I have been told so many times by so many different people how brave they thought I were for travelling the world to places I barely knew anyone, or anything about before getting there. And so often I talked to other travellers about how misguided we thought that idea was. How we all felt it was easy to just go.
Never did I feel so certain about that as I did today. I have in the past almost 3 weeks been reconstructing a fix life. I cant even remember when did that last happen. When was it that I last slept in a place I felt I could be in for as long as I wished?
But as I took every single step towards this new life I felt simultaneously free and trapped. An exhilaration of happiness accompanied of fear. So many papers I should have for being a citizen of somewhere. And I, who had for years, just thought of my passport felt somehow confused by all those letters meaning so many different things, and roots to different people, and systems, and financial benefits, and debts, and I dont what what where. for whom… what? Again what?
And yet I signed.. paper after paper with this mix exhilaration of joy and despair. Thinking how much courage one needs to be tied to a system. A family, a religion, a job, a town, a country. How much information one should have about all these subcultures of being part of a system to “feel” part of it.
Of course, most people just do it. We are all born in it. Most people never think about how crazy it is in fact the idea that human beings must be tied to a recently invented territory, thtough so many rules for the system (chose who knows how, through the years who knows by whom) to reproduce itself.
And yet the calmness that came with it is mind boggling ( and numbing). Which is so good sometimes. And it is without a doubt easily evolutionarily and socially explainable. I for once in years do not have the freedom ( which correlated with despair ) to be responsible for the place I will be tomorrow.
I will be here. If I go far I might take a plane for a couple of days to another state. That is it. My search for freedom is now within rules. So refreshing. And so strange.
I now climb indoor walls while being supported by a friend. I ll practice in this inorganic walls, the movements to climb the organic rocks, mountains.. sustained always by friends who are familiar to me. Whom I every time speak more consistently in Portuguese. The english words I mix in my own language are finally fading.
Yes, it takes much more courage to stay. Especially when you have gone for so long. And probably it takes a lot of work to keep the inorganic, the constructed as simply a key to keep one centered enough to still be able to wonder about the meaning of life.
Yes that is probably the hardest work of all. Not to be swallowed by the system. Not to just enter in the “do mode” and forget that after all we all need some kind of meaning to the lives we live. Either being it a metaphysical, or a humanist one. Even the most hard core atheist evolutionary reasoners usually agreed that we are symbolic creatures… and in one moment or another we all probably wonder what is the point of it all.
To many this meaning might be in an inborn capacity for faith coupled with a very religious socializing world ( maybe the lucky ones), others might search for it their whole life in different times.
And there are of course, those who are too busy surviving. And the ones who are too utilitarian who simply want to maximize pleasure by any means and postpone any suffering or any concern for the meaning of life.
I am however, almost convinced it comes to all. And that it does not good trying to hide from it our whole life.
So maybe after all courage is to resist the system from within. Any system you are so used to. Maybe courage it is to try new things. Stay if you have gone for so long that you are no longer certain anymore why you were going. Go if you feel that you are so trapped by the system that you are afraid to go and find out how others live. Courage is probably having the strength to open yourself, expose your wounds, ask the questions you are afraid of the answers, it is to trust yourself and others. Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the awareness of it.. and yet not let it rule your daily life.
I have been brave these weeks. I am doing all the things that scare me. And yesterday as I let go from the top of the climbing inorganic wall for the first time ever, I really did. I usually have always trusted my strength to go up those walls, but yesterday I completely trusted my friend holding me there in these ropes. I was surprised knowing how usually terrified of that moment I usually am.
Then something incredibly telling happened. I was asked by the instructor what did I fear most: climbing or supporting my friend. I told the instructor without hesitation that supporting my friend not to fall was way harder for me. But then we kept doing it. We kept climbing the wall, going through different routes, and in the end of the night I felt completely at ease.
And as I seat to write this, as I am about to go climbing one more day I stop to ponder about it. And suddenly it feels symbolic clear to me. How could I support someone not to fall if I never knew where I would be the day after? Now, I feel at ease. I can climb, I can let go, and I can definitely support my friend. Simply because I seem to have finally committed to stay. And in my world this is the bravest I have been in a long time. It feels good, scary, exhilariting, but good.