After a very challenging several years, in 2021 I finally lived in a version of peace – peace like a pine tree reaching towards the clouds at sunset – in myself and stability in my found-family and extensive support system in Boston/Cambridge. So as my partner and I packed up our cute studio apartment in Boston’s Fenway, I felt both excitement for this new adventure and fear of leaving all that I built.
After arriving in Ireland, my fears seemed to come true. I was overwhelmed, consistently lost, and lonely. On my first day, my first time eating at a café in Dublin, I could not find a seat outside, so I sat on the sidewalk, picked at my chicken strips and salad, then started sobbing. Each night, as I prepared for bed, my body would protest – scream at me in the familiar language of panic attacks, “where are we why are we here is it safe is it safe are you sure that it’s safe?” I was worried I made the wrong choice in coming to Ireland, scared that I could not make it through even the first month. I was terrified that the precarious peace I built in Boston had shattered and I would not find it again.
Searching for the same version of peace I built for myself in Boston left me feeling increasingly hopeless. I turned instead towards searching for moments of joy. I found it in urban parks, in the sun and sea, in rocky shores abutting cliffs. In the ice cold water of the Atlantic on my skin as I ran through waves that crashed against white cliffs in County Antrim. In spinning in circles at a peak in Howth overlooking County Dublin. I found safety in maps on my walls and dragging myself out of bed at least once each day to drink coffee and read in St. Stephen’s, Merion Square, or Dubh Linn Garden. In exploring – on my own and with friends.
Intentional exploration, purposeful moments of joy, have helped me find safety in this new place; have helped me build a newfound strength within myself; have anchored my soul in hope and light on the days where the clouds do not part and the darkness wins. To continue this, I decided to fully commit to going to all the counties (or at least all the coastal ones) in Ireland this year, the map below showing my current/by the end of this week progress (for a live tracking, see my instagram @lvndrmeg). I am eager to continue exploring this beautiful little island. In fact, this weekend I am going to County Donegal with the TCD Kayaking Club – an adventure I would have run away from a month ago. I hope to continue finding and building a peace like waves crashing into caverns in ancient cliffs within myself.