Last week I wandered Tokyo and the World Heritage temples of Nikko. Today I am in Berlin, and next week I’ll be in Vienna. In some months I’ll be staying in Alaska after drinking coffee in Paris, rafting the Grand Canyon, and exploring the national parks of California. I started wildcreativeme as an outlet for sharing my writing and photography while traveling these places, but I find myself drawn to start at home. My heart still lingers in a recent memory of visiting my parents before I left New Zealand.
I didn’t go back to the farm to learn about myself. I went back because I was leaving New Zealand and I wanted to spend time on the land I grew up on and with my parents before I left. The truth is, I have had a difficult relationship with this land for some years now. I recognise that the light sparkles, that the trees sway and the green of the grass deepens in spring and winter. That the autumn colours dance through the sky, enchanting viewers below. I hear the way the streams bubble and sing, the birds fill the air with ringing harmonics, and the leaves rustle. I know too how the sun casts long shadows interspersed with golden ribbons in the late evening, and the sky turns pink on the hills. But despite this, I have been waiting for my parents to just sell the farm so that we can ‘move on’. Why? I resent feeling this way and I ask myself why? regularly, but trying to understand the answer is a story for another post. This is about what I didn’t expect to learn when I went home.
Cleaning out storage in the woolshed, dad threw a lumpy black plastic rubbish bag at me and said here, can you see what’s in here and if we can get rid of it. I opened it up and clothes spilled out. Clothes? My clothes… the realisation was slow and cautious. Clothes of a child, clothes of a teenager, clothes I must have considered too important to throw out, and as I held each piece of clothing, I was filled with something familiar but forgotten. I have been strongly focused in recent years on understanding and combating my self-limiting beliefs and unstable confidence, and I realised then that in doing so, I had lost all recognition of the memories in which my self esteem sparkled.
This is why I am writing again, why I just left my office job. Why you are reading this post. As I held each piece of clothing I understood something about the girl that used to treasure them. I remembered the other feelings of my childhood and adolescence. The carefree wonder of a little girl running barefoot and messy haired through the rolling hills of rural New Zealand. The intrigue of a young teenager finding her voice through writing, dreaming her way through adolescence and discovering the world beyond high school. I was so much more than the experiences that have shaped the limiting aspects of myself in my adult life. I was curious, I was excited, I was quietly but passionately optimistic, I was wild, I was creative, and I still am… I just lost communication with my truest strengths and desires along the way.
This is the story of how I am gaining that back, how I am rediscovering my wild creative self. She lives in the rustling leaves, the glittering dew drops, the bubbling streams. She calls to me from peaceful mornings, chaotic human jungles, sun soaked fields. I am sure I’ll find her in the dance of the raft through the rapids, the wild of Alaska, the faces of the people I pass by. She’s just there reaching out, waiting for me to recognise her, to take her hand and trust her again.