i don’t know what we’ve been doing but the days are going by. we haven’t even turned on the TV yet where we are staying, and i haven’t read the news or watched a youtube video or anything since we got here.
it’s another reality. we are here. it’s a dream.
we packed up, emptied our loft, and left oakland on saturday july 28. we drove to tahoe, where our friends were camping. it wasn’t very far (4 of 48 hours of driving), but at least we were out. out of oakland. the next morning, as we hung out with our beloved friends in the sierra campground on an alpine lake and prepared ourselves to *really* hit the road, to leave California and its landscapes and temperate climate and our community behind, i had a bout with anxiety. shaking. breathless. panic. it took a while to calm down. we hit the road around 3pm and made it to Salt Lake City later that night.
sunday 29. SLC. not as beautiful as i thought it would be? or maybe i had the wrong viewpoint. not sure. but we weren’t there very long. we did find some really good vegan food @ http://sagescafe.com/
monday 30. we recalculated the schedule and determined we had an extra day, and decided we didn’t want to just keep heading east on 80 through northern utah and southern wyoming, and detoured south to Moab to visit the red canyonlands of Utah. we hit up a truck stop that included *both* an exotic petting zoo and monster trucks, arrived in the early evening, took a walk and went to the local brewery and then a dive bar. warm desert nights.
tues 31. Arches National Park. amazing. (photos) we spent a lot of hours out in the hot desert sun, and overheated a bit. loved climbing all the rock walls, went off trail a few times (i know it’s a park rule no no but COME ON. i need to climb on the big rocks). in retrospect we should have stayed in Moab again, but we hit the road around 3pm and drove to Denver. by the time we got there the mood was pretty exhausted and i sort of lost it for a little while. found a crappy hotel that we thought was by a park but turned out to be by the freeway/railyard.
the next morning jay had to move the van due to parking lot construction at the hotel and when he exited the parking lot he thought he could just come in the other side, but it turns out turning the corner was the onramp right onto the freeway. so i look out the hotel door and there is jay still in his pajama pants and flip flops, standing in the street with the van parked on the side of the freeway onramp with the blinkers on, him just shaking his head and waving his arms around in the air. it could have been another to add to the list of frustrating moments in the “we missed the exit/when the wrong way” on the trip, but instead i couldn’t help it, and i think just having released all the stress the night before, i just started laughing. i figured out what was going on and pointed at the curb. and jay got in the van and just drove it over the curb, back into the parking lot. and i kept laughing. because it was all really ridiculous.
wed Aug 1. we drove from denver, CO to lincoln, NE. stayed at nice hotel downtown. found an empty cocktail joint. not much happening in downtown Lincoln.
thurs 2.woke up and had a good vegan brunch at Maggie’s vegetarian restaurant (where the sandwich i ordered was recently declared the best in Nebraska!), and then drove the rest of the way across NE, through IA and IL, to Portage, Indiana, outside of Chicago/Gary and near where my dad grew up (Valparaiso) and my uncle lives and my grandparents just also happened to have driven up to from Florida and were visiting. made contact with them, planned brunch, went to bed.
fri 3. woke up and had brunch/lunch with my grandma and grandpa Porter and my uncle Mike LeBlanc (all of whom i haven’t seen in years!), and then drove off to Ann Arbor (MI). met up in the afternoon with Alison and Aaron, friends from SF who just recently moved to A2, then had dinner with jay’s family, then back to A2 for some late evening cocktails.
sat 4. got up, relaxed with the family for a bit, and then hit the road to new jersey. this was also somewhat momentous, as 14 years ago in the fall of 1998, jay and i did the same thing: left his mom’s house and drove off west to California.
we stayed in a nice hotel just outside of NYC – heavy anticipation!!
sun 5. got up and drove through Manhattan and into Brooklyn. met up with our sublet hosts (who have gone to Switzerland for the month to get married) who gave a quick tour and handed over the keys. a few awesome friends showed up to help us unload the van, and shortly after unloading we all headed out for food and beverages for the rest of the afternoon/evening.
we had arrived.
i was thinking before i left oakland/SF about how there i’d learned the city streets like country roads, and how disoriented i am now. i don’t know where they go, how they might change direction, where things intersect, how to get across/under the freeways. i am having to relearn all of this, and this is new york, so there are so many streets to learn. it isn’t a part of your brain that gets challenged much when you live in the same place for a long time.
so we’ve spent days and days now wandering around Williamsburg, figuring out the grid and geography and where do we want to live? near this, or that? in this type of building or that type? searching for apartments online, over and over again, phone calls and emails and walking to and from places. there are plenty of apartments, and most that we’ve looked at were totally livable/doable. we just have to decide. deciding is the hardest part. it’s a commitment, choosing where to live here. location defines so much of your life.
this past friday morning it rained quite a bit and then finally cooled off enough that i felt like i could go to yoga (can’t do it in the heat. will pass out.) my body was sort of wracked from all the moving and driving and stress and unusual habits and i needed to go. friends recommended a yoga center nearby and i signed up for what was listed as “rock and roll yoga” in the late afternoon because it sounded both fun and the level of practice i was looking for. upon arrival, i was really wound up. i was shaking. too much coffee, too much stress, to much uncertainty flowing through my body.
the instructor showed up, late and seemed a little shaken. she then proceeded to tell us about her day, complaining about a situation in which she went out of her way through traffic in both directions into manhattan during the hot afternoon with no a/c in the car to buy a bookshelf off craigslist that was then more expensive than agreed. and how frustrated and pissed off she was at the situation, and at herself for letting things she *wants* take over her life and affect the things she knows she *needs*. at first i was rather annoyed by the story, like she was kind of verbally letting off her steam at us, when we were there to do yoga. and i sat there a bit agitated, fidgeting. i needed the physical release of yoga. i didn’t want to sit and listen to some moralistic tale.
but then her story grew and had a realization point, and near the end i really resonated, as i’d just been struggling with the same thing in these last few weeks of moving/apartment searching. getting panicked, paranoid about things, and chasing them, creating stress and complications in your life instead of waiting until those things you want are easier to obtain and don’t compromise what you know you should be focused on doing. in the end of her story, her friend who had been with her during the day’s ordeal said to her: “relax. don’t worry. you will get your bookshelf. maybe not that one, but you will get one.”
and that hit me, and i realized that i too will get my bookshelf. i will get it. i need to slow down.
after that, the rest of the practice was amazing.
and now here we are, sunday night, one week after arrival. it’s still a little unreal that i won’t be going home. that this is where i am. i think when we sign a lease (soon, let’s hope) and stop living in someone else’s house it will feel much more real. and when i actually start school after labor day, which i haven’t *quite yet* started freaking out about. but for right now i am unemployed and it’s summertime in new york city, and this is my new life.
finally, i can’t even put into words how much i am so in love with and appreciate Jay through all of this. he is jumping off this cliff with me. it is so amazing to have someone hold your hand like this, to trust it’s all going to be ok.
Filed in autobiographical | Tagged with exploding dog, NYC, yoga | Comment (1)
the other night as we were falling asleep, jay asked: “what inspires you”. and i mumbled into the pillow: “optimists….”
when i said that, i was thinking mostly about the ongoing efforts and moving reports out of of Occupy Wall Street/occupy everywhere. but then yesterday we went to a baby shower that included (at least) 3 other pregnant friends besides the mom being showered. and during the part where people all gather as a group and speak their blessings for the parents-to-be, i looked around the room and thought about how incredibly optimistic you have to be to bring a child into this world we’re in right now, where most of the media is constantly negative, economies are in turmoil, practically everything our bodies touch and mouths eat is toxic, and is there any country on this planet that thinks their leaders are representing their best interests? and i thought about how hard it is for me to push aside all of the darkness, to focus on the good that is and can be created. and i was, in fact, inspired by the fact that so many of my friends believe in a beautiful future despite all this.
to mary and stephen: <3
(a little on the flip side: Hopelessness and hope. How can we love it all?)
later that evening, we went to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) 25-year celebration art and music ball. and there also, i was inspired. a crowd of people who believe not only in magic of human consciousness, but in actively fighting systems that try to oppress vehicles to greater health and knowledge in favor of corporate interests.
that and the psychedelic-influenced fashion, whimsically silly with a “i got dressed while high in the kostume kult tent at burning man” mix of sequins and yoga wear that states “i don’t give a fuck about societal norms” was entertaining, and yes, i dare say also inspiring. you might look kind of silly, but at least you look fun. maybe i’ve lived in northern california for too long, but weird in the face of normal is not only defiant, but also an expression of optimism.
