Original post written on November 11, 2020.
It's the moment we've all been waiting for— the one we knew was bound to happen once I stopped trying to have everything prim, proper, and planned.
Anyone who really knows me, knows I don't actually plan the 'little' everyday things, probably annoyingly so, to those around me who prefer having very detailed and concrete plans. (Hah, don't believe me? Oh just ask my best gal-pal, Lady A, about that time we traveled to Vienna and didn't have a place to stay... I was in charge of one thing and one thing only, which was to get the Airbnb).
Postscript: It all worked out, and the Airbnb host ended up confirming the stay right before we arrived to the location. Also, with my most recent trip to Colombia... let's just say you'd all be so proud with my level of before-hand organization.
What is usual for me to have planned, though, are life's BIG plans, complete with the what, the where, and the when.
However, 2020, YOU GOT ME.
2020, you officially have made me cancel, rethink and defer any 'plans' I had once worked so hard to have proudly puzzle-pieced together. I no longer have any plans, which leaves me in the most perfect place. Meaning, I'm both attached to nowhere and everywhere, as well as in, more conceptually— a perfect place of mind to go and be the nomad I've always known myself capable of being.
The moment we've all be waiting for has finally arrived; the moment #wwshn decides to jet set around the world.
So, Where Will She Handstand Next?! Well readers, that's a very fine question you ask, a very fine one indeed. Right now all I can say is that neither I, nor you, yet know the answer to that Q... only life ahead knows, and soon we'll start catching up with time and will be out of this deep drought.
2021 started STRONG. I'm out of the drought that was 2020 (lacking in adventure yet so overwhelmingly FULL of thought and healing), and have definitely started catching up to what this life has in store. In the last two weeks alone, my calendar now has boxed off (approximate) dates for: teaching in Rwanda, dancing in Colombia, and returning to London.
I've avoided writing for awhile. I don't know about you, but when I write, my most authentic thoughts and feelings present themselves in such this objectified way. I've always written in times I feel I need to express something that I cannot yet verbally, or when I need to face my own truths. These last couple of months I haven't written. I haven't journal, nor have I blogged; I gave up social media for a good chunk of time. Through this time, though, I've been super in-tuned. Wait, back up— hold the phone. I've always been super in-tuned with myself and my soul, let's just get that out there. One could use the word 'spiritual' to describe me... but anyways. Throughout this time I've been super in-tuned, yet at the same time I blocked myself off. What my heart and soul were telling me was conflicting, and I wasn't quite ready to listen nor respond to either yet.
The heart needed to stay home to heal.
It was healing, though the process was long, dark and silent; something I couldn't comprehend even for myself until afterwards when I was able to reflect
The soul wanted an adventure. It needed new stimulation while the mind and body were stuck in this monotonous, yet very complex, time. The soul was locked and heavy, and needed to be set free again to fly.
Back in quarantine— sometime in either May in June— is when I decided to come home. In late march, I had been accepted into an extremely selective Masters program for Dance Science and Medicine. At that time, I had no intentions of ever coming home; not in summer, maybe for future holidays and to visit friends and family a couple of times a year, but that's it. Then, something changed.
Lockdown in London resurfaced a lot of things, including my silly little side-love for painting flower pots and wall murals, and inspired self reflection in a way I have never given myself the time to commit to before. I don't remember having a breaking point, per say, but that's not to say that some days and weeks weren't more difficult than others.
For years, friends, family, and even my partner at one time, had described my time-after-time decision to be abroad as "running away." The first couple of years that is actually exactly how it felt. I did everything in my own power to ensure I wasn't home. Even when I was, I made myself overwhelming busy. When abroad, I was always reluctant upon returning home for holidays, among several other times and events, and pushed away some friends and family... even my own best friend. I made it clear when I was home that I didn't want to be, and that it was challenging for me to be physically there. Also, when others did come to visit me while abroad, I don't think I was as welcoming as I know my heart was as happy to have them there, and made it a point to show them that I created my own life and community there.
Looking back, I regret all of this, and can finally see now that I was only denying myself from letting love in that could have been exceedingly bright. I denied myself this love for the sole reason of stubbornly trying to prove to myself, in addition to all of those who had previously questioned my ability, to 1. become a dancing doctor, and 2. prevent me from experiencing the world because of their own insecurities. But, I failed to realize then that the people coming to visit me— their friend— were definitely not the ones I had to prove anything to, and furthermore, that the people in life who made me feel defensive... they are not worth the worry.
Quarantine reflections brought up deep childhood grudges that I didn't realize, until then, were still holding me back in subconscious ways. These grudges are ones, though, that could only be overcome through finding peace with the past situations within myself.
This is all just a little glimpse of some of the thoughts that surfaced during quarantine... ohhhh what a living helllll of a week that was!!!
I know I originally said that I knew I was running, but sometime along my journey to independence I stopped; I started walking. I turned some corners, had some realizations, and instead decided to chase... I began chasing my dreams and ambitions only for myself— not to prove anything to anyone, not even to myself. I began chasing these dreams so fast and furious because there was no other option in my eyes (actually, I chased with the heart and then the head followed).
When you see a light— when it pulls with such a heated attraction, so hot and so strong— you follow it.
This heated chase I speak of it, it was in full-fledged motion until Covid struck, slowed down the pace, and made me question some past processes. My heart pulled me home. I knew then, that in order to one day pick back up the momentum I had found, I needed to first return home to heal these deep wounds-- to at least lighten the scars-- and that I needed to stay until it finally felt like "home" again. "Home," a word that for so long I had lost my connection with.
