Wanderlust

Photo Nov 26, 6 25 14 AM

The need to flee. Maybe you know the feeling.

That sudden and visceral desire to reinvent yourself — become something new. Someone new. Somewhere else. Anywhere but here.

In 12-Step meetings, it’s called a “Geographic.” But, for me, it’s simply: “Get me the fuck outta here.”

Some mornings, I wake up an Oregonian. I breathe in damp, green air and when I get home from work I kick my soggy, brown, cowboy boots off at the door. I take long walks at 4:45AM where I feel like I might be the last human alive on Earth. I stand under impossibly tall pine trees and feel, actually feel — real as any human touch — my own smallness. This place makes me right sized. I have lost everything here. And, I have picked up all my broken pieces and assembled a mosaic that even I can admire. In Oregon, my alone-ness crowns me a true pioneer woman.

Other mornings, I wake up, and I’m still a wild New Yorker. Blood pumps hot and fast through my veins, all of which wind through my Brooklyn-girl-body like Subway tracks. Most days, I swear, my car starts to drive toward the airport without any help from my hands. I’m ready to max out, not one — but all, of my credit cards. I’m ready to fly. To disappear into some vast unknown — one that I’m sure will envelop me, cradle me, shower me with all the love and fulfillment that seems to elude me here. I write imaginary letters to all my friends living abroad: “Do you need a butler? I’m available.”

Please. Someone. Anyone. — Get me the fuck outta here.

I’m pretty certain that, in some ways, sobriety has made me loonier than I’d been at the onset. Now that I’m free of the drugs and the booze — I want to be free of everything else too. I want to start over where no one knows me. I want to leave behind all these conceptions of myself that have been fostered for too many years. I want to call my mother from somewhere in Bumblefuck, France and tell her that everything was worth it. — The taxing phone calls. The pain. The tears. The broken hearts. The unrealized dreams. I want to tell her that the foreign skies have washed me with their rain. I want to tell her that I’m standing, soaked, in front of some ancient monument — smiling. Everything smells different. Everything feels different. I am young again in a place that’s too old to care. I yearn to choke on some other language, only to wake up one morning, breathing big, clean breaths — erupting — singing a song I barely understand to a sun I’ve never seen before.

But, instead, I text message my mother from the floor of my apartment in SE Portland, where I sit cross-legged in front of the tall, white heater. I wipe tears from the corners of my American eyes. And I think, maybe, it is better to run toward something than it is to run away from it.

“Mom, can I come home for Christmas?”

 

 

 

 

 

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Bed Rest

Christina's+Bedroom

This past week, while quarantined in my bed with an unknown virus, I had a pseudo-shaman-eureka-moment.

Maybe it was the dehydration, or, maybe it was the 19 hours of sleep that I got the night before, but, I woke up to find shadows dancing on the ceiling, feeling completely alone, and yet, somehow, completely capable of caring for my own well being. After years of feeling like a perpetual child, I had a moment where I began to understand, I think, it what it is to actually be an adult — it was completely devastating — and liberating.

I would never have arrived at this moment if I weren’t sober. Because, self-reliance isn’t something you find at the bottom of a rocks glass. In my drinking days I was reliant on at least 1 other person at all times — a Mr. Jim Beam — and most of the time,  2 people, if we’re counting Tony — my favorite bartender.

How did I get here — Sobriety? Adulthood? When did I become responsible enough to care for this person?

I can hardly remember. And, I still forget my own strength. I’ve always pawned my victories. There’s something incredibly scary about being in control, especially when you feel like you should be anything but.

In my sick bed — bored with streaming television, fatigued by books, and with little energy to move, I found myself wondering when my determination, my heart — the parts that got me sober — stopped beating with wild fervor. Sure, I still go through the motions. I take my obligatory morning shower. I sit in traffic. I shuffle my feet to work. I chuckle at my boss’ jokes. But, everyday, I’m still just waiting. Waiting for something to happen.

When did I stop getting out of bed? I’ve been ill for a week, but, it feels like so, so much longer.

Staring at the ceiling, things start to come together. Though, truly, nothing really comes to us while we’re laying in bed — or while we’re standing still. The universe has never been perfect or logical or sequential when delivering the goods. I’ve always had to meet the stars half way.

I must choreograph the movements. I have to dance it. To make it. To write it. And for the first time I think, maybe, I get it: You have to treat adulthood the same way you would alcoholism or the flu. — Sleep it off.

I decide to set my alarm. I’m getting up. I’m going.

I’ve got plans to meet the stars half way there.

 

 

**Artwork By: Andrew Wyeth; Christina’s Bedroom, 1947, Watercolor on Paper.

You Crazy Diamond

Photo Nov 11, 11 14 12 AM

Light is a sort of magic to which I will be forever drawn.

I long to capture the intricate details of light’s dance with my darkness. But, the beauty there is one that my own words fail to express. I still take comfort in spelling it out on a blank page: L-I-G-H-T. The kind that’s too bright be ignored. — It’s a part of my make up. I know where to look for it.

I always end up losing my light — only to find it in the most obvious of places. Haven’t I learned? Everything remains the same. I go back to the beginning. People come and people go. The illusion is created that, maybe, this time, it’ll all be very different. I battle and find peace in my continual “same-ness.” It’s like being stuck and moving simultaneously.

The cure for a case of chronic same-ness is to attach yourself to a great adventurer. I’ve been known to love the type before. The person that can’t sit in the same chair twice. The one who isn’t happy unless they are doing something wild. They travel incessantly. They change their minds mