatic yet a hundred percent true.

I need to suffer a little bit.

I need to struggle with my freedom. I need to do it the hard way. I need to learn to stand on my own, without the safety net of my parents. I need sacrifice to evolve into something much bigger than a concept.

I need to grow up.

I’m afraid that if I don’t, I will always run from the potentiality of pain. I might always wait for somebody to save me, might always leave the heavy lifting to someone else.

I want to develop grit and courage, the fire of a girl who knows that the pressures of this world are two essential things: real and, most of all, survivable. I want to live, really live, in the tension of risk and gain. I am not kicking, screaming and crying; I am far from ready.

But the newness of the next chapter is an exciting invitation and my pragmatism is the beat I follow till I get there:  let go, let go, the world’s changing real quick but that’s okay, you can do it — let’s go.

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