In a few days, it will be almost exactly 5 months since I relocated back to Rhode Island after 4 years of living in New York, Paris and London; after 4 years of discovering myself, for myself.
Now in January, it blows my mind to say that I've been home for nearly 7 months already...
4 years + 5 months later, and I am so happy to finally say that home feels like home once again <3
In the last 5 months home, I've worked to rekindle some relationships. Some, I flew home knowing I had to rekindle and reimagine, like the ones with both of my parents (in different ways) as well as my lifelong bff, LC the Llama. Others came in unexpectedly hot, and morphed from something old into something new and extremely beautiful. I let some toxic ones go; cut it off; shut it downnn. I also did the work to enable myself to finally let go of those old meanie grudges that I subconsciously let affect my decisions for far too long.
Most importantly, I've finally let myself again see all of the beauty and love that Rhode Island has to offer that I once knew it to.
An Instagram post from 2018: "Home is... where there's a sea-side coffeeshop with açai bowls and cinnamon soy lattés open from sunrise to sunset, where my car is, where the Tuesday night tumbling classes happen, where ballet means a black leo & pink tights, where s p o n t a n e i t y is endlessly present, where "what do you want for dinner?" actually means "where do you want to order food from?" & ultimately where friends inspire handstands... <3 #heartsofull
Moving along swiftly...
Once, while down in Alabama representing RI as it's 2016 Distinguished Young Woman, I met a man who had found me amongst a crowd of 50 other state representatives, to tell me that, "although Rhode Island may be the smallest state, it has the biggest heart." These words are something I vowed to myself to always remember and to always hold dear.
Here in RI, it's quite a joke around here that people never leave, or at least always return. We joke because it never fails to be true...
We don't mean it in a provincial way, however, what we mean to say is that:
Here in Rhode Island, we are the lucky ones to truly experience all four seasons in a year. We have our capital, Providence, which is a small yet prestigious city, containing top Ivy League schools as well as astounding art schools. We are only a 45-minute drive (unless one foolishly decides to hit the roads @rush hour) from Boston, and a mere 3-hour drive from 'the big apple' New York City. We have some dreamy sea towns (we are, after all, considered "the ocean state"); rural farmlands; suburbs; excellent schools systems; and another mere 3-hour drive from our nation's northern bliss, for when skii season rolls around.
We truly have it all.
Rhode Island, again, is home to Providence, which is one of the few sanctuary cities we have here in the US. Craving great Italian, Spanish, Mexican, Colombian, or Portuguese cuisine (along many others)?! Well we got it here, folks!! Everyone from Rhode Island has some sort of immigrant lineage or native descent, which I find incredibly beautiful.
Quickly, on the topic of ancestry and heritage, this is why I always find it so weird, whenever abroad, I have to identify myself with being "American." Here, in Rhode Island, we identify with our lineage. For example, growing up in school or when meeting others about, it's very common to ask, "where are you from?" Sometimes, yes, this does mean, "have you always lived here in RI?" However, more commonly it means, "where does your family tree geographically root from?"
I most often identify, when asked, as Portuguese and French (mixed European), but it wasn't until living abroad that I learned what it means to identify as "American," and how I feel about it. There, I had a greater sense of responsibility for everything broadcasted from the United States. It's easy, I've found at least, when we are physically in the US to detach ourselves with anything that doesn't affect us personally, i.e. happens in another state. But while abroad, there is absolutely no separation between the time and place of events in terms of states, regions, ethnic divides, etc. Every event that happens on US soil becomes associated with the nation as a whole.
This is why I'm probably highly critical of the US-- whether the news be dear to our own New England, or stretching 2,902 miles west-- not because I don't care, but quite rather the opposite... it all hits; it all strikes the heart. At a distance, it's easier to see and to feel the impact that each event has on America as one whole, united entity of states and its outlying territories, and even greater more— the effect these events then have on the world. #rippleeffect
Wow, I just strayed so off topic. Anyways my dear readers, hey! How are you all?
Reeling us back to the blog...
Wow, it feels so good to write again. It's freeing :)
Oh! I have a Q for YOU!!
What makes you feel free??
You know I love when people share their thoughts, comments, or their responses to anything I may have said that may sparked something inside. Please please always, always, ALWAYS feel free to share absolutely anything with me!
Sometimes, I agree, it seems a little scary to share (hello vulnerability), so if you ever want to write something and send it my way... or maybe not even send it at all, but I definitely always recommend sharing #sharingiscaring. (As open as my mouth always is in sharing, my ears are always open wider). Even if it's just sharing a thought to yourself and processing it through your own writing or moving or painting... I know it sometimes feels like a big, brave thing to do, but I promise it usually always feels better and lighter after :)
Also, I don't bite. OK, guilty, I may have gone through a biting phase as a child, but I learned that lesson years ago ;)
Thank you for reading my words, and for being part of this life's journey.
Sending out loads of love and light<3
Elyssa, AKA "Clementine"
PS- OMG PLEASE share your stage names / incognito / alter-ego names with me (only if you want to)... I LOVE hearing people's names that they feel portrays themselves in another light...
All of my stories are non-fiction, as well as the people in them. However, I have given each and every one a stage name with careful thought and detail, because all of the people in my stories are just that fabulous.