The Art of Stumbling in Budapest.
When I say stumble, I do not mean physically (although that did happen a few times), I am referring to stumbling mentally.
I did not (fully) realize my mental stumbling until my last night in Budapest. Here is the “revelation” I had (I will share more uplifting Budapest moments towards the end, promise):
My biggest weakness is giving into my depression (pessimism, worry, self-loathing, hyper-critical of self). I am ashamed of my behaviors I engage in while trying to hide my weakness, and also giving into it. Towards the end of my time in Istanbul, I could hear my weakness calling…and I just chose not to deal with it. I knowingly chose to not take responsibility.
I had just finished writing about how much I enjoyed myself in Athens, which was 100% true, but I couldn’t help asking myself if I was genuinely lying to myself. Was I spoon-feeding myself false happiness? Why can’t I enjoy this amazing once in a lifetime trip? Why am I not happy? I kept asking myself these questions and more, until it hit me.
Emotionality is a cycle.
If you would have asked me before I left on March 18th, “Why are you traveling to Europe?”, I would have said “I’ve just always wanted to go there!”.
Well, to extent. I have always wanted to visit Europe, but this trip is my very cliche self-discovery “moment”. Self-discovery brings with it emotions, and sometimes the emotions are uncomfortable.
Being alone, across the world, for 41 days has introduced me to myself. This introduction has been awkward, uncomfortable, but yet one of the most amazing introductions I have experienced. I am not the person I thought I was.
I’ve cried a lot this trip. I’ve been more than honest about how much I’ve cried. I am, however, getting tired of the question “Why do you cry so much?! You are in________!”. I am not going to defend my tears. Life goes on in London, Paris, Rome, Athens, Istanbul, Budapest, Prague, and Berlin. It’s ok to have bad days in all of those cities. Why does distance from home equate happiness? or the impossibility of tears? Why is crying always seen negatively? I am not ashamed of my tears. They allow me to be vulnerable, to be open to the world around me. I want to be vulnerable.
Life’s goal is not, and should not be happiness. What is happiness anyway? Life should, frankly, have no goal. Life is the journey, not the destination. Along the journey we will accomplish small goals, yes, those are good as they lead to a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. The overarching goal in life (i.e. “My goal in life is happiness”), is something, I believe, we cannot possibly grasp or know yet. In the pursuit of happiness, one should not pursue happiness. Happiness is lofty, and fleeting. Now, I am not saying happiness is bad, or I have never experienced happiness. No. Happiness is a state of mind made up of several emotions due to current and past experiences. Everyone will experience the happiness state of mind in their life, just as everyone will experience many other states of mind including negative ones.
I do not know what my overall life goal is. That’s ok. I do know that along this path I am on to the destination, I have stumbled and scrapped my knees. I am off balance, and my nature is imperfect. I will continue to stumble, just as I will continue to pick myself back up. I will repeat this cycle until I die, but I am facing this with honesty. I have lots to accomplish personally and professionally ahead of me, I am only 21. I am building my life on learning from each and every stumble. I am learning to be better than I was, to care for myself, to get lost, to enjoy, and to ultimately stumble again. I will confront my weakness, and learn how to tame it. My weakness will never go away, but I will not let it control me. I will create from my stumbles, and my getting back up again. I will experience not only moments of joy with gratitude, but also moments of suffering. I will be vulnerable. I will not only accept assistance, I will offer it as well with open arms. I will stop faulting myself for negative emotions, as I am growing really tired of this. I will learn to feel and then reflect. I will learn to be.
Ultimately, these are all pieces of a larger narrative…my life.
I realize I wrote a lot of the same things in my post on Rome. I realize that was only several weeks ago, but like I said emotionality is a cycle. I just didn’t pick myself all the way up.
I may be traveling in Europe on a “once in a lifetime experience”, but that sure as hell means I won’t be stumbling along the way.
When I look in the mirror I see some pretty banged up knees. But, I also see a young woman who has overcome herself in many ways so far, who is brave, who is creative, who is beautiful, and who is ready to stumble again.
It’s ok to cry.
It’s ok to stumble.
Now, on to some very light, random “here is what I did in Budapest” stories!
On average, I ate about 1.5 sausages a day.
I ate dark chocolate lavender ice cream. I now know I do not like dark chocolate lavender ice cream.
I discovered a Michael Jackson memorial tree.
I got a tattoo. (I researched a place, and I had been thinking of the tattoo idea for 3+ years, so all you nay sayers can just stop nay sayin’).
I rode a ferris wheel. Alone. I am terrified of heights, and ferris wheels. The view of Budapest as the sun was setting was worth all of the shaking.
I took a free walking tour of Communist Budapest. It was less sightseeing, and more informative. I really enjoyed it. I was also able to practice my knowledge of Russian Communism, and look hella smart.
I realized no matter where you go in the world, a McDonalds or a Starbucks will always be close by.
On my first night in Budapest, I ate some sausage, and ice cream while walking about the Spring Festival. Suddenly, I felt this overwhelming sense of limitless gratitude for where I currently am in life (physically and emotionally). And even though, looking back, I know I was stumbling I still felt joy.
Below are a random selection of photos of Budapest!