I've been trying not to think about the thing I am meant to be thinking about the most. It's not like I haven't been thinking about it or that I don't want to it's just that I feel that if my trip or when my trip comes to an end that chapter of my life will be closed and maybe I am not ready for that to happen.
You see, once upon a time not too long ago "love" turned to "like". So to speak.
And I don't even know how to begin talking about it and I do not know what to say - if anything.
Except just now I just reached a rest stop with a hammock and no wifi and I think I am just going to write what is in my head and if it happens it happens and if not then that's ok. If this makes no sense to you just know that it is not meant to, it may not even make sense to me.
I am sitting here literally sharing my coffee with a chicken with my feet bandaged to all fuckery and a donkey. Not to mention two aggressive geese in the background. I will do what I want, I am grown. And here is a post that may not make any sense to anyone.
Out here all you have is time to think, time to just think, you watch your feet march one after the other. Plod, plod, plod. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Just one after the other and the next thing you know you have walked to the other side of a country. And how? One foot at a time, one step at a time, crunch, crunch, crunch.
It gets easier because it does but it also gets harder and your joints ache more as you go but your feet are simultaneously stronger. So the blisters that were a hallmark of the start of the journey have healed but the tendons are weary and the muscles just heave with lactic acid that the measly 8 hours rest between walking and not walking is not enough to flush completely.
So you walk and you walk and today I felt really gross and humiliated not because of anything anyone did but because of my fragility. I was having breakfast at the hotel and I got me some more bread and the hotelier came over and she nicely told me it was not self service! I didn't eat the extra bread. In El Salvador we have a saying that the food va a caer mal. That is, that the food that has been contaminated by negative feelings is going to be bad for you.
So I left her a euro on the table and I left the restaurant. It was me saying, fuck you, I didn't eat it and here is a euro for being a bitch. This is while the (very, very hot German) next to me was restocking his plate full of stolen not-self-service bread when madam wasn't looking. I hate being chastised like a child and because I was so fragile from poor sleep it really fucking got to me - in a way that you have NO IDEA. I resented leaving the euro but the Camino provides and it provided me with this gorgeous resting place with a farm-full of animals and about five hammocks, and the chicken whose name I have learnt is Francesca. Every time I see a chicke I want to ask my once-upon-a-time chicken farmer boyfriend all about them. He hates chickens, I want fifty thousand of them. A chicken farm, I want a chicken farm. I digress.
I normally would have just eaten the fucking bread and just been like soz, Australian, me no understand. But I am particularly fragile today, this morning, now. This very moment.
I am fragile because I am tired and because it has dawned on me, finally that this walk, this momentous and difficult occasion is the end of something. It is also the start of something but that's for another post but it is the end of something momentous and important.
This, this painful and exhilarating walk is the end of something I don't even have a name for yet. It is not just about the end of when I was married, to a man, for a while.
It is also I think the end of my formative years. It has taken me a while to run away from a whole lot of pain, suffering, and violence but now it is so far behind me that I can stop running. I suppose this is now the end of the stage of my life when I was running. The stage of my life that saw me hustle, and fight, and run (fast), and struggle, and survive. So here I am, very much having outrun a legion of demons and what do I have?
Well, very little in fact, in terms of things I have with me at this moment. I have the absolute bare minimum essentials of clothing. I have a little bit of food, some water, a first aid kit and my phone. Back home I probably have too much stuff, some excellent friends, a good job and an even better partner.
For all of it I am thankful beyond words but now that I am not running anymore what do I need to stock up on and what do I need to get ride of? I don't know. Who knows?
Love turned to like. This is what I am trying to say, this is what I have been struggling to get to. Love turned to like. The love I had for my once-upon-a-time husband turned to "like".
Why? Who knows? It is for the same reason that people fall in love suddenly for no apparent reason, they just do. They also fall out of love in much the same way. They just do.
I just did. I don't know I think that in some way, somehow I didn't want to stay married because I sort of took it as a day-by-day thing and he maybe saw it as a forever thing. Both are good, both are fine but one day, I just didn't want to do it.
It's tough, it's very tough to front up and admit to that. That one day, I just didn't love him anymore but it's the truth. I loved being married to him in a way that was priceless. There is something excellent about being with someone you could count on and for anything and everything. But then, I felt like I lost myself? Like I was assumed into this life of being "the husband" and not just "me".
