This past July, I spent about 2 weeks meandering through the streets of San Jose and the adjacent little towns/cities (?)–trying my darnedest not to feel like some newb alien girl. My roommate had the radio station tuned to some abomination that these folks call radio, and I made it my mission in life to find a decent radio station before my time was up. Back home, in Denver, I was spoiled by the best radio station in the world (KBCO, if case you’re wondering). What made KBCO great was they played an abundance of popular stuff alongside really old stuff and mostly unknown artists. I used to love to listen and discover music that maybe I missed or that no one knew about. Van Morrison, Stevie Nicks, & Tom Petty were mainstays–holding down the fort with their dependable brand of tunes. These artists were always a part of my life, though. Every happy day included a few songs from them, and I knew all their songs by heart. Especially Tom’s.
I remember that hot as fuck day in July, driving around–looking for a goddamn Starbucks–just wanting some damn iced tea–wanting to do a good deed–and being lost as all get out. I finally found a radio station that didn’t make me want to stab myself, but they played far too much Imagine Dragons. So I was more than grateful when an old friend appeared. This song.
I remember rolling down the windows, driving probably too fast (as is my way)–singing my heart out–and finally seeing the elusive Bux. I had done this exact thing so many times, on dozens of mountain roadtrips. This music had always been mine, and for a second, I felt like I was still me. Even though I was here.
There was something about Tom. About his sad, weary eyes and his gentle voice paired with his layered lyrics and infectious riffs. Above all, he was a storyteller. The people in his songs were outsiders who didn’t fit in and knew they were meant for something more–something else–and life often kicked them in the gut. He told stories about people like me. There was always a bit of humor and a bit of badass to these stories. The music was about standing back up. It was about telling the truth. And it was beautiful and sexy and fun.
I remember this music was always in the background everywhere I went as a kid. It was always next to Elvis and Cash in our home. Every single happy day in my life, this was my soundtrack. It was music that could send you flying down a highway, hoarse from singing along. Lyrics that meant something with a beat that made you move in your seat. It was hopeful, but only because the narrator had seen some shit and come out somehow alive.
I knew nothing about Tom’s story until my late 20s when his music became even more important to me, getting me through terrible relationships and jobs. Then I found myself listening to interviews about his life. About his childhood–one that was a lot like mine–and I found myself identifying with him. He respected his audience above all else and wasn’t afraid to be himself with them. I admired how he stuck by his art–but moreso the process of creating something from nothing–and how he advocated for other artists. He inspired me to do the same for myself and my peers. The idea that an artist is an activist was especially important to me this year. His music, again, got me through the darkness by acknowledging its existence and raging back with its allegiance to flight.
Yesterday was hard. But not in the way I expected. When you’re approaching forty, life often feels harder than it needs to be. Some of us have lost our parents–or are starting to–and slowly, as time goes on, our heroes go too. Those people we thought were immortal. The ones that transcended space and time and showed us who we were. Artists are especially dear to me, I’ve found. They help me access the person I was when life was simpler. Maybe not good–but that is still mine.
Whenever someone’s heart just stops, I think of my Mama. Well, I think of her every day of my life–all day long. That is not new. But I specifically think of the day she died, and my heart breaks a little more because no one needs to die like that. And that was kind of what yesterday was: one wave of needless suffering after another. But then I remembered I could still sing along to that lush chorus, and I had another day in the sun to look forward to. And I decided then that I’d honor that suffering by ending my own as often as I could. And I could do that by accessing the gifts that man gave the world.
Thank you, sir.
Before we discuss the topic at hand, I kinda want to let y’all know something. I’ve really tried to shy away from sharing huge specifics about my love life (because it’s not just about me & what I want to share), but I do try to keep y’all in the loop because I do like to discuss shit that comes up for me in those relationships. Love is fertile ground for me in terms of learning about myself and how I want to be in the world. So, that said, while it’s still very-very-very new, I’ve met someone I’m pretty smitten with–and he’s an infp. It’s a bit like looking into a mirror at times, which is actually fairly amusing. We laugh so much, and he never tires of my crazy stories. My logic makes sense to him. There are some obstacles, of course, but I’ve been enjoying his company. He makes me feel special–which is super rare for my relationships. So, if I seem a little lighter these days, I probably am. I had basically given up any hope of finding even a strong friendship out here, and then this person showed up in my inbox. I’m not sure what will happen, but I’m certain it’s all good, and I’m just taking my time enjoying what is.
