I am sitting on a black, stone balcony floor, looking out over fields and fields of the brightest green rice paddies. I am dripping with sweat partly from the humidity of Bali, and partially from the punchbag boxing session I just forcefully threw myself into.
Not my usual circumstance? Actually, this set up is familiar. I am physically working through some thought while doing something I deeply love. I am leaping through the air, swinging hooks, making shapes that I enjoy. Stopping only to feel the pulse of my heart against my glove as I hold it to my chest in the moments between the songs that are filling my ears through my headphones. These moments are precious, and they are freeing. I have discovered moments like these in ballet studios, gym floors, and athletic tracks. I have found them also, although in less of a physically exhaustive sense, sitting in coffee shops as I write articles such as these.
As my arms throw punches at something that cannot be harmed by my efforts, I am released. Just as I am when I leap across floors in studios with no audiences, and as I my fingers ripple across keyboards in coffee shops where no one knows me, I am freed. I am freed by my art, and in the partaking of it's process.
This, readers, brings us right back to the start. To where I originally started out with this blog. I began writing the ‘Living Liberté’ article collective 5 years ago. I was, at that time, living in North Africa dancing in a show for 7 months. I commenced writing at a time when I was barely weeks clear of one of the most traumatic experiences of my life, and just at the tipping point before I fell into two and a half years of a legal battle against my abusive ex-husband, of which I would at many stages not think I could survive.
I wrote my first article after spending a few hours dancing and leaping around an empty moroccan dance studio to release some of how I was feeling before I had to put a face of stage make-up on and go out and entertain the crowds. The idea of the blog came to me as I danced, in it’s (and my own) blurred and questioning/newborn state. I carried the vague idea of an online collective of this concept of self-discovered freedom home with me to my apartment above the show venue. I opened my laptop and began to type; to unknowingly begin to type the work that would become my most significant.
As you may have gathered from my first paragraph, I am currently in Bali, Indonesia! I am here on 3 weeks of travels whilst I turn 30. I am here amongst Hindu temples, jungles, beautiful beaches, and some of the most beautiful oceanic scenery I have ever experienced. I am amongst travellers of all nationalities, smiling locals, and some of the biggest butterflies I have ever seen outside of a natural history museum. There is an incredible scene of cruelty-free living, veganism, and eco conscious groups who regularly volunteer to clear the beaches of it’s washed up plastic, to aide the creatures living here alongside us. I think you might say it may well be a little piece of kindness paradise.
This is not to say Bali is perfect. It has it’s share of moped pollution, tourist culture, and it’s own portion of difficulties. But in spirit, it is lead strongly by faith and kindness that I have not experienced in any other country I have travelled to. There is an integral faith in positive kindness, to it’s most worthy extent. This, for me, is the prism of light that I continually seek.
This particular travel venture is not for the purposes of work, for once. I am not here with a contract, or with a view to find one. Unlike my travels during the past 7 years, I am here only for the taking time to take time; to be somewhere I have not stepped before. And to spend some time in a place of beauty while I look back over the journey of the last 30 years. 3 weeks, to take in a view of 30 years.
Thirty years. 10,950 days of life. During my lifetime thus far I have suffered at the hands of broken hearts, who in turn made sure they did all they could to break mine. I have harmed myself through not feeding myself as a teenager. I would later go on to harm myself a little more through staying in relationships that ravaged my mind and body just as my eating disorder once had done.
However, in the seeking brighter light, I have also LIVED. I have happily danced around the world despite only commencing my dancing journey at 19! I have run away with (and once from) the circus! I have loved, truly and absolutely. I have lived with belief. And for it all I am grateful. Of this, I am the most proud.
In this moment, as I sail into my thirties, I can only be thankful to one entity - you!
You, reader. You, friend. You, the friends who believed in me even when I forgot to. To the family members who quietly got on with the tiring business of helping me back on my feet without making too much fuss. To you, the passers by on that NYC subway who helped me breathe again, as I wrote about in my article ‘I am living happily ever after; so why can’t I breathe’. And finally, I am thankful for you, God. Who without, I wouldn’t be here, in more ways than one.
And so, here’s to our journey together! To 5 years of Liberté, and the 30 years it took to arrive to today’s date with you. Here’s to you all, for supporting this page and making it possible to keep on expanding it's concept. Thank-you for all of the messages, the comments, the shares, and the quiet moments spent reading it’s words wherever you were whenever you did so. I am grateful for every single gift of thought.
With more love & freedom than ever before,
L I B E R T É