I felt like I was part of a unit or an institution that I saw myself being out of. Why? Because I just did. I have no better ways to describe it. I felt just incapacitated by expectations that I would be with one person, physically, emotionally, sexually for ever or until one of us died and that would just be my life.
I felt like I wanted to live out of a backpack and go and get lost somewhere and have all sorts of crazy adventures with even crazier people. I didn't just want to be someone's husband but I wanted to be a partner and a colleague and a friend and a lover and skydiving partner and travel buddy and companion and husband and sometimes even someone's "other".
It was great being married to the person I was because I learnt the most valuable and
Important lesson that I could have ever been taught. I also doubt that I could have been taught this by anyone else, but I got taught to love and to be loved in return. I was taught that it is ok to receive love and it is ok to expect it. That love doesn't and should not hurt but do the complete opposite.
That is one of the greatest lessons I can, anyone can learn. I learnt it and then, my love turned to like.
I think all our lovers change us, even just a tiny little bit. Even if you only know your lover for twenty minutes or twenty years, they all teach you something and if you do it right you left the other person in a better position than when you found them. I am certainly better, a much better person than who I was and I hope the same could be said in return.
So now, this. Here, in Spain, crunch, crunch, crunch. Here I am, symbolically at least, finishing running away from everything and not toward anything in particular. This is not just about "burying a relationship". There is nothing to bury, it's more like closing a book. You're sad to reach the end but very happy to know how the story ended, or at least that part of the story anyway.
This here is the end of a volume for me. A volume that began when I first started sprinting away from everything but towards nothing at around 15 years old.
There have been a lot of people looking out for me during that time and there have also been some people who looked out just for themselves instead. I have been the recipient of a million acts of kindness as well as just as many acts of malicious violence. I have had several excellent partners, although some are definitely more excellent than others. I have made countless mistakes and as many good decisions.
I carry with me, on my back, as I walk, crunch, crunch, crunch the sadness of the end of a chapter but the intense joy and happiness of what the next chapter will be.
There is so much I have yet to see and do and experience and feel that I don't even have the words to describe it.
I am hopeful and I have faith in my abilities because of what I learnt and felt and experienced not in spite of it.
I have nothing but gratitude, humble gratitude for my precious relationship and hope that the lessons learnt can be put to good or better use
With the next relationship.
Did I make mistakes? So many. But that's ok and I am ok. I may, with the benefit of hindsight go back and correct them, but I can't travel back in time. I am resigned to owning my part in my mistakes and that's just truth.
I have nothing further to add and about my marriage, I will not be speaking about anymore publicly past this post. Thank you to everyone jay supported me as I left it and started again. Because that relationship is over, yes I ended it and I own that but it had to end. Never for a moment, not once have I doubted my decision. I made the right choice and I stand by it. I would do it again today, although I would have ended it differently.
Now, it's about what's next. What is coming up and about moving on with my life. Because things fuck up sometimes and people fall out of love in the same way they fall in. That's ok.
Spain is important to me, but also to my relationship, well, my now ended ex-marriage.
I got proposed to in Spain, with a ring and everything. And now I'm 2016 I am walking to the highest point of the Camino where by tradition you leave a stone or other item that you have carried with you and leave it there as an offering.
I think it is only fitting that my rings both of marriage and engagement are to be left there. They are just stuff, and while they were given to me with the utmost, purest love, that relationship is over. The memory is more important than the actual, physical object.
The memories are happy ones. And while the rings were given to me with the purest of joy and happiness and love, I give them back to Spain with nothing but the most humble gratitude. I return them to Iberia and I place away my happy memories in my mind, not with sadness but with great thanks.
I walk away with not just happy memories but with lessons about what it means to love and be loved and to give of yourself and to receive in return. I walk away from one relationship a much better person and despite leaving devastation in my wake, I hope somewhere, somehow I did the same in return.
I have come on this journey to stop running and to return to the rich Iberian soil the two physical manifestations of the commitment of a relationship that has now ended.
I am ready to finally and completely end my commitment and move on a much better person than I once was and hope that I can be a much better partner in the future. I will continue walking, step by step, crunch, crunch, crunch to Santiago and beyond.
Because this is my goodbye to you.