I feel like the part of me that’s missing is in a place where I’ve never been. Does that make sense? Have you ever had somewhere else that you wanted to be, without knowing why?
For more than a year now, whenever things got particularly bad, I’d go away in my head to Cuyo. It’s this little island municipality in Palawan, where my father’s father grew up. I don’t know anyone there; I can’t even speak the local language. But whenever I wish I could be “anywhere else but here”, the picture in my mind is a small town by the sea where I can sit on the sand and just…be.
I know enough of myself to realize that part of the reason is a desire to escape. To be some place where I can breathe, and hear myself think, and let my soul expand. There’s also the lifelong goal of studying Cuyonon, my father’s native language which his children never learned. But it’s more complex than that, a deeper and more urgent pull than simple wanderlust or a rediscovery of roots. It’s not even the call of adventure, but more of a search…for what, exactly, I do not know. I only know that I need to find it with an intense longing that borders on pain.
But at the same time, I am paralyzed. The complicated nature of the desire makes it difficult to explain to those who love me and need to understand my going away. But other than that, have you ever wanted something so badly that you were scared to get it? Because what if it’s not all that you thought it would be? It’s a coward’s excuse, and I suspect that a part of me has fallen into the terrible habit of being afraid. Fear, in a sense, is a way of staying safe.
But the good part of me, the brave part, is yearning for my somewhere else. The hunger is almost spiritual, a whisper in the heart compelling me to take that leap of faith. It’s telling me that this might be about something more profound than just a place, a physical place with boundaries and solid earth. It could be, perhaps, about discovering the landscape of my soul. Maybe the act of leaving behind everything that is familiar is necessary to find whatever it is that I’m being called to find.
I want to go to Cuyo. Why? Maybe I’ll find out if — no, when — I get there.