i have my last 5 days of work this week before i take off for New York/Puerto Rico for the rest of the year. maintaining optimism is something i am continuing to work on as we ramp up to 2012. everyone: keep up the good.Filed in autobiographical | Tagged with #ows, exploding dog, optimism/pessimism | Comment (0)
i think my writing has improved considerably, but this hasn’t really become anything other than what it’s always been. and that’s fine with me. it warms my heart when other people say they like/read my blog, even though the amount of content has dropped off due to a lot more of my commentary going through twitter and gReader, but i still actually feel a little sad when people i assume to be my friends (or my PARENTS) don’t read this, because while those other outlets are more interactive, this is where i write the things i really want to remember. the personal stuff.
on a larger scale, thinking about me in 2001 vs. me in 2011 is on the one hand pleasant (still sticking to my guns on ethics/lifestyle, no major life calamities have occurred, i’m happy and healthy person) and on the other hand sort of depressing. i am living almost the same life now as i was 10 years ago. same city. same partner. SAME JOB.
also: i turn 35 this year. shouldn’t i have done something by now? i don’t mean marriage/house/kids/grad school/standard metrics of growth. i mean….. something **ME**. something more than what i’ve done. some boundaries pushed. something of ME to show. something that FEELS substantial. but what is that? GAH. i don’t know. that’s what drives me crazy (and i’m sure i’ve driven some of my friends crazy going around and around about it too). i haven’t accomplished anything really personally noteworthy yet and i feel like i’ve already “settled down” not just without meaning to but in fact, actively working against. how does that happen?
this post took me a couple of weeks to write because of all the things going on and also because it just sounded repetitive and whiny (eh, still does). but i spent a lot of time thinking about it – this 10 year period – and when i really thought about it, one significant change is that 10 years ago, i worried a lot about being pretty enough. i’m (sort of) done with that. now i worry a lot about being smart enough.
also: the realization that knowing who you are and knowing what you want to be are TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS. now that i think i have a fairly good grip on the former, the latter is really starting to make me angsty. (yes, i know that this is a Beatles song, ORANGE.)
in general, things are feeling really purgatorial here in my life. February has been rough for me emotionally, and i have some spirits dwelling in me that need to be exorcised. March 2011 is going to involve some exorcisms. some will be gentle. others might hurt. the rest of 2011 then needs to involve something that feels substantial. i really don’t want to delve more into that right now. just know that i think about it all the time, and whatever happens, this blog is where it will be recorded. because this is my autobiography.Filed in autobiographical, blogging | Tagged with exploding dog | Comment (0)
it’s hard to not have high expectations of someone who is capable of so much.
so much passion. so much life. so much beauty. so much spirit. so much love.
but expectations get us no where. only trust that it all will be.
if i have faith in anything, it’s you.
today is my 34th birthday.
a year ago today, we were in Prague, and that seems so, so long ago. for some weeks now, i have been noting how long this year+ has felt to me, in many ways.
since last august, i have been to 8 countries (not including Canada). traveling has been something i’ve always dreamed of, always wanted to do when i was young and poor, and only in the last few years have i had both the time and money to be able to really do it. this has made my life so much richer, feel so much bigger and opened up to the world to me. other people, other music, other cultures, other foods, other forests, other mountains, other cities – i find everything so interesting, the micro complexities and the macro homogeny. i am completely enamoured with this planet and i want to see everything. traveling took up most of my extra time, money and energy this past year but it’s what has made the last year my life really start become the life i’ve been working toward.
for those following along you also know that since last fall, i’ve been dealing with chronic pain. it was particularly bad in november-february, and i spent so much time and money seeing all kinds of doctors and healers that it also made that time period feel long and drawn out. i still wake up some mornings with a fair amount of pain in my neck and right shoulder, but it is no longer debilitating and i am off taking pain meds most of the time. i will admit, though, it is the one thing that is really making me start to “feel my age”, and at times it sort of freaks me out for moment. on the flip side, because of all the bodywork and exercise i’ve done to try to alleviate the pain problem, it’s possible that right now i’m in the best physical shape i have been since high school!
finally, there is also some undefinable shift/change going on inside me. i don’t quite know how to put it into words, really, but i think going to burning man without jay this year was a big part of it. as i noted at the end there, i felt some definitive growth. i spent a lot of my youth feeling a victim. of my past, of my economy, of my insecurities, of my sex, of my culture. but i think i’m slowly breaking out of that. it isn’t consistent but i now feel a soft confidence that was definitely not there before.
big <3 to all my friends and family who have encouraged and supported me through both my pain and my wandering endeavors. 33 was an amazing year. i'm thinking 34 might be even better.