By Caitlin Prince, Guest Blogger
Recently I found myself struggling to prove my identity to government authorities. Name? Thanks to divorce, my passport holds one name, my driver’s license another. Place of residence? Do I list my apartment in Sydney that just sold, granting me another twelve months of travel? Or my parents’ West Australian house in which I’ve never lived, but where there’s always someone home to pick up the mail? Would it be the address of the trailer in a suburban back block where I pay some guy I’ve only communicated with by email a hundred bucks a month to store my eight boxes and one beanbag? Perhaps the Thai beach bungalow from which my bikini is currently drying?
When I pass through airport immigration departments, under occupation I list ‘therapist,’ a nod to a career I haven’t worked in for a year, and have no immediate plans to return to. I could write ‘student’ but then my tendency to study no more than one unit at a time makes that a tenuous claim. I suppose I could assert ‘writer’ but nothing is more terrifying than putting there in black and white the loftiest of my aspirations…
Live your dreams, they say. Our teachers, parents, spiritual leaders, glamorous celebrities remind us this. Of course in word and deed they also say save money, invest wisely, buy your own home, drive a fancy car, wear trendy clothing, own the latest phone, look after your heart, be cautious, everything in moderation, find balance, get a job that pays your bills, and at all times be ready to answer these questions: Name? Residence? Occupation?
Just who do you think you are?
Artwork by Kate Gillett
Which is exactly the point. Because there is a world of difference between who you think you are, and the boundless being who stretches limbs and wings in your wildest and truest dreams. Dreams take place in a liminal interaction of heart, spirit and a wider world. They take place in a realm of no words, no walls, no parameters. They are solely anchored by an internal compass pointing to your own unique direction: True North.
On another plane there exists a form which will ask for your Name, Occupation, and Residence. Someone will ask what you do. They’ll ask you for your plan. Someone might get really crazy and ask your five year plan. The boxes to check off are not just on the pieces of paper, but in every mind. Boxes to categorize and tidy you away.
Life looks messy on paper. No amount of ink on the page will ever capture your identity. Dreams won’t tick the boxes.
But boxes get soggy in the rain. They give way under too much weight. They will always be limited in how much they can hold. Unlike you. There is no limit to your capacity. You will wonder again and again at just how much suffering and joy you can hold.
Demand to live in a space that is too big for boxes. A life that is so far beyond the box you can no longer even mark that page. Fold the page into a paper plane. Attach jet packs.
And take flight.
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About Caitlin: Caitlin was married in her early 20s, owned her own home, planned a family and worked 9-5. Until she woke up and realized she was living someone else’s life. Now she’s somewhere between a beach bungalow, an apartment in a bustling Asian city, and a couch in a Western Australia suburbia. She’s a part-time occupational therapist, yoga teacher, writer, nomad, student. Full time she’s lopsidedly lurching through this one wild and precious life: http://caitlinprince.blogspot.com.au