"Fight for the rebuild", a friend told me a while ago.
"You've got to fight for the life you want," she said. "It's worth every ounce of struggle."
Back then, I had no idea what that rebuild would look like. Six months ago today, I boarded a plane at LAX and landed in London tired to the bone but wide-eyed and weirdly excited about starting over, about building something back up from scratch.
I didn’t know what the life I wanted looked like, which made the whole affair harder than it maybe needed to be, but.
I’d just discovered what I didn’t want it to look like, and that had to count for something, right?
It was raining because of course it was, and as the plane touched down the speaker system started playing Carolina and I laughed into my pillow because I really don't like Carolina one bit but it still means something, you know.
Six months on, I think I'm starting to realize what it meant.
On my last night in Milan, the night before I moved to London, I walked around the empty (and rainy! what an omen!) streets of the old city center listening to Sweet Disposition and wondering what the future would bring -wondering if I was making the right choice, how long it would take before I crashed and burned.
It meant a lot to me in 2013, that song.
I loved the promise of it, the sheer possibility of it.
I’m only half kidding when I say I moved to London for the way Sweet Disposition made me feel, walking up Primrose Hill one morning and thinking well, isn't this nice.
(Mom, do you like the Alanis reference? I do.)
I might have crashed and burned, but I sure as hell haven’t forgotten that.
Another friend said to me the other day, “Every day of your life since 2012 has been leading up to this moment.”
I’ve been thinking about that a lot, and she isn’t wrong. I have no way of knowing what else it’s leading up to, what else this rebuilt of mine might bring. But I know this: I have built something.
I’ve worked tirelessly at it, day and night at it, cried all my tears for it and waited patiently for it in a way that was so un-typically myself it shocked me with every moment passing.
Still I built it.
It’s small and fragile and sometimes struggles to stay upright. It breathes funny and walks slowly and I get so scared it will not survive, I am terrified I will wake up one day and it will be gone, built from scratch and gone in a single night.
Runaway renegade, just like its architect.
I am scared it will do to me what I've always done to those of its kind, killed them off before they could grow legs good enough to stand a single chance. I'm scared to meet the person I'll have become next time I set foot in Los Angeles. I wonder if I'll recognize her, if I'll even like her.
I'm scared I'll go back on my words, I'm scared of long summer nights and faint promises and my friends getting tired of me pulling the same tricks, of the pictures losing their meaning and words I've marked in pencil on the books on my nightstand turning sour as I chew on them like I have any right to.
Still, I built it.
It’s small and fragile and sometimes struggles to stay upright.
It breathes funny and walks slowly and I get so scared it will not survive, but it's alive for now.
It's trying its best now.
And the promise of it. Oh, the sheer possibility of it.
Happy six months back from LA to me.
And happy birthday to Sign Of The Times, because some coincidences are too good to be overlooked.
I think I'm starting to realize what that means, too.