I took myself off to Scarborough again last Tuesday, after deciding on Monday night that I needed to feel the wind in my hair. I needed a bit of time out. I love it in Scarbs. I love the Yorkshire coast and I’ve so much more of it to explore!
I doubt anyone who saw me there, sat outside a coffee shop near the sea front all wrapped up warm and cosy with my soya capuccino, would have thought that I was having major open heart surgery in a few weeks.
We never really know what’s going on in someone’s life or heart when we look at them. Though we can’t help but judge people, make assumptions, we more often than not will be wrong about most things.
People are surprising, and complicated.
And I love them.
It was cold there. But the sun came out from behind the clouds as I sat writing in my journal, and everything around me looked gorgeous. Fluffy pigeons walked around the clusters of tables searching for crumbs, the masts of the boats in the harbour glistened and steamed as the sun rays hit them. The sea seemed calm and yet beautiful rough waves were breaking loudly onto the shore leaving brown, salty foam bubbling on the sand.
The fairground was eerily still. November is out of season of course, but for me this is when I love seaside towns the most. This is when you can really see them, see the people who call it home. The interesting characters, well worn faces, ruddy cheeks. And I can honestly say I feel connected to this town. I love these people. I love the rugged landscape and the ruined castle way up high on the hill beside me.
I love being by the sea.
A large group of school kids walked past me. They must have been on an outing with their teachers, all of them with bright florescent safety tabards on. I guess to make it easier for the teachers to keep track of them all. But they really stood out; the only gang in a quiet, usually crowded place.
I remember when I was that age, 8 or 9. How I wanted to dance and write and be a fashion designer who fought for social justice and saved the world by loving people no one else loved! I’d already experienced such traumatic loss, witnessed real grief and felt it myself. I knew the depths of pain and suffering that were there.
But I also knew joy and love and compassion.
How many of those children I saw last week were going through tough situations? Growing up without the care free childhood that for some reason we generally believe is for the best?
Not many I imagine.
And we shouldn’t forget that, shouldn’t patronise them with assumptions.
So what have the years on this earth taught me?
As I think about myself right now, I know that I’ve spent too many of those years hating myself, even while loving others.
And I know that if I’m to get through these next few weeks and months, and have the chance for another 30 plus years of life, then I need to face the assumptions I’ve made – about myself.
Self-assumptions have stopped me trying some new things (I won’t like it).
Self-assumptions have held me back from my full potential (I’ll fail).
Self-assumptions have stopped me from fully sharing my heart with someone (I’ll let them down).
Self-assumptions have led me to hide my true self (I’m not enough).
Self-assumptions have hurt me. I’ve hurt me.
As I walked around Scarborough last week, I took an honest look at these self-assumptions. I stared them in the face.
I stood on a hill overlooking the sea, with no one else around and I shouted. I can’t remember what I shouted but I know that as my hot breath hit the cold air it felt good.
I like to think that I burst into the chorus of ‘let it go’ as I span myself into a beautiful Viennese waltz on the hillside, my bright blue scarf floating in the breeze….
Let’s go with that.
Whatever actually happened I felt better for it. I felt alive and free.
In those moments I felt like me.
The real me.
Fully present, fully engaged in life. A lunatic shouting and stomping on a hill.
And I’m determined not to limit myself with self-assumptions any more.
Love Lou x