Exactly a year ago today I left Byron. I watched my last sunset on Wategoes with a heart full of denial that I was leaving this place. The burning colors swiftly were drifting away, taking pieces of me with it. The indigo sky welcomed thousands of tiny, bright sparks. I never felt so humbled as I did on those nights in Byron. I walked home alone from the drinks and dancing, watching the drum circles, grabbing a mango gelato and strolling the sand solo. These nights were lonely, they were awakening, they always ended leaving me awestruck as I remembered to spend a few moments looking up at the sky as the street lamps of Jonson street were out of view and the darkness of Bangalow Road encompassed me. The purple hazy Milky Way was always visible, the breeze was intoxicating, the ocean waves so close you thought they were just outside your window on high tide.
As you can feel, I am in love with this small gorgeous beach town. Anyone would fall infatuated with its beauty, its soul fueling offerings, its abundant wild nature and attitude. But those lonely star shining nights were the fuel to my fire, my realization that heartbreak can be good - and that I was ready to begin to heal.
I ran away from all of my problems in Milwaukee to the best place on earth, in my book - Byron Bay, Australia. My partner and I just couldn't sort our relationship out. The first year was heaven on earth when we were together. Time full of fun, laughter, conversations full of depth and getting to know one another. Travel, new experiences, lessons coming to surface about our pasts, about ideas like death and creation. But we didn't find each other in the greatest of situations. Me - leaving a guy for this new, exciting, love. Him - separated for two years but still not filed for divorce. We hurt our ex-lovers. We knew what we were doing. We were conscious of the repercussions that were bound to come. We didn't care. We flew to new heights soon to fall hard... in the name of love.
I soon found myself on a doorstep of a family that I would au pair for halfway across the world. A different kind of challenge to live and work with a family of strangers that had no idea how damaged I was upon arrival. WARNING : fragile contents. The job was fantastic and horrible at the same time. I got to play with a beautiful boy all day who sometimes told me he hated me. I got to cook the most fantastic food everyday for 2 out of 4 grateful people. I got to clean the house and sing as loud as I wanted for hours. I got to garden in the tropical heat finding dead rats, crazy looking spiders and stumbling upon pineapple plants, dragonfruit trees and fallen starfruit. Like I said, heaven on earth as far as I'm concerned.
But one vital piece of me has always been missing. Him. He was as far away as you could imagine. I needed to fill this massive hole in my body. I found someone to do the trick. He was fun, he was cute, he was very, very Byron. We'd pass joints, pop caps, dance and dance and dance. Meet up for coffee in the morning and I'd shoot Polaroids on the sand while he caught waves. I dreamed of this life but with someone else. Always wishing there's someplace or someone else. When will I find the 'enough'?
There was a voice telling me to cut the shit. Actually, it was my bank account and my voice of reason. It was obvious I could no longer afford to pay to party on the crazy ass expensive prices of Oz. This voice of reason begged, please find a healthy substitute for filling your void with men, sex, drugs and attention. I found the library. I found my body for the first time in a long time. This began my recovery road - totally on accident.
My eating disorder has been my way of life. My best friend until I met him. He showed me so much light, so much love. How can someone love me so deeply when I haven't ever felt this positively about myself? When that love and light was stripped away and my body ached with darkness but I was in the brightest, most alive and warm place on earth I couldn't possibly be depressed or feed myself shit food. So I went with it. My body craved exercise, my eyes craved the beauty of nature, my mind craved beautiful word to read, my skin the salty ocean, my heart needed to rest and be at peace, alone.
Sunrise meditation became my drinking water. Hiking miles up and down the lighthouse became my routine. Hour long workouts combined with Ashtanga Yoga became my daily ritual. Excuses to eat heathy and feed a family was what they were paying me for. The beautiful stars were aligning for my wellness to exceed any expectation I ever imagined.
But that heart. That desire for a connection and for someone to just get me. He still did. Even through those choppy pixels on Skype, he knew and I knew that love never left. We decided to give it a go long distance all to muck it up again upon return. Over and over and over.
I find sanctuary for myself and have created many versions of myself - all positive and so much space for growth. The moment I can be settled and proud of my accomplishments I run back for confirmation. I need a cookie for my good deeds. I seek attention for validation. I want someone to be proud of me. I'd love for someone to make me feel beautiful. He's done all that and more. Included in the 'more' section is a long list of what feels like stab wounds in my chest. So much stress, tears, placing my things in boxes just to be unpacked, repacked, moved and arranged.
Be Here Now. I feel sadness that I had to leave Byron. I know it's still there on the map. I know I'll be back sooner than later. I am fairly certain it's where I'll end up. But more than wishing I was there I wish I could be here now. Glancing out the window to a lack of sunrise at 7:26am in Milwaukee on a Monday, this place is less than desirable. But I've found work I truly love and find fulfilling. I have a group of people who are unnecessarily supportive of my ideas and my dreams and are actually making them come true. He's here but he's also very far away. I'll find that love that is as beautiful as Byron. But it won't be intoxicating, it will be real. It will be that person that is next to me, supportive, gorgeous, full of life and love every day. But especially on days as dreary as this. We'll be shining bright just like all those tiny dots dancing around the Australian Milky Way.