Disclaimer: This post is a little touchy feely/woo-woo. Prepare yourself.
You know that feeling you get when you just vibe with a place? It’s like your body relaxes and you feel a sense of being right where you should be at that moment in time. A friend described it recently as "being in a harmonic vibration with your surroundings.” It is a lot like when just the right song comes on when you need to heat it the most. I have written about this feeling when I lived in San Francisco and while visiting in Portland. Colorado: not so much.
I have visited Colorado dozens of times. Growing up in Albuquerque, Denver was one of the closest big cities and was often an overnight or weekend road trip. I have camped, visited friends, driven through, had my heart broken, broken others hearts, danced all night, and all stayed in quite a few places. Me and Colorado are well acquainted. Once I even drove 5 and a half hours up with friends just to buy a pack of clove cigarettes when they were all the rage and not available in New Mexico. I have had a lot of fun and some really bad trips, but, in all of those times I have never been able to set my compass on where I am or where I am going. I feel lost, stressed, and panicked whether in traffic or on the open road. Once, I got altitude sickness on a family vacation so bad I had to suck on a can of oxygen (I thought that was a gag in Spaceballs, but it is in fact a real thing. Who knew?). Because I live at about the altitude of Denver and have traveled to many other high altitude places, I will attribute this (perhaps somewhat unfairly, I admit) to the level of unexplained anxiety that I get when visiting Colorado.
I guess given my history with Colorado, it was possibly not the best choice for a weekend retreat to reset after a busy summer. I was attracted by the idea of getting to be an off the grid introvert in a judgement free zone. Originally, I was going to come right before my 40th birthday last April, but life happened and here we are. Maybe I am just trying to hard to make sense of my literal place in the world, but I like to be clear about where I stand with a place when I visit. Don’t get me wrong, Colorado can be one of the most beautiful places (the picture below are evidence of that) and I have had lots of good times. In fact, I will be back in just a few weeks to see one of my favorite bands. But taking this trip, it occurred to me how this year of travel has changed the way I see the places I visit and Colorado came into focus as a place that has never called to me.
As the heat presses down and the smell of summer storms surrounds me,
I am unable to avoid the thought of you.
The hope that in the autumn of our lives we found something real
and falling leaves signify the end of searching for someone to travel with into winter.
Someone to hold close and embrace in the cold as we move to another year.
Another chance to get it right and welcome the coming of spring
as we celebrate the beauty of something new.
Loyal, Organized, Efficient, Leader, Funny, Smart, Good Listener:
These are label I often use to talk about myself and traits others say they admire about me. But for the last year or so, sudden and spontaneous have been hallmarks for my life. There was a recklessness to how I fell in love, a suddenness to the loss, and an insane amount of spontaneity in my decision making over the past year. People I don’t know, and many I do, have been using words like brave, vulnerable, sexy, and insightful to describe me. I don’t know about any of that. I do know I was changed this past year and have felt more me since last autumn, than in a long time. I have taken all the spontaneity that allowed me to love someone else and let it lead me to love myself too, which is maybe what I was doing all along and why things are the way they are. So, here I am.
As I get better at being me, I have also embraced my love of spontaneous travel planning. That moment you decide to go somewhere, buy the ticket, and get to look forward to it. This July, I knew that I would have a week on my own and, given my wanderlust, decided to not just work and enjoy a quiet house, but to visit family in the Pacific Northwest and escape from the heat of the desert. Knowing I would also be coming off of a trip to Washington DC, which is always a hot and exhausting experience in summer, especially with a small child, also made this an easy decision. When looking for a ticket, I noticed that I could return with two one ways and stop in Denver for about the same price as having a layover there and be able to catch one of my favorite bands and see an old friend. This was a bit of a budget stretch for me, but I managed to piece it together for pretty cheap (staying with family most of the time helped). A week of cool temps, great music, family, laughter, record shops, exploring, and a little alone time to top it off--sign me up!
With joyful abandon I made the impulsive decision to do it. In my mind I thought it would be a week distanced from daily responsibility and see how I felt to be in a place I love and just be me: not mom me, or work me, or friend, keep it together, clean your house/take care of things me, but uninhibited me, the me I want to be when I am stressed and feel like I am so extended I have nothing left for myself. Well, that did and didn’t happen.
I am thinking about you
I miss you
I want to share music with you
Something makes me laugh
And I know you would too
I remember that you know
That I am waiting
And that this is your choice
To not share or laugh
That I told you I was here
When you were ready
I am ok with waiting
Because I know that I said everything I felt
That I stood up for what I deserve
Closure or another chance
But sometimes I cry and
I want you in my life
I miss you and get mad
At myself for thinking
you would be there
Because you aren’t here
I was wrong
Like I have been before
Like I will be again
Like I am
And I question if you were real
If you miss me too
And if you are wondering
If I you should reach out
And the answer is yes
The past week brought me a few personal revelations. Some silly, like: I have nothing left to say, why did I start this blog? Some more realistic: Isn’t it funny how you can think you are doing really well and then totally fall apart? And some ironic: For someone who cries almost daily, how do I get a clogged tear duct?
On my way to New York I was shut down, struggling to find tears and looking for beauty and poetry in books and my playlist to evoke real emotion and connection. I think that it is the power of art to remind you of your true heart. Often, and especially when facing a difficult personal transition, you don’t ease into the next stage right away because you need to recover or find who you are in uncharted circumstances. I don’t think I fully appreciated until recently that not being able to move on can be because you are still as attached as ever to a person, idea, or location. Which is fucked up, because time has moved you to places that make it impossible to go back, to return to what once was once new, pure, and beautiful.
Visiting New York again this year under very different emotional and physical circumstances: no blizzard to trek through, no company to entertain me, and three months of personal exploration (notice the avoidance of the word growth) to shape my experience. Everything has changed, I have changed, but I feel just as raw emotionally as I did months ago, like not a day has passed. It’s like a song keeps playing in my head and I need to figure out what it has to say. I honestly have no idea how much longer it will take for me to shift and begin to feel a sense of anger, release, or reconciliation. But, I do know that challenging myself to get out in the world is remaking me a little more everyday. Into what? Still not sure...