I’ve always been a huge believer in the idea that your mate should inspire you to be your best self. They should support your dreams, but also make sure you’re being true to yourself. If you change your mind about something, that should be okay too. They should want to understand you and want to be there with you for all the great things and the horrible things. I’ve had a lot of men in my life who were one or the other or they couldn’t allow me to change my mind. I’m a fickle girl–prone to massive about faces–so this flexibility is pretty important to me. In the end, this is all about loyalty. You may not understand my thought process, but you respect that I know what’s best for me…even if it makes you wonder who I am.
I try to be like that myself. In fact, as an infp, maybe my downfall is that I am too supportive. My other downfall? I see the good–and potential for greatness–in everyone. Seeing that greatness can be hard because, if someone isn’t ready for that greatness I see, it can be frustrating to watch them struggle. I want them to be themselves and to be truly happy–so seeing them not see what I see irritates me to no end. And I can get this malaise of disappointment because of it. It’s a little unfair, and I’ve been guilty of pushing people in ways that are not supportive.
I share all of this with you guys now because I realized today that I do this to myself, too. I know–deep in my bones–that I’m destined to make a big difference in the world. I recently came through a period that I can only describe as a dark night of the soul where I literally wondered if I was a good human being because I didn’t want to make a career out of rescuing people. It’s been a long lesson for me–and a devastating realization that maybe I’m not who I thought I’d be. But I knew I’m capable of great things, and that my lot in life is not just to make money, work, and retire.
I’ve always known I am a writer. Always. It’s my therapy, really, and it’s the way I connect to other humans most deeply. I often struggle with sharing who I am with people in person. I had a sort of a-ha moment about that recently when I realized I hadn’t really been me the entire time my last serious boyfriend lived with me. That constant requirement of intimacy caused parts of me to go into hiding–so I’m sure I felt very different to him–and he was just getting the surface shit I normally serve up when I’m being polite. Then my life sorta tailspinned, and I couldn’t let him in. No one’s fault, really. It needed time, and had we had that, he would have been let in. But that deep, painful intimacy most relationships need takes a while for me–especially when I’m licking my wounds. The truth is–that year was just the start of a multi-pronged realization that I wasn’t who I thought I was…that I didn’t want what I thought I wanted…that what I thought was good and healthy wasn’t healthy FOR ME. And welp, I’ve now done that work. My last therapy appointment was so positive. My therapist was so complimentary and so impressed with the work I mostly did on my own while we were on a short hiatus. She was proud of me. I was proud of myself. Strong. In a vulnerable way. Still terrified, but fully owning who I am.
So, here I am with this blank slate.
I can do anything.
This makes me cry. Like Mama dream tears.
I’ve always wanted freedom. As a little girl, my life was about obligation and duty. And I was happy to be all about that if it meant those I loved were okay. But it wasn’t okay.
I’ve lost literally everything about that old life. I feel like I’ve been burned alive, sometimes. But who I am–who I really am–is still here. And who I really am is someone who writes. Someone who watches. Someones not bound by anything.
The past several days have been kind of healing because–after all that introspection and tearing down bullshit and reasserting boundaries–I was given this gift of sharing who I was with someone who really valued it. Who wanted nothing from me except to know me. I told him so many stories, and I realized how much I fucking missed that.
I miss sharing what most people forget. I miss sharing the people I used to know.
So, I’m working on some things to create that life–that free life full of what I love. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, and it’s scary as fuck–but it’s mine. I know it. More mine than anything I ever worked for. And like fresh love, I’m going to let myself meander–find my path–figure it out. No rush.
I’ve always been in a rush, so this is going to be different.
I have a couple stories I’m writing in the meantime. Both of them, if they ever see the light of day, might get me burned at the stake of public opinion. One of them is about terrorism from a perspective most never have. It’s going to be a real stretch for me because it’s WAY out of my comfort zone. But I know I have it in me to do it, and if I write this thing, it can really change perceptions. It’s going to ask some tough questions about good and evil. It’s going to be unflinching. But more than anything, it’s going to be about human beings doing the best they can. No boogeymen. No fucking monsters. Just two little boys I knew once. The other one is going to be something I’ve wanted to write for a very long time about women–about my experience as a woman. And it’s going deep. It scares me to write it mostly because it’s shaking out all my BS and looking at it up-close. I think both these projects may be years in the making. I’m still setting up my French scenes, but I’m excited that I’m back, knee-deep into what has always been my home.
I think it’s going to be a good autumn/winter.
It feels like it’s been an eternity since I last posted because, well, it has been! Heh. Lots has happened in the last several days. I don’t necessarily feel like writing about it, though, but–needless to say–life is better than it was. I knew it would get better, and of course, it did. It always does. I’m still in a big transitional period, however, and that is still–often–annoying as Hell.
Anyway, I just thought I’d wave hello to let y’all know I’m alive and well. Maybe even happy. Or getting there. I feel like answering questions again (I know, I know). I promise I’ll write something real soon.
I’ve been tagged, and since it’s almost fall for most of the country, I figured I better answer sooner rather than later. (It’s 86 today after a week of 100+ temps as high as 110, so it’ll be summer here for quite a while longer…UGH). I’m not a fan of California. Let’s just say that.
Would You Rather…
Live in a tree house or a castle?
Tree house, without question. I have zero interest in castles.
Be able to sing beautifully or dance beautifully?
Definitely dancing. I’d much rather be graceful. And it translates to many other physical skills.
Ride a horse or a camel?
Horse. Camels are bitches, and they spit.
Know a fairy or a unicorn?
Unicorn. Fairies are bitches, too.
Have a backyard that was a huge bounce house or a huge ball pit?
Nope. Give me a pool or a garden. Actually, both a pool and a garden.
Travel or stay home?
A bit of both and a little of neither. Both would get tiresome in extremes.
Be able to fly or be able to breathe under water?
Fly. So I could rapidly get the heck away from humans and be able to go anywhere I wanted without relying on anyone or worrying about someone killing me on the way.
Know where you’re going or have it be a surprise?
Context is everything with this question. If someone was doing a special thing? Surprise. If I’m just dawdling about? I’d like to know what’s happening.
Be on a boat or on an airplane?
Neither. Airplane travel these days is absolutely wretched, and I don’t trust drunken boat guys. I also don’t enjoy rocking boats. I’d rather be on a train.
Be able to see in the dark or be able to never get tired?
Never get tired.
Go on a vacation to the beach or to the mountains?
Mountains. Fuck California.
Have picnics in the forest or in the park?
Neither. Lakes. Or living rooms.
Swim in the ocean or swim in a pool?
Be a dolphin or a cheetah?
Dolphin. They’re smarter and they don’t live in sweltering hot places.
Be able to make people laugh or be able to make people trust you?
Laugh. Nothing you do can really make someone trust you. Their trust in you is more about them than you.
Be surprised by a present or be able to pick what you get?
Eat popsicles or watermelon?
Watermelon. No question. Damnit. Now you reminded me I have no watermelon because California sucks, and the stores stock rotting fruit. I really, really wanted fresh fruit this weekend. Have I mentioned California sucks?
Go camping or stay in a hotel?
Camping. Unless it’s 100 degrees. But what self-respecting wilderness would tolerate that shit?
Make art or read?
Art. No question.
Experience an epic waterslide or an epic zip line?
Done both. Not so epic. But you do you.
A year ago this weekend, my roommates and I loaded up a massive SUV with a bunch of crap plus three cats. It was quite possibly the worst road trip in the history of road trips, and a year ago today was the longest leg–full of awesome vistas, lots of fighting, and massive delays. I can’t say anything really great about that trip except thank God I never have to do it again.
The move itself was similar. I had been trying to get out of CO for so long at that point, and it took months of packing–but even then–it was a trainwreck. On the plus side, I’ll never have that much shit again. Mostly because, after that, I will never allow that much shit to be in my home again.
Even up until that week, I had massive doubts about moving at all. A real part of me thought I was making a huge mistake. Life in CO was fine. I didn’t have to leave. But I was looking forward to lots of things. Where am I a year later?
I don’t know that I made the right choice. I don’t like it here. I don’t think I ever will. Has it been useful? Yes. Has it pushed me forward? Absolutely. Is this home? Fuck no. Am I staying here long-term? No. But it is what it is, and I am doing what I need to do.
I hate that phrase, but sometimes, it’s all you got.
I want to reflect on the year that was and the things I gained…the things I lost…and mostly what I’ve learned. Because it’s a lot. Rather than just bitching about stuff. Or romanticizing stuff.
Things Lost (let’s just get the hard stuff out of the way first, yea?)
What I’ve Learned: