Every Sunday for the last few months, I’ve posted a photograph and lines of poetry (or musings) inspired by my journey to London. Sundays in London has been a cathartic experience as it has slowly lead me to a deeper understanding of why I was so driven to spend an extended period of time in a place so far from home. My journal is filled with meandering thoughts fraught with both epiphanies and questions, while my pictures captured every nook and cranny of my surroundings, but nothing fit together for a definitive answer. The experience as a whole was life-altering, though I could not decipher how and why. All I knew was something deep inside of me had indelibly changed, (See Finding True North).
The lines I wrote for A Bridge Crossed began in London, but only in small fragments. At the time, I didn’t have enough understanding to give my disjointed words a voice. The finished poem is representative of the answer I’ve been seeking for the better part of a year. After much contemplation and creative wandering, I know why I went to London.
Almost immediately after my return, I kept thinking, “I learned I was a lot stronger than I thought.” The only thing I couldn’t figure out what was why this mattered so much. I already knew I was a strong person, so I let the idea sit and expand until it chose to tell me more.
Ultimately, the answer hit me in one big swoop, damn near knocking me out of my seat. I still don’t know what triggered the thought, but I’m not one to question inspiration. What matters is that I have my answer. London showed me how strong I have to be to reach my dreams. Despite being in a place I loved, I was alone, overwhelmed, disoriented, and completely out of my element. And there was no one to run to except myself. I eventually found my groove and embraced every sensation, but this was a hard path to find.
Writing feels much the same way as isolating yourself in a foreign place. Along with all of the above, there is rejection (and a lot of it), frustration, fear, and doubt. A list like this puts a serious dent in strength and determination, sometimes to the point of giving up. Courage doesn’t come free and strength comes at a price. I have to be willing to endure everything that tries to knock me down. I must remain standing no matter how difficult or demoralizing it gets. As London showed me, being stronger than the impediment has an immense payoff for through the heavy fog there is the realization of a dream.
There is a difference between understanding what it means to be strong and knowing from experience what it is to be strong. I can do anything and I can take a few punches, too. Some may call me crazy for learning this lesson halfway around the world, but I honestly can think of no better place. London got under skin from the very first moment I saw it and has never let go. I hope it never does.
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