There's a strange feeling I get when riding on a bus in another country

So, I should be working on my paper for my Scottish Lit class, but naturally, I decided writing a blog was more important…or I’m procrastinating. Or maybe a little of both.

I was sitting on the bus to Inverness on Friday, and I ended up writing nearly 20 pages in my journal. This was partially because I hadn’t written in my journal in three days, and three days here is like a month in “real life.” (I keep referring to life in Atlanta as “real life.” Example: “Oh, I wouldn't do this in real life!”) These study abroad programs are like a month-long dream. Filled with writing and art and celebrating and connecting and seeing and experiencing and living. Ideally, every day should be like that, I think, and I feel like maybe at one point it was for me. I feel like in the months before I came here, though, it definitely wasn’t. I felt lonely and depressed. I wasn’t inspired to create nearly as much as I normally am. My freelance work slowed down so much so that I had to break my lease and move out of my apartment. There were a lot of “I need to get it together” moments. It was a lot of feeling like a loser, sitting on the couch, eating Cheetos. (Okay, I never literally ate Cheetos, but you get the idea.)

Coming to Scotland for this study abroad writing workshop was the absolute best thing I could have done. I feel completely refreshed as a writer and as a person in general. I feel more like myself now. I laugh and have inside jokes. I take risks. I’m more positive, more open. I’m more accepting of myself. Yes, I write sad songs, and they make me feel happy. And some people aren’t into that, and that’s really okay. Because Morrissey writes sad songs and some people hate Morrissey. But then there are people like me who have Morrissey tattoos and see the beauty in his songs. And they aren’t even sad songs to me. They’re love songs. And really, all of my songs and plays and poems are just love songs at heart. It may be unrequited love or “I want to stab myself in the face” love, but it’s love nonetheless.

So getting back to the bus ride to Inverness. It was nice to have a little time to reflect and process everything that has happened so far on this trip, which was mostly what I was doing in my journal. There is a strange feeling that I get when I’m riding on a bus in another country. (Alright, this has only happened in one other country—Mexico—but still.) I look out at the passing fields and mountains and sheep and rivers and lakes (or lochs!) and every place is unique, and yet, it’s all the same. It’s all underneath the same sky, the same sun and moon and stars. It reminds me of how we’re all connected. Everyone is simultaneously isolated and connected—like in “The Waste Land”—and it’s beautiful.

I truly believe that every person who ends up in your life—whether it’s for decades or an hour—is there to teach you something in one way or another. And vice versa. We’re all carrying around pieces to everyone else’s puzzles. I feel like coming to Scotland and interacting with all of these amazing writers from many different places has reminded me of that. I’ve really been inspired by people here, even if they don’t know about it.

I think the main thing I need to try to do is keep all of this positive energy and openness and take it back with me to Georgia. I’m getting my MFA in December, and then I have absolutely no idea where life will bring me. I’ve been thinking about moving—I was toying with the idea of going to Nashville, TN or Asheville, SC or New Orleans or somewhere else…I have been thinking about teaching English overseas…who knows? It will depend on what opportunities come my way. But instead of being scarred or worried that I “don’t know what I’m doing with my life,” I’m now able to see it differently. It’s not that I don’t know where I’m going, it’s just that I am open to many different possibilities. Anything could happen, and that’s exciting.

1 comment

  • booradley
    Great reflections

    Great reflections

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