Friday, June 26, 2015

Break into blossom

I leave for France at the end of August and lately, I have been so hesitant to leave my family.

I spent the weekend with my mom and after hours of laughing, talking, and bonding, I thought about how not being able to get in my car and see her will be terribly difficult. I will not have my sister down the hallway. I will not have my close friends in classes. I will be leaving communication to things like Skype and Facetime. (and if you know me, you know how much I dislike this form of communication.)

It is more than just leaving my family and friends though. I could say that, but it really has to do with fear and physically stepping away from my comfort zone. Stepping away from a home I know, with streets I recognize, with friends that speak the language. I am safe here because I feel like my knowledge of my surroundings and day to day life keeps me in some weird way, invincible to harm.

I think feeling comfortable and safe is wonderful and necessary. But safety shouldn't mean that you give up looking beyond your own fence. Or traveling to places you've always thought about, meeting people of different cultures. Safety should be home. And home should be something you carry within yourself.

I have been nervous lately about stepping away from what I know and diving in to the deep end of something I know very, very little about. I don't speak French. I have never been to Europe. I have never lived alone.

I was thinking all these thoughts while sitting on my bed, organizing photos. How much I will miss making the memories frozen in 4x6's like Mom's smile and Lizzie's hugs. I'll miss the comfort of routine and the luxury of knowing what is right around the corner.

I looked up at my wall, and spotted a quote I framed from James Wright's poem, A Blessing: "Suddenly I realize/That if I stepped out of my body I would break/Into blossom."

I have had this quote framed for nine months. I haven't thought much about why I put it on my wall, besides that I thought it was pretty.

In the beginning of the poem, Wright talks about how he is traveling with a friend on a highway in Minnesota, when he spots two free-roaming Indian ponies and steps off the path and over barbed wire to greet them.

One horse with a darkness in her eyes walks over to Wright. He feels how delicate she is, noticing her beauty, and how lonely the two horses are in the field no one has ever gone to.

Life is full of things we can't prepare for. Some breathtakingly beautiful, and some really, really challenging. I think the whole point is to allow ourselves to not have to feel prepared, but feel the possibilities that only come from taking chances.

To step off paved highways, and over barbed wire, and become one with things we have labeled wild or unsafe.

I have no idea what my life will be like abroad. I don't know what the ground will look like when I land or what I will see outside the window of my temporary home.

But I will go anyway. Everything good in my life has not been planned or mapped or set in front of me. It has been within me. A deep, uncontrollable longing to do and see the things I know will eventually guide me.

 Breaking away isn't rebelling, it is a sort of freedom that grants me the right to be the girl who isn't defined by fear.

I say the words to myself slowly now, tracing the words I had framed, ""Suddenly I realize/That if I stepped out of my body I would break/Into blossom."


  1. It is scary, isn't it? It's so hard leaving home and everything you know and are comfortable with, but you'll be amazing and you'll be amazing for it. Rooting for you! xx

    1. Thank you Sarah! I needed to hear that. Hope you have a beautiful week. xx

  2. Katie, I read this hours ago and had to go think about this. Thnkk you for going to France and for this post. I am 100% chicken to travel anywhere outside of the United States. Granted, I have been traveling alone since I was a kid (hop on a bus-go spend the summer with my grandparents, etc) but I have been scared of the language barriers and all of the things you mentioned. I am not afraid to leave my family so much (but I do live within walking distance of their homes).
    Thank you for the beautiful blossom quote. I am not so sure I will ever travel where I cannot speak their language- but I may step out of my shell more and BLOSSOM. Have a beautiful trip.

    1. I think having an awareness of what scares us is what brings us closer to being fearless. You are clearly strong, capable, and on your way. Thank you for all your kind words. I wish you the best with absolutely everything! You will blossom wherever you go.

  3. How beautiful is that quote and the meaning behind it? You are definitely taking such a brave step out into the unknown, but you will benefit endlessly from this journey. It will be so incredible! That's not to say that it won't be extremely hard; you will be homesick, you will question why you've done it, but never give up. Don't give in to the fear, the homesickness, the questioning. You will make it through and it will be one of the most incredible experiences of your life!

    1. Emily- thank you, thank you, thank you! I am going to save those words. Through everything, we all have to remember that we are strong, brave, and worth doing whatever it is we choose to do. Have a great week!


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