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Lost in Boston

December 10, 2009

The air was crisp with frost, and my breath could be seen like – what seemed to me – a steam engine coming down tracks. The chill that came over my body as the wind rushed through the alleyway, though almost painful, was refreshing. This was not nearly cold to Northerners, but it was freezing your booty off to us Southerners.

I was in Boston. It was a new day in a new place, and I was lost. Luckily, I was with my friend who lives there, so there was never any worry about getting home. Instead, it was quite exciting to be lost in a new city. Feeling that time is nearly standing still while you are gone traveling. Forgetting all about the world that you’ve left behind.

Of course, it was only vacation, but still. Perfectly still in fact.

I’ve got a confession: Sometimes, I love escaping and dreaming that I am a student in Cambridge, Mass. You know, at that really well-known university that makes a lot of people rich. Or that I was a fisherman charged with the daily catch to be served that very day in Quincy Market. Or that I was…

My scenarios go on and on and on. What if. Do you ever do this? Wondering what if I had been born in Boston instead of Nashville. And my Southern accent was suddenly Bostonian. Or what if I learned more about Jewish people than Kurdish people because of the city switch. How would that have changed me?

Who would I have understood better? Who am I understanding less because of my experiences of growing up here?

To tell you the truth, sometimes I get frustrated at lost people. People who aren’t understanding of me, and my background or experiences. I get frustrated at them. For being frustrated at me. They confuse me as to why I have confused them. Hmmm. 

And then I think to myself… if I was them, would I think of me any differently? 

I must be thinking that I am the center of the universe, when i think: Why can’t they just understand me? Why can’t they just understand my experiences and my background, and that I’ve struggled since I was thirteen to get to the point where I can look into the mirror, take a deep breathe, and just be content with myself?

My point is this. You are the only person that really gets you. No one but you has lived your life. No one was there in your little light-up tennis shoes on that day in first grade when Lizzy pulled your pigtails and called you that nickname that you hate. And they weren’t there with you when your parents got divorced or when your mom called to tell you that the cancer had returned.

If you’re lucky, you’ll run across people in life who will really try to get to know you. To understand you. And will do anything in the world for you. But, even these people aren’t you. At some point, they are going to let you down. At those times, just remember. They weren’t there when you fell in love for the first time… They haven’t lived your experiences. But they sure as hell have tried their very best to understand for you

Tell them thank you, even when they let you down and you don’t feel like thanking them. Because they tried. They thought for a long time about what makes you happy and what it means to be your friend. Give them a hug, and be grateful for the best of intentions that they have.

Then, step back and look at what it’s like to be them. Traveling to a new place, being lost and breathing in the cold air. Then looking around, observing you, getting to know you, experiencing things with you, 
being the best you’ve ever had… But still never being you.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Courtney permalink
    December 11, 2009 1:07 am

    It’s a really great reminder to hear that we are the only versions of ourselves, and feeling misunderstood is only natural. And, in fact, it’s good on another level, because it reminds me that I don’t always know other people as well as I think I do. I’m probably projecting my own life experiences onto them to fill in the blanks, and that doesn’t always paint an accurate picture.

    Although I do think, in some ways, certain people can know you better than you know yourself. Perspective is everything.

    • December 11, 2009 9:48 am

      Courtney – I think you are spot on with both of those notes. Neither of which i had really thought about in the same way when i originally wrote this. I had just been feeling let down by a few people recently, but I know that you’re right when you say some people do know us better than we know ourselves at times. I know there are certainly people that believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Thanks for your addition to this post, great insight 🙂

  2. December 13, 2009 4:47 pm

    I love getting lost in a new city. And I also think about all the careers I could have or the places I’d go all the time if I were to live there.

    That’s kind of why I love living abroad – I’m always in a new situation or place and I always feel a bit lost and there is comfort in that. I never quite feel so like myself then I do when I am a bit lost.

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