Three weeks ago I hopped on a flight to Melbourne, caught the Frankston line and landed on friend's doorstep as a surprise. Lots of good things happened, including family lunch, meeting her other half, time in the sunshine with her parents learning how they met, and getting to wander down sweet little streets and lose myself. As well as, of course, spending time with the ever-radiant and always-inspiring Sam.
I could dwell on all these things forever, but something happened while I was there. I was sitting in the backyard watching her dad potter around in the garden and then something hit me straight in the face. And no, it wasn’t an offcut of grass from the lawnmower or a fly.
It was one of those moments where everything in my life was thrown under the microscope. Getting on a plane or any other sort of form of transportation and having time alone always brings out this odd sort of Caitlin who has so much perspective and wisdom that I should probably have a few more decades under my belt, more life experience and maybe a beard reminiscent of Ben Affleck (not too scrappy or long, but with a few grey hairs in there to show you know your shit).
This bowling ball-sized weight in my stomach that had been eating away at me for weeks was nothing less than confusion. The life-long question of ‘WHO THE FUCK AM I?!’ was screaming out and I had neglected it between essays, endless references and stomping around the house out of impatience.
But as I sat in Sam’s backyard I realised that it’s okay. It’s okay to be unsure and to change. To say no, to disagree, to stand tall, to take up too much space. To be confident and proud. To laugh too loudly than is socially acceptable in a museum. It’s okay not to like everything. I don’t particularly like haircuts, having to rely on my phone or feeling out of my depth. I don't like dead grass, the smell of old books, or kissing relatives over the age of seven on the lips. It’s all okay.
What I do love is packing my life in a backpack, sharp pencils and soul-cleansing friends. I love trees, seas, water and views from summits. I love enthusiastic people, happy dances, handwritten letters and patience (even if I have none). I love dungarees, braids, and kind words. This is okay, too.
There’s no moral to this story. But that’s okay. (Was that the moral?)