“Sometimes, people can go missing right before our very eyes. Sometimes, people discover you, even though they’ve been looking at you all the entire time. Sometimes, we lose sight of ourselves when we’re not paying enough attention. We all get lost once in a while, sometimes by choice, sometimes due to forces beyond our control. When we learn what it is our soul needs to learn, the path presents itself. Sometimes we see the way out but wander further and deeper despite ourselves; the fear, the anger or the sadness preventing us returning. Sometimes we prefer to be lost and wandering, sometimes it’s easier. Sometimes we find our own way out. But regardless, always, we are found.”
― Cecelia Ahern, A Place Called Here
It’s been awhile since I posted in the café and I have missed being here. Life can throw us curve balls we can’t catch or dodge that hits us right in the solar plexus. We recoil, in pain, in anger, in frustration and sometimes just collapse under the sheer impact. When it happened to me, I just wanted to disappear. Just like the novel I quoted above, I wanted to be in a place called here. In a place where no one could find me.
But soon the feeling, either of pain or grief lifts and we have to resume life as we knew it, with a new found understanding that even though things may not be the same and we are not going to be the same either, but we can move on. We need to find ourselves again and allow ourselves to be found.
While I was hiding away I had a lot of time to read and I did so voraciously, like I had been deprived or had been on a strict diet. I read in every free moment and space I found. My favourite place was a cosy café where I did not want to be known or recognised. The solitude was my own prescription and the coffee my tonic. The book was my salvation.
There’s an unspoken camaraderie among readers and coffee drinkers in cosy, quiet cafes, the silent welcome with downcast eyes peering over book tops. The gentle nod as you glance up once every so often to rest tired eyes, eyes that sometimes tear with not reason, and you blame it on the story in the book, and that gentle nod from a stranger tells you, they understand too. I craved the anonymity yet looked forward to the familiar faces. I did not need spoken words; I hated the sound of speech and laughter grated on my nerves. A quiet, cosy café gave me a place to grieve against the impact of the curveballs that left me paralysed and aching for answers to questions I had no one to ask.
But while I sat alone in the real world café, safely detached from all possible human interaction my friends in this virtual community of writers, poets and storytellers never let me be alone. They sought me out from my hiding place, they offered me comfort and encouragement through my hardest days, days of struggling with own thoughts that wound like a tight rubber band in my head waiting to snap, and my beautiful friends help loosen the cinch of that painful ache around my head and heart.
As always, this is the part where I stop and ask myself, what’s my point? Where am I going with all this? Belonging to a community is important, as a human first and then as a writer, we need each other, we thrive because the others never stop nurturing and encouraging us and our talent. The backbone of this café community was built on trust, faith, admiration and respect for one another. While tough times will always appear, tougher people stand stronger together; especially when one is floundering we join hands and provide a web of support, affirmation and love.
I love that I have this community to belong to, a place I can call home. Not just a place called here. A place where I am welcomed even when I am at my worst for then I can rest to become my next very best.
Hope & Love