You were my first love

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An open love letter to South America:

You were my first love. The first time I’ve ever felt present in that all consuming way. The first time I trusted in something outside of myself.

I remember how honest you were from the beginning, it took me awhile to trust that everything you were putting forth was earnest, no show, you weren’t trying to impress, you were simply doing your thing.

So, I followed suit and I let myself go. I found out things buried deep within myself that I had forgotten existed. A playfulness that needed dusting off, an ability to move beyond walls that I had built up, a confidence and strength that at first I was afraid to embrace.

I instantly noticed that you lived life in the fullest sense of the word. Embracing everyday. Finding the good in all situations. Always grateful for things I may have overlooked.

I loved your grit, your unshaven scruff, your recently shined leather shoes.

I respected how you were always humble, happy to let your actions speak louder than your words. Happy to let the world think what they may, knowing you were ready to dazzle as soon as people took the time to get to know your true colors.

You were passionate, unafraid of shouting louder than might be expected, unabashed in your views and opinions.

You were hospitable, aware that community was more important than individuals, you always put those around you ahead of yourself.

I loved that you were full of surprises, just when I thought I could predict how you would behave you would shake things up, always keeping me on my toes.

You were vulnerable, an open book of past histories, unafraid to recognize your mistakes so that next time you would act differently, welcoming of questions.

You talked with your hands, which I loved, and seemed unaware of personal boundaries as if each stranger was already a friend.

You showed me what real resilience looks like. You showed me how to handle struggles in a way that was valiant. You never played the role of victim though you easily could have.

You were progressive and creative, unafraid of self expression.

You were never afraid of a little danger, trusting that whatever situation arose you would be able to wiggle your way out of it, no harm done.

You celebrated people, let them be authentic, recognized their uniqueness and made them feel comfortable with exactly who they were.

You got me South America. Impressed me with your talents and made me feel profoundly alive. This isn’t goodbye though, don’t get me wrong. It’s simply a thank you. Thank you for what you taught me, thank you for how you made me feel about life, thank you for showing me that happiness can be pretty damn easy if you let it be.

See you soon.

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