I’m back! And I have so many things to say…First, I replied for all the comments so you can take a look, if you’re curious. Thank you very much for all the comments under the last post about my experiences from school years – CLICK – and also for all the messages I received on Facebook and via e-mails. They mean a lot to me! I didn’t expect all of that would make you so emotional and I was surprised so, once again, thank you!
Second and the most important – I came back from California not as a girlfriend but a fiancee! Yes, Nathan proposed. The way he did it, when, where and all that stuff, surprised me a lot (more about this later). I was smiling like stupid for the next four days and my cheeks hurt. I know I’ll never forget it. What I heard then and the day after made my heart grow. I feel very important and I see the future via rose colored glasses! Even when I know that we’ll meet some problems on the way because I believe we’ll solve them. I’m talking about this because I’m really happy. And, if I could, I’d share this with the whole world! Although, I think I can say I’m doing this right now talking about this on my blog, right?
What Nathan’s friend said: you’re perfect for each other! 😉
OK, let’s go back to the beginning now.
When we were in California last year, we visited Los Angeles, Grand Canion, Las Vegas and a few more. Posts from those trips are HERE, HERE and HERE. This time we went there without Alicia; in San Diego we spent seven days and the rest in San Francisco. There in San Diego we saw more than last time and I fell in love with this place. My favorite place in the US so far (forgetting about my area for a moment) is La Jolla. Beautiful beaches, calm, cool climate… In my opinion Los Angeles is much worse! We did the same thing like last time but then I didn’t tell you anything. This time I experienced all that in a different way so I’d like to share. And I’ll post some pictures as well!
We went there because of La Jolla Program which is an encounter group which happens every year and the first one was 49 years ago. Its path was blazed by psychologist Carl Rogers. I was introduced to the group by Nathan, of course.
Keeping it short – 20 people were sitting in one room on chairs being put in a circle; it lasted 4 days. The main idea of this group is a conversation; sharing one’s experiences, emotions. Everything that’s important. Either positive things, or negatives ones. In the sense of being accepted by other, without judging. In the belief that it’s possible to be free to say whatever you want and still feel safe. Even though you’d never say anything like that to other people in different situations. To throw away everything what’s stuck inside us and to feel understood and supported which is something a lot of people can experience for the first time in their lives out there in this group…
A year ago I didn’t have very good experiences because I was sitting very quiet and I pretended I wasn’t there. When one person told me he wanted to get to know me somehow, I curled up and I said I didn’t feel comfortable. Which was true, I didn’t feel comfortable. Suddenly everybody’s eyes were on me, everybody was listening and there was me… Not only that I was scared to talk in a group of people since I can remember, there was only this thing that I had to talk in a different language. Moreover, everything was so new to me and I just started to learn that different world which Nate showed me. I preferred not to show myself too much. I decided to go there this year as well because I knew I’d experience this in a different way. After 12 months from the last time I was a different person and I knew there’s a lot of things I could take from those meetings. Also, I really wanted to work on myself and to overcome the barriers I knew I’d meet on my way.
During the first day I didn’t say anything. I mean, I only answered the question about my name and that’s all. I was exploring then and I wanted to make sure that the ground is stable. I was interested in other people’s stories and there were times when I had something to say but I didn’t disclose myself. If I really wanted to share something, I was talking to Nathan. Seriously, it meant a lot to listen to others and this time I knew exactly what was going on. I could solve problems in my head, everything came together in one piece and I could explain everything. I don’t mean understanding a language; I mean understanding of other people’s stories, their emotions, etc.
On the second day I felt from the morning that eventually someone would tell me that I’m quiet and everybody said something already, but me. And I was obviously right! I told them the story of my life (more or less what I said in the last post here) which I remembered after someone else talked. All of a sudden, everything came back to my head and it bothered me so I was happy that someone said something to me because otherwise I wouldn’t say anything first, I’m pretty sure. I cried a lot and I thought my story moved some. During the last day I heard a lot about this and it felt good that what I said helped some people to look at their problems from a different perspective.
Third day was a total massacre ;-). The first part of the day was OK but the second one… A situation went in a direction that made me be very emotional, I cried and I couldn’t stop for an hour. Good thing that other’s attention was focused on two other persons because I didn’t feel like talking then. After some time I told Nathan I wanted to leave and go back to a hotel and, fortunately, he left with me. I felt I wouldn’t make it that night, I had too much. And I couldn’t even explain exactly what I felt…
The next and last day I decided to say what I thought about what happened the day before. I started loudly and firmly, with no fears that anyone would think I was rude or something. I supposed nobody would say it even if they thought about this but even if I was about to hear it, I still wouldn’t keep it inside. There was one moment when I was extremely irritated because of what I heard and I finally said everything and at the end I added: I want to say whatever I want to say and I don’t give a fuck if someone doesn’t like it! You know how good I felt after I said this?! Really, being totally honest and open about my feeling and not controlling my emotions in a fear that someone wouldn’t like it – I want to be this kind of a person! And I didn’t hear any comments about me being “rude” or anything. What I heard was: thank you for saying that! And again, I felt proud of myself. Three days before that I was scared after only thinking about talking and then I said something that before would be very risky to me. And some people agreed with me. Ahh ;-).
But the best thing is still in front of you! Almost at the end I said I appreciated what happened during the whole time and then Nathan started to talk. He started with words: this is a pretty good group! This is a great group! We were listening and I was looking at people not expecting anything and then he said: Agnieszka? I looked at him and then I heard words which I’ll never forget! At first I didn’t realize what he was doing but after a while I knew and then he asked: so what do you say? I answered: of course! Then a hug, and then I looked at the others and they had smiles on their faces! And me… And him too :-). This was amazing because before that I was afraid to say anything and later I was talking about how my life was difficult and all that, opening myself completely; I was saying that even though I was very young, my dream is to have a family and I don’t care about partied and using my life and I’m completely not interested in that. And also, I think during last several years I did and saw so many different things that right now I’m really satisfied; and at the end I heard words which kinda change the path… The beginning of something what I talked about earlier.
Maybe it’s difficult for you to understand completely what I mean by saying I changed… But I feel much better and it’s hard for me to explain. It’s kinda like I reached this point I was going to find… To be myself in 100%. Even Nathan’s friend told me he saw I was full of energy, I LIVED – he didn’t see it before. Moreover, I felt I was very happy and full of love. However this will sound – it was the way I say. And it still is. Thanks to all that my good relationship with Alicia now is even better because I’m real and it’s easy to feel so she’s also full of positive emotions :-).OK, now it’s time for pictures… We walked a lot and there was a lot of places I liked a lot. I took some pictures but I’m pretty sure you know it too that they don’t show anything exactly the way it looks live.