I’m having trouble re-integrating.

Shoes feel weird on my feet. I’m not in the habit of putting on shoes anymore and, when I go outside in sandals, it is just slightly too cold, as though I cannot gauge what it would take to make myself comfortable, and can only almost get myself there.

I don’t understand cruelty. I realize I never have.

I can’t sleep through sirens, now.

The casual indifference of interaction with those with whom we share our space is overwhelmingly unnatural.

I cannot make the leap of wishing someone were other than they are, rather than appreciating them for who they are, now. I have been this way since longer than I can remember. I don’t understand putting energy into wishing otherwise, aloud or to myself. I think differences are gorgeous, many times, as long as we remove ourselves from expectation, from want, from desire, from the root of suffering.

I have embraced live and let live in a way that enables me to jump out of a sinking boat and let others make their own decisions with all of the same information.

I don’t assume that someone standing in what I consider to be my personal space is being rude; I understand that it’s probably because they were raised in a different culture and it doesn’t mean the same thing to them that it does to me. But I’ll still move away from them.

Defaulting to kindness and the assumption of positive intent has never done any harm, anywhere.

The simple allowance of existence is deep within me in a way that finally feels unshakable. We will see how long it lasts in a place that consistently tells others how to exist.

My boundaries are firmer, and more gently guarded, than ever before. I am no longer unsure of them and their spikes have receded. I hope this manifests as that calm confidence I’ve always hoped to attain.

I still don’t like turbulence, but I made it through a 6 and then 14.5 hour flight, both fraught with it, and I didn’t post on the internet beforehand about how nervous I was. These steps are tiny and significant.

For forty days, I did not fear physical violence against my person. Can you even conceive of that? Returning is immersion, and ice cold.

I need to create art more, in whatever part of the world I find myself. I need your help doing this.

Being misunderstood is still a chief frustration, but I am not shy or exhausted by explaining gently, as if to a child, repeatedly if necessary… especially if I suspect the misunderstander is being deliberately obtuse, because I am a brat.

Years of wearing my badass on the outside have turned me into a fierce person who can, finally, endlessly, wear that fierceness beneath the surface under a gentle kindness with which I choose to face the world. I will, of course, falter, but the bones I want are there.

I feel, without a doubt, unequivocally, loved, in so many ways. I must never take this for granted.

Shoes feel weird on my feet.