wales, UK

I actually wrote this post out two months ago and it's not that I've been lazy in finishing it, but it just turned out longer and more vulnerable than expected. (i hate being vulnerable i hate being vulnerable) so I almost decided to never share it. But here it is, full of vulnerability and lots of photos of Wales. Also: I totally give you permission to skip over the long text and just look at how pretty Wales is. But if you can make the time to read it, you should. 

I'll be honest -- I’m skeptical of things. Mostly people. I'm terrified of losing people and terrified of getting close to people. 

All my life, I’ve learned to start over. I’ve learned to be adaptable. To be flexible, laid-back, go with the flow. I’m good at that and thankful I am — those things are all good qualities to have. I’ve learned these things from moving 13 times (I’ve lived/stayed in 9 different countries, peeps) and I’m probably forgetting a couple. 13 times I had to start over . . . with friends, relationships, languages and homes. It’s made me an interesting human being.

It’s also made me scared. I’m scared to get attached to a home, because I’m so used to packing up and leaving. I don’t want that overwhelming feeling of empty sadness while looking at a once loved and lived-in home. I’m scared to make deep friendships — sure, tons of casual acquaintances are great — because if I don’t move, someone else is bound to. I’m scared to be in a relationship (bring on all the first dates, but commitment? Hell no thx k bye) because love hurts and love makes you do things out of your control. And who likes being hurt or being outta control? Though somewhere, deep down, my soul craves deep friendships. It craves wanting a soulmate to walk through life with. It craves having somewhere on this planet to call home. 

When I was fourteen years old and living in Alexandria, Egypt, I swore to myself I was done holding back from attaching to things or people. I had been doing it all my life, sort of unintentionally, but I was still holding back. At that point in my life I had been bedridden with some unknown sickness and was half convinced I was going to die or be bedridden forever (tbh I was a bit of a dramatic child). I didn’t want to die not living life to the fullest and I certainly didn’t want to walk through life not truly living it. So there. I told myself to become more vulnerable with people and to allow myself to get attached to places.

It’s not that easy -- you can't really just tell yourself to be vulnerable and then it just happens. Six or seven years later, I still catch myself doing the same thing. “Kendra, you can tell him that one story but only so he thinks you’re deep and you can hide the other 27 even deeper stories.” Or “I mean, Louisville isn’t that great of a city. You’ll move somewhere else soon . . . Right? Also, Kendra!! Don’t you dare fall in love with Louisville!” Too late on that last one.

The funny thing is, as much as I want to protect myself by holding back from people or places, I’m not really protecting anything. I’m building walls and while yes, I may be keeping myself from hurt (or trying to), I’m keeping myself from joy, love, hope and companionship— all very wonderful things. All things my soul craves. 

Loving people takes work. Loving places is messy — I swear my heart is scattered among hundreds of cities, towns and mountains. Life sucks sometimes, because people let you down, people move and people die. None of this lasts forever and that’s terrifying, yes, but also thrilling. If we all just knew life went on forever and ever and ever, not sure about you . . .  but I’d be pretty damn bored.

Be vulnerable; tell the truth; allow yourself to care for someone else. Don’t be afraid to make somewhere feel like home even if you don’t know how long you’ll be able to call it home. Good grief, hang some photos on the walls (I never did this because I always felt like I’d pack my bags and leave again). Give someone a longer hug and be okay with crying. And fall in love with cities, I swear that’s okay too.

I’m learning to let myself genuinely care about people. Louisville, Kentucky is home for now . . . Even if I can think of like three other places I’d rather be at the moment, I really love Louisville. I’m learning to be vulnerable, cry hard (while being with those people I care about) and laugh a lot. I'm learning to be vulnerable and though it's terrifying, life is much fuller this way.