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Years That Answer

I’ve got Seattle in my bones. This city has raised me, loved me, and bored me. We’ve experienced all twenty years of my life together, all within this same five-mile radius. I was itching for a temporary escape.

So, I applied for Scotland on a whim. Skipped a concert that night and coerced a classmate into writing my letter of recommendation. All so I could throw together an application the night it was due. I told myself what I always tell myself before I begin any artistic experience: “You’ve got nothing to lose.”

I was accepted. And after a year of rejections, that midnight email reading “status: ACCEPTED” felt like a well-deserved deep breath.

I spent my final nights in Seattle soaking up the city before I wound my way out of it. You don’t realize how much you love something until you have to wave it goodbye.

Suddenly I was headed to Heathrow on my own. And after 36 hours without sleep, I was peeking out a plane window flying over the city of Edinburgh. There’s a Zora Neale Hurston quote I had read a few weeks before that floated into my mind: “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

Around one year prior to this plane ride, I had never felt more confused. I felt like all control I had over the shape of my life had slipped out of my fingers when I ended up staying in state for school. I felt like the academic institution I attended was a massive reflection of my identity, and I felt so deeply that UW was the wrong place for me. The currents had forced me to go against my own intuition, something I rarely do. I was obsessed with wondering, “have I made the right choice?”

(I recognize now that everywhere on earth there are people who I have the potential to connect with. People who are passionate about the same things as I am. I found some of those people. I also identified the things that I need in order to feel like myself, and I sought them out. These were necessary adjustments in order to make my situation work.) Anyway…

Before I knew all that, I didn’t know anything. And in all truthfulness and simplicity: I was lonely.

2017 asked a lot of questions. And as someone who only feels at peace when I understand, I felt a lot of urgency to answer them. But answers are never that easy. You can’t ask or persuade them to be otherwise. Sometimes answers just arrive on their own accord, when they want to.

Or need to.

Or something like that.

I’m still learning.

Little did I know I would end up in Edinburgh…

The Fringe was insane. I saw one to three shows a day. A little bit of everything, too. A string quartet, aerial acrobatics, the Confederacy, Godot, an entire show only in Taiwanese, live music, Brexit jokes that flew over my head, a few plays where I nearly fell asleep and a few where I had never listened more closely, a little bit of magic and a lot of nudity. Wild shit. Just how I like it.

Sitting in the audience of these shows, cuddled up on the couch of my flat, and shoved in booths of Scottish pubs with my classmates is where I had the incredible confirmation that I must have done a few things right to end up here.

Maybe I needed to be swept up by the strong currents and humbled by the rejection to finally be okay with whoever it is I’m becoming. Maybe I needed to make a few more changes than most to adapt to my situation. But I think I must have made enough good choices to be where I am and who I am now. I know that because I finally feel happy and I finally feel grounded.

I think the most significant thing I learned, or better yet re-learned (progress isn’t linear), is that sometimes no answer is an answer and sometimes the answer is more questions. And it’s a hell of a lot more interesting to live within these questions than to attempt to answer everything.

So, I hope this is an answer enough to those who have asked, “How was your trip?”

All love, always.

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