I believe in proper greetings and proper goodbyes. They are a respect, an honor and a recognition of the people that you are with. They coincide with proper beginnings and endings of cycles, although beginnings and endings tend to mesh together rather than being black and white apart. I’m at the ending of a cycle, a period in my life of intense self-exploration and discovery here in Mexico; and I’ve had to start to say my goodbyes.
Although I still have about two months here, last Monday I said goodbye to my homeroom students. It was my last class with them, and I started off by thanking them for a wonderful year in which they have taught me just as much as I have taught them, if not more. I told them I would miss them terribly next year. Then I told them that I will miss them so because I won’t be back, that I am leaving. Of course, tears filled my eyes as I really let the feeling of leaving sink in for the first time.
I just had a conversation with my soul sister who has become my rock, my guru, my sage during the past month. She always says exactly what I need to hear and has supported my heart and soul as I work through perfectionism and negative thought patterns. We Skyped, and I burst into tears as I thought of when I will have to Skype with her because I can’t just take a cab over to her house.
Last night, my boyfriend and I talked about how much it is going to hurt when I leave. How he wants to figure out some way for it to hurt less for himself, for both of us.
I have these conversations about Voldemort, about my July 22 departure from this place in which I have created a life for myself, a place where I call myself home more than I ever have before in my life. This is a place where I have come to know myself at my deepest, most authentic level. This is a place where I have come to know people who are real, honest, loving, compassionate… friends who have transformed my world. This is a place where I have had three transformative relationships, each of which taught me something different and helped me along my personal journey of self-discovery and growth. I don’t want to leave this place because of the people I have met here. Leaving them breaks my heart.
Those students have become my babies, my group, my community. They have taught me how to treat one another with compassion and love, and have helped keep me young and fresh. It was so hard to say goodbye.
And you see…
My friends are absolute loves. Loves of my life. They have supported and loved me beyond expectations and been my rocks through thick and thin (and boy, have I been through some thick). They want the best for me. They respect my space, my boundaries. They love my weirdness and rejoice in my victories. They are friends for life, and they mean the world to me. I don’t really talk about Voldemort with them because I’m afraid of my heart being completely smashed to pieces.
I have a boyfriend who is an absolute love, the third Mexican I’ve dated while here, and I feel like I’m finally getting it right this time. He has taught me to love and accept myself unconditionally. He has taught me how to receive love because he genuinely wants to give me love. I don’t want to leave that love, hell no. He wants to give me the world, and I want to take it open-heartedly. But how open-heartedly can I do that when I know I’m about to leave? My heart is already breaking at the thought of leaving him.
So, you see…
I am afraid that upon leaving, I will lose all of myself that I have uncovered, all of the precious diamond that I have been discovering and polishing away at for the past two years. Part of me, a big part of me, is afraid to leave this place. Afraid to leave the people I have come to know, myself included. Leaving is the hard thing to do. Leaving is the reason I stayed for one more year.
But leaving is also the right thing for me to do. Leaving the certain for the unknown is scary. It seems dark. It’s unnerving. It’s terrifying. It’s the kind of thing that gets under your skin and into your heart and can bring you down way low. But it also is the brave thing to do. It takes courage. It takes self-respect enough to honor one’s own decision. It takes strength of the ego and the heart; faith that they will be just fine when this end begins. I feel like I want nothing more than to play hooky and not go to school; simultaneously, I want nothing more than to stop time and stay at school forever. I know I need to leave, but I don’t want to. I don’t want to because I don’t want to say goodbye to these people in my life.
But I know I have to be true to myself. And my true self knows that staying here is not right for me right now, no matter how dearly these people mean to me. Because at the end of the day, it is me. I have my friends. I have my students. I have my boyfriend. But my job is not what I want to do. Not right now. And if I am not happy, how can I stay for the people around me? What if things change? What if they leave? What if things end? Then what am I left with? I have to remind myself that in September of last year, I knew that I didn’t want to be teaching anymore. It doesn’t light my fire, not teaching English. And while I can really see a life for myself here in Mexico someday, I’m not ready to settle down just yet, no matter how much my heart strings pull me to stay. I have to let myself go, I know I do. I have to let myself leave knowing that I will come back; I have to let myself leave doing my best to have faith that everything will be okay on the other side until I do return.
“If you love somebody, let them go, for if they return, they were always yours. If they don’t, they never were.” Kahlil Gibran