What do you do, when you don't seem to belong anywhere?
There is a string tied around my sternum, laced between my ribs, constantly tugging me to the next destination. In my darkest times, in my brightest times, I feel the relentless pull of it and I'm powerless to escape. As I stand, laughing and dancing with my friends, I am increasingly aware of the hollow in my chest where a piece of me seems to have been ripped out and placed somewhere far away. In the moments when I'm crumpled on the floor, biting my arm to keep the noise down as my eyes water the same gaping wound.
That hollow is a beautiful, dangerous thing. It's something not everyone feels, but those who do cannot escape the longing it commands from one's heart. It's an inspiration, and a warning, and its name is hiraeth.
Hiraeth is a Welsh word without any proper translation into English. As I understand it, it is a longing of the soul—a nostalgia for the lost people and places of one's past to which they can never return. It is a homesickness for a home that, perhaps, never existed.
It is an inspiration; Hiraeth compels us to search through the mundane for the extraordinary, seek beauty, try our hardest to find companionship and love. It inspires us to craft multitudes of stories about lost worlds which we may never visit outside our own imaginations.
It's dangerous too. Hiraeth strikes at the most unexpected times to remind us that this is not all there is, whatever spot in life we're in. Rest is not an option, nor are strict plans. It demands a nomadic mindset and free calendar as often as it can, trying to call you to a home you may not know of yet.
Hiraeth is bittersweet. I love the way it pulls at me and dares me not to settle, but I hate how restless it makes me in the moments I want to relax in the here and now. Ultimately, I know its goal. I must keep my eyes trained on the sky and prepare body, heart, and mind for whatever my comes my way. I engraved hiraeth on my skin as a constant reminder and inspiration, and as a way to see what was once invisible inside of me. We'll see where it takes me. If nothing else, Jo March had hiraeth in her heart, and like her...