Last week I mentioned that I would be writing my next blog post on the story about David and I and how our relationship came to be - but that's an incredibly long and emotional story to share and all week, I was thinking about how I would best begin to write about the past four years, and the 7 weeks that he and I spent adventuring and having the most fun I've ever had. Thinking about our story obviously made it harder to be away from him, especially knowing it will still be a while until we see each other again and I decided to put that story on hold until we could both write it together.
I decided instead of writing about our story this week, I would write about the conclusion I came to last night, after having a difficult day of missing my best friend, who lives 7,664 miles away from me in distance, 8,500 miles away in flight distance and 17 hours away in flight time.
You see, I could share the beautiful story about how David and I have been penpals and very close friends for the past four years, and how I could never pursue a relationship with any other man because every time I got close to that happening, I couldn't get David out of my mind and knew that God was keeping him for me, all I had to do was be patient. I could talk about how David encouraged us to wait until we got to see each other and be in the same country and until we were older to even consider pursuing anything, and how even though we both may have stumbled over each others hearts sometimes, we are now happily together and ready to conquer the long distance that is ahead of us. But instead, I want to write about the long distance and how each day is a learning experience.
Some days I feel like my heart is being ripped out of my chest - things about our relationship have been tested even more so than we thought, and we couldn't predict these things previously to ever be an issue: time zones, difference in culture and language (which is honestly so different, Australian and American culture are very different, despite both being English speaking countries) and that we can only truly communicate through a computer or phone screen. When you've lived beside a person for an extended period of my time, going BACK to this form of communication is much more difficult than when you didn't know how wonderful it would be to be in the presence of that individual. It feels like a cheap alternative. It's like having a taste of deluxe gelato and then having to settle with a 50c soft serve cone from McDonalds (not hating, sometimes a soft serve hits the spot).
Last night, I was overwhelmed with emotion and with the pain of not knowing exactly when I would see David next. He will be in Australia in the last days of October through to the end of November and potentially very early December, but in the time between now and then, I have been working very hard to try and save to meet him in one of the 9 countries he will be traveling too. Japan was an option, Vietnam is an option, but the difficulty of not knowing is just as difficult as actually being away. We're both not experts in long distance, he maybe more than I am, but for me, this is my first serious relationship, and it's with someone I've trusted and cared for, for four years, who I've grown beside as a human, a follower of Christ, a photographer, and after finally being with them and seeing them, the last thing I want to do is have to co-ordinate when we can talk because of the difference in time zones. It takes almost everything in me to just not spend all my money on another plane ticket over there to see him in my second home town; Portland, Oregon, before he takes off to Brazil (then Italy, Japan, Vietnam, Cambodia, India) lastly to join me in Australia. He will be hosting photography workshops (www.davidtalley.io) all around the world and I couldn't be more proud of him.
After I calmed down and had my chance to feel emotional, I felt empowered. I let the emotion effect me for that short amount of time that it needed to surface and be released; that it demanded to be felt, and once I released the sadness I had felt in that short amount of time, I felt strong again. I discovered that the sadness I was feeling was not because I felt lonely, which sometimes I have felt in brief moments over the past month of being home, but it was because the uncertainty was uncomfortable, and this is a huge deal. When you're a young girl and you're dreaming of what it would be like to be dating your dream boy, and you think about all the dates and adventures and moments you get to experience together, you don't think about the possibility that they will live in another country.
I've learnt, that despite the frustration of not being able to go and grab a coffee with David, or not being able to give him a hug when I need it, being away from him is empowering. It is teaching me how to be strong and how to work harder for the goals we want to achieve together, and is forcing me to learn how to love myself more. In the first 10 days that I was back home, I was both very physically ill, and very emotionally drained. I needed rest and solitude and that caused me to feel very lonely. The site of anything reminding me of my trip or of David made me cry like a toddler who wanted something that their parents wouldn't give them, because they needed to wait to have it. And that's exactly what was happening to me.
The same patience I learnt in the four years it took to get the chance to be with David, is not the same level of patience I need to develop for the next seasons of my life. This time, it is more about perseverance and knowing that each day is a step closer to where you want to be.
After those 10 days were over and I was physically in a better place to go out into the world, I found myself working harder than I ever had. I was emailing people like crazy, collaborating ideas and planning big productions to ensure that I could afford to see David again as soon as I could.
Long distance has definitely already proven to be more difficult than I could ever expect, but it's also proven to be more worthwhile than I could have ever expected. Instead of treating every day as a countdown until I get to be with my best friend again, I am treating every day as a whole opportunity to be the best person I can be and to make myself the best girlfriend and partner I could ever be for someone who totally deserves the best version of me possible. Time is so precious and I could never waste this waiting period on moaning and groaning about how sucky it is to be in my situation, because it isn't sucky, it is magnificent. It's also a huge responsibility and that is scary.
Sometimes it feels lonely to have to do the things that I was used to doing with David on my own. The fun adventures like grocery shopping, having coffee, exercising, are now mildly less exciting now that I have to make that fun on my own: but I'm not lonely.
I may be on my own right now, and I may be alone in my own hometown without David being here, but I'm not alone: I am not doing this journey on my own. Because over the Pacific ocean in the North West, my adventurer is experiencing long distance too and that is not a lonely thing to feel. We are on this journey together and that is the most beautiful thing in the world.
We will come out on top and we will work through all the difficult moments and the communication issues and the frustration of a bad internet connection and the length of time it takes to deliver a parcel to the others door, because we know what we're working towards and the Lord has blessed us infinitely with the opportunities to travel with our jobs to see each other, and has blessed us with the finances to make it all happen, and has blessed us with the courage, perseverance and patience to do the best we can in the journey. I was so set on the destination of the relationship and excited for all the moments when we could be together, but now I'm mainly just excited for the journey, and for the ups and downs, because that's what makes the destination so much more worthwhile.
Right now, my man is sitting on the Oregon coast by a campfire, creating a weekend's worth of imagery inspired by our story, to inspire others and to help aid the future of our relationship together. While I miss him a lot, I am also inspired by the way he keeps us going and the way he takes charge in making sure we are both working hard together and individually, to make the distance apart much easier and much more worthwhile.
That is why I'm not lonely when I'm alone.
David: I know you're reading this right now and I want you to know you inspired me and you teach me how to be brave and how to make my life all that I want it to be: you help me be the best version of Kiara that I could possibly be. Go out and create until your little heart is content. (also I'm not even sorry about the photos in this blog post, you did it to yourself)