Bom Dia my Lovers. I know it has been a while since I have written you, but I promise you've never been far from my thoughts or my heart. Arrival in Lisbon has meant a shift in more than one of my day to day activities – I'm ramping up at a new job, running a fitness challenge in the group (selfish motivation is my own lack of fitness these past two months), hosting friends, and basically trying to find a new balance between all of those things while still taking side trips and exploring a new city. Don't worry, I'm well aware that I owe you posts on Lisbon, Porto, the Goddess of Love's visit and, soon to come, Lagos… and probably Sintra. But I felt this post was what I needed right now, and let's be honest – it's really all about me.
After our arrival day in Split, we were subjected to a day long presentation about what to expect out of Remote Year – the good, the bad, the ugly – and despite being epically jet lagged and most every one of us hungover from our meet up the night before, we sat on edge and took in all we could. This month, I'm finding one part particularly useful, and I'm not the only one. RY's Experience Leader, Travis, a guy who has the most positive energy I've ever experienced in my life, reviewed the four stages we would go through, each on an individual and group level over a year. Of course there is the honeymoon period, where life is fun and we all love each other. After that comes a dip, where we start to settle into who we were, who we are, and where we fit. This is a tough phase for an individual, and a difficult one as a group. Ours started this month, and so many of my tramliy have been brave and outspoken about their struggles, so here I am, doing the same.
Those that know me the best know that baring my soul is my least favorite thing to do. Shit gets too real and I shut down, walk away, end the conversation, never talk about it again. Healthy, I know, but up until now my strategy has served me well enough. It helps to be surrounded by an army of people who like you, and circle of those who love you, and an even tighter knit group of those who love you unconditionally – relationships that were forged over months and years of interactions, both positive and negative. The thing about RY is, you're forced to press the reset button on all of those timelines for the people you interact with on a day to day level and you are starting fresh with 50 (give or take) people. 50 amazing people. 50 brave souls. 50 uniquely individual human beings that by the end of this year will have a bond that doesn't exist outside outside of this experience – but for now, we are struggling.
Disclaimer: in no way am I insinuating I speak for everyone in the group. For purposes of this post, I am generalizing from those who have spoken up. My usage of the word "we" is solely for simplicity of writing.
We miss home. We miss our families, our friends, the long forged bonds that facilitated the unconditional manner of support and love. Our relationships with those we left behind are changing and we are dealing with their hurt and pain along with our own. We're getting to know each other on a deeper level, figure out what we need (and don't need) from each others. We cry, we hug, we fight – and hopefully make up. We reach out when we can, shut away when we need to. Most importantly, we support each other.
I can only speak for others with what they have shared, but if I'm brave enough, I can keep typing and ultimately hit publish and let you into my personal emotional journey this month. And you can choose to keep reading, or wait for the next post, where I promise to lighten it back up and open the window back up to the fun stuff. Freedom is a powerful things my Lovers.
My month got off on to a rocky start from day one with an argument from a loved one at home that spanned the majority of a 15 hour already stressful travel day – I didn't cope with the manner in the most adult manner, behaved quite embarrassingly, and worst of all, caused a fellow Earhart pain that a sober me would never impart on anyone. The aftermath of my behavior caused a lot of anxiety, but I resolved to use the experience as motivation to grow and be a better version of me, both for myself and those around me. The fallout from the airport caused some (much deserved) setbacks in this resolve, and I was emotionally raw to some of the interactions after it, causing misinterpretations, misunderstandings, and in one case, acceptance that making amends was out of my hands. None of this boded well for my spirit, and I spent a emotionally charged morning dipping in and out of the conference rooms at the workspace crying because I didn't trust myself to be able to make it home without breaking down.
I consider myself extremely lucky that there are already several people on this group that I feel really care about me…. maybe not unconditionally yet, but they are definitely dedicated enough to recognize when I'm struggling and take the time to help me through it. I hope there are those in this group that feel that way about me, if not now, then by the end of this post, this day, week, month or year.
My most difficult struggle has been finding a way to fit into the group while still being the unapologetic me I've always been. Here are some things I know: I come in hot. I'm loud. I have a tendency to overdo a lot of things in life, including drinking. I'm a guys girl, always have been. If you don't know me, those things can be….. annoying. Intimidating. Eye roll worthy. Misconstrued. You don't know that I laugh loudly because I spent too much time not laughing enough. I'm boisterous because I spent years fitting myself into a box someone else built for me. I'm one of the boys because I was raised by a single father who knew nothing about girls: I didn't even know how to blow dry my hair until I was 17. And my excess indulgence is a product of my love of whiskey. These things make up who I am, and as I said before, I will not apologize for them, or change them to fit into a world that's clearly not meant for me. One of my favorite quotes inthe world is from Dina Von Teese: she said “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” I have to continue to accept that not everyone loves peaches. Or Pinos for that matter.
Today, I'll prepare balance sheets and do capital reconciliations through tears as an uncontrollable wave of homesickness grips me. I blame the Goddess's departure for this. Tomorrow I will embark on a journey of the west coast with Starbucks and fill my soul with the beauty of Portugal. Next week, I'll get ready to move to Asia (with a short stop in Dubai), and I'm hoping to leave behind the loneliness I've felt here, be it self-imposed or real. Over this next year, I will work to get to know each member of my tramily on a level that allows me to miss their quirks and ticks and demeanors for the rest of my life. Beyond that, I hope I can take these experiences and continue to become a better version of myself, molded by the beautiful souls that surround me every day.
Emotional post over.
P.S. After an outpouring of concern (and love) from home within minutes of posting, I do want to let you know that I am still fantastically happy, and yes, everything is ok. But feel free to keep sending the love. There can never be too much in this world.