I left the UK with a need to make peace with myself and my history tucked neatly under my desire to help others.
I knew I had more to learn than I had to teach but what I have realised is the clichéd classic, what I was searching for I already had.
I wanted to find a way to feel my happiness again, to be able to listen to my Truth more clearly. I wanted to leave my demons behind, and as Toni Morrison so eloquently put it "If you wanna fly, you've got to give up the shit that's weighing you down.".
In grasping so hard for my rope out of here, it's finally dawned on me that I've been chasing happiness with a kind of hunger. It has not been attainable because I have been viewing it as separate from myself. By externalising happiness I've manage to create an eternal treasure hunt that mirages a new pot of gold on the horizon for every hopeful new rainbow I try to colour in.
As long as I think of myself as having all the ingredients to be happy but that happiness itself is something to be attained, as opposed to something I already possess, there can be no combination of these ingredients that will satisfy the hunger, however enticing the meal may look.
Which has lead me to question what I consider happiness to be. I know I am prone to be dazzled by rapture, but I am wise enough to know that this is not what true happiness tastes like.
If I ask myself, deeply, when all the details are stripped away, what matters to me, what is my assessment of whether I have lived a good life, it's the question "Did I love well?". Not whether I have been a successful business woman, an honourable friend, a reliable sister, whether I looked after my Mum well enough, whether I will be strong enough when the day comes when I am no longer allowed my Dad's counsel, whether I will ever be able to stand in my own beauty with enough comfortable and confidence for someone to desire to call me their girlfriend, their partner, their wife, whether I can let go of my fundamental darkness enough to live life to it's full capacity for my daughter and I, even when she chose not to, whether I have managed to fulfil the things on my endless task list I write for myself every day... These places along the road I've been looking for my answers, they are scenery and characters along the journey but they are not the main plot.
The core narrative to my story has to be "Did I love well?". More than that. Do I love well? To the man who irritates me on the bus, to the person I perceive as just having been rude, to the women I see slandering their sisters, to the men I have experienced being violent, do I allow these things to harden my shell? To create a crust around the beauty I know I have to offer? Out of self protection, irritation or just because sometimes it feels easier to hurt than to heal. Do I allow there to be less of what I know my true core to be because others are not fitting my ideas of how people should behave? Or do I use these things to teach me more about what I want my essence to contain and how I want it to light up the places I tread?
So this journey has not been about discovering anything, it's been about remembering what I already know. That if happiness is loving well, then I already am. Happiness is not something to pursue, it's something to be, to listen to and to act upon.
I've finally found within myself the wisdom, courage and compassion to acknowledge that I see the beauty in the tiniest of moments and I have a love of life and it's rawness and it's intricacies and it's take-my-breath-away wonder every single day. And that's what love is. And I am finally willing to admit I'm damn good at it. I hope this is the only definition of happiness I'll ever need.
I think it's time to come home.