I had one of those moments yesterday when I looked around and couldn't figure out how I got there. I'm not talking about the physical "there" - I know that Pankaj dropped me off at Lajpat Nagar Market so I could waste a little time shopping in a new market. I wasn't even struggling with the the question of how I came to be living in India - I know a couple of decisions I've made along the way are responsible for that. What I couldn't figure out is why it felt completely natural to be wandering through the market on my own.
I didn't see another white face in the 90 minutes I was there. I had beggar kids following me and every salesperson was trying to pull me to their stall, it was crowded, smelly, hot, dirty and loud and I felt as if I belonged there.
Somehow during the past few years I've change enough that it now feels natural to me to be the minority, the one who doesn't quite fit in the picture. It's no longer uncomfortable to be surrounded by sights, sounds and smells that are completely new. I'm not saying it isn't still exciting to be someplace like India, because it is, and I still feel like I learn something new everyday. But, it feels as if my mind and body have accepted that it is normal to be constantly bombarded by images and feelings that aren't familiar. The time on the road has also made me confident enough in myself to know that I can walk into a situation like the market Saturday or a meeting with a new set of executives on Monday and be okay - I know I can handle it. It was a nice moment of recognition and one of those moments in life where I was completely at peace.
I'm not hiding
I'm not reaching
I'm just resting in the arms of the great wide open
- Mary Chapin Carpenter
As a side note, if you aren't a Mary Chapin Carpenter fan you should be, her songs define my life, make me sing along, and occasionally, even make me cry.