Being back in Colorado's crisp, cold air has felt like a refreshing drink that has reset my mind and soul.
This past semester and fall has been chock full of moments of feeling at peace, making time to stay healthy, tailoring my learning on things I care about (feminism, liberation, clerical celibacy, the Trinity), connecting deeply with a couple of people, and continuing to feel my call to be a minister, teacher, and chaplain.
Yet I also felt surrounded by moments of lost connections, deep insecurity (whether mine or another person's), and doubting my ability to engage with others. It's been great living into the fact that it's more important to do what I need/want to do rather than trying to be the Kaitlin that I think everyone else wants, but in living into that I find myself not being the life of the party part of me that I lean on and appreciate. This has required a lot of introspection for me this past month. Do I like being a jokester for myself or for others? Why do I have this compulsion to be the go-to person for others?
I spent much of last year spending a lot of my social time laughing, joking, and feeling that I was socially connected with a lot of people in my seminary community. But in my deep inside, I was lost and lonely and unsure of where I fit. Now I have places to be outside of the community, boundaries that I set for myself to have time for homework and sleep, and focus on precious people rather than pleasing everyone. Deep down, my calling is clear and I have people that I have made wonderful memories with. Yet I'm still here, in the confusion of being comfortable with who I am enough to not try to prove myself to others and still wanting to be a person people seek out to laugh with. I'm in the tension of what it means to be me right now.
Anyway, that was a very long explanation of why I felt cloudy recently and getting back here to Colorado has been a beautiful comfort in showing me the ways that I am me.
I have streets that remind me of a girl who learned to drive timidly; there are coffeeshops that remind me of my first employment as a barista. There are houses that I've been to countless times that are filled with faces that are etched with lines of laughter and tears that I have been active in experiencing. There is a church in which I showed up to church early and stayed late (not by choice...), sang loudly, danced proudly, and played games when I maybe should have been in worship. The cold air reminds me of the winter nights I drove with my windows down in order to feel the bitterness. The quiet, dark nights in my neighborhood beckon for awakenings not unlike those of my teenage years; my soul feels refreshed so that I can feel deeply about new things.
My mind feels cleared so that I am able to articulate my stories well and interests spring up inside of me about the people and places that are changing along with me. The twinkling lights scattered on the trees in the gorgeous Old Town Fort Collins stir up giddiness within me and bring a smile to my lips.
Fort Collins has been my home; my place for recharging. I never sleep better than when I am comfortably in my bed in the room I spent most of my teenage years in. I've struggled here, I've thrived here, I've grown so much here. It's safe here.
What will happen once this place no more is a place where there is a house that has my family name attached to it? When I will have a reason to not spend my holidays here, since there will be no place to vacation at? When coordinating visits will no longer be as simple as showing up with a home to stay at? What will I do without the refreshing breeze of change that flows through this place and into my heart?
What does it mean to refresh anew? It means holding unto the home that my family has created with each other. This house that was called home for 10 years has been stripped bare, but the memories are plentiful. I've leaned on Colorado to be a place where I can clearly see me for me and now it's time to see the ways that I have been created me, without borders.
But this reminder and refresher of who Kaitlin is has been so delightful and helpful during this season of massive change for my family, so I'll hold on tight for all it's worth as long as I can (which will be just another 5 days....).