(This post was originally published on The Freedom Experiment, an inspiring blog by a creative, beautiful, sensitive woman who shares her life struggles and triumphs to help others feel less alone. Give The Freedom Experiment a read, it just might change your day.)

 

Balangan

 

I’m sitting in bed in my bungalow in Bali, alone.

 

balangan bali

 

The sun is shining and the turquoise sea just beyond my porch glitters beneath a cliff backed golden sand bay.

 

Uluwatu Bali

 

I am unbelievably blessed to be here, on possibly the most coveted island in the world, with no attachments or responsibilities, and the freedom to do anything that I want.

 

Growing Up - 04

 

But what I want to do is hide under my covers and cry.

 

Ubud

 

I have no return ticket home, no home to return to, and I spent the last of my savings to leave Cambodia and come to Bali to reunite with the first man I allowed myself to be vulnerable with in years.

 

Uluwatu Bali

 

He leaves in three hours for another continent, but mentally and emotionally he was never even here.

 

Uluwatu Bali

 

My disappointment is palpable.

 

Balangan

 

I feel foolish for straying from my plan to see him one last time.

I question if I made a mistake in finally letting my guard down.

I worry that my lifestyle leads me to men laden with limits.

 

lan ha bay

 

In this scenario where everything that surrounds me is foreign

 

Koh Rong

 

emotionally it feels painfully familiar.

 

Ha Long Bay

 

Resisting releasing something I already know I don’t want in my life.

 

Cat Ba Island

 

Seeking fulfillment for my needs from someone else instead of empowering myself.

 

Ayutthaya

 

Accepting less than what I deserve because something seems like a better offer than nothing.

 

An Bang Beach

 

Occupying my mind so entirely with another person that I become distracted from who Iam and what I want.

 

Manuel Antonio park

 

How

after two years of traveling the world on my own

 

Corcovado national park

 

hiking through the South American jungle

sailing to deserted islands in Southeast Asia

 

Puerto Viejo

 

riding on rickety buses across Nicaragua, Panama, Cambodia, and Morocco

taking countless cold showers

 

San Blas

 

communicating in foreign languages

and sleeping in dorm rooms with complete strangers

 

mombacho volcano

 

am I back to being the girl who bases her confidence on how much attention she gets from a guy?

 

Growing Up - 21

 

Haven’t I grown beyond this?

 

Growing Up - 22

 

Are you ever

where I am now?

 

Growing Up - 23

 

Back in a place you thought you outgrew?

Re-enacting the patterns of your past?

Being the person you swore you would never be again?

 

Growing Up - 24

 

Stressing?

Bingeing?

Purging?

 

little corn island

 

Judging?

Hating?

 

Growing Up - 26

 

Wondering

how did I get back here?

 

balangan bali

 

Wondering

if you were actually

ever

 

Ha Long Bay

 

healthier

or happier?

Koh Rong

 

Wondering

if you were just coasting

until a difficult moment

 

Koh Rong

 

reveals

how flawed and broken

you still are?

 

Cat Ba Island - 20

 

Terrified

that you will never

get back

to feeling

 

Growing Up - 31

 

whole

secure

and content?

 

koh rong long beach

 

Believing

that you didn’t

grow up

after all?

 

montezuma

 

Right now, my mind is cluttered with these ideas.

 

Growing Up - 34

 

But the healthy, happy me

buried beneath the insecurity and the fear

knows

 

San Blas

 

that those negative, destructive thoughts

just

aren’t

true.

 

playa guiones

 

Because growing up doesn’t mean always being your “best” self.

 

Padang Padang

 

It doesn’t mean never being sad, angry, imbalanced, lost, insecure, or what some people might even call “crazy.”

 

Koh Rong

 

It doesn’t mean being protected by an ego that the cruelest words can’t crush.

 

Growing Up - 39

 

It doesn’t mean having all of the answers

 

Growing Up - 40

 

and it certainly doesn’t mean never making mistakes.

 

manuel antonio

 

Growing up means gaining the awareness

to recognize

 

Growing Up - 42

 

what makes you feel good

what doesn’t

and why.

 

playa samara

 

It means shifting

your self talk

to a dialogue

 

Koh Rong

 

that makes you feel

supported

and loved.

 

Growing Up - 45

 

It means accepting

that you cannot control the way that others treat you

 

Growing Up - 46

 

but you can absolutely control

the way that you treat yourself.

 

bocas del toro

 

It means recognizing

the impermanence

of everything

 

isla tortuga

 

experiencing the darkness

knowing

that one day

again

you will feel light.

 

Koh Rong

 

It means empowering

yourself

with the responsibility

to choose happiness

 

Koh Rong

 

whether that means

being patient in discomfort

or making a move

that completely

changes your life.

 

Koh Rong

 

It means having

the willingness

and the courage

to let go.

 

San Blas

 

So right now

I am quieting my inner judgments

and I am amplifying my voice that says:

 

Growing Up - 53

 

Hang in there babe

you are strong.

 

Growing Up - 54

 

Believe in your dreams

they are inevitable.

 

Growing Up - 55

 

Everything will be ok

because everything is already ok.

 

uluwatu

 

You are worth mountains and oceans

no matter how others treat you

or how small you feel.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

Where you are today is perfect

because it is where you need to be

to get to tomorrow.

 

Bingin Bali

 

In honor of the person I am today

I am getting out of bed

I am walking down to the sea

 

balangan bali

 

and I am watching the dramatic progression of the sunset

alone.

 

Growing Up - 60

 

Wherever you are

on your journey

 

Ha Long Bay

 

in a moment of glittering bliss

in a moment of deep dark pain

on the brief, vast, varying spans between

 

Growing Up - 62

 

feel it

cherish it

and know

 

Growing Up - 63

 

it’s all just part

of growing up.

 

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