by Rhiannon C Hall 13- July 2017
Sometimes we have to be brave. Sometimes we have to put ourselves so far outside of our comfort zone that it doesn’t even make sense. Sometimes we have to risk getting knocked on our ass, punched in the face, or even getting our heart broken by the very dreams that fueled its beating for so long. We may call it horrible or amazing. We may even call it both.
And it will hurt. And we will cry. And we will grow. Why? Because if we don’t, nothing will ever happen for us.
I’ve spent over 2 full weeks in London now and I don’t think I’ve felt brave very much of this trip. I’ve felt stupid, scared, lost, tired, sick, poor, and pitiful quite a bit of the time. I’ve also been blown away by the beauty and the history. I’ve been flattered by attention and overwhelmed by crowds and comforted by friendships. I’ve felt a lot of things that come with new territory in life, but it wasn’t until a few minutes ago when a friend said she was trying to be brave like me that it hit me… I’ve felt stupid, scared, lost, and all those other things because I was brave enough to try something new. I was brave enough to get on a plane with too much luggage and not enough money and an unplanned plan and hope that something beautiful would come from this trip, that I would find the pieces of my soul that have been trying to surface for a long time.
Parts of London have been amazing, but parts of it have broken my heart. It can seem so ruined and reconstructed and ignored. I found myself wishing it were a little less scarred by change and the lives that have hurt it over the centuries. Some have even hurt it by the very nature of surviving here. And yet, in our ruins, we are proved alive. In our scars, we prove the staying power to hold our ground and keep breathing, to shake our weary fist in the face of whatever tries to destroy us and say, “Sure, you took a pound of flesh and brick, but I live on.”
I walked past a sandstone engine block at the Royal Arsenal Riverside with a danger sign posted. I looked at this pieces of the past, this beautiful ruin, and I wondered if, perhaps, that is part of the point of living… To be ruined. Only when we are ruined can we be restored. And somewhere in that restoration lies so much beauty and value and love. Can there be redemption if there isn’t loss first? Can there be healing if we aren’t a bit broken? Can we have true beauty if we haven’t been burned to ash? Maybe some will see us and post their own mental “Danger” sign, but others will see the beauty of our lives well lived, or at least, lived.
So tonight, as I walked by the River Thames, so fully aware of the trash by the park bench and the grime on the barges and the aching changes of all the inevitable construction in every direction… I saw myself reflected back. I saw my scars and my fears and my less than sparkling aspects and I saw all of the “under construction” of my own life, not static and rotting, but fighting to grow and thrive. Bravely breathing and putting ourselves out there a little further, trying to be the best beauty that we can be, the truths of ourselves that dance forth from our depths as we remain inhabited by all of the variety of dreams and hopes and tears that we each hold, this city and I.
The tears may flow like a muddy river, yet the sun shines on us both and our textured ripples shimmer in its rays. Sometimes it spotlights our scars, sometimes it casts shadows over them. Our lives blossom forth, sometimes wild, sometimes cultivated. We have been knocked on our asses. We have been punched in our faces. We have had our hearts broken by some of the very dreams that fueled their beating. But, neither London nor I can say that nothing ever happened for us. Because we are brave enough to put ourselves out there and live and we have the ruins and the restoration to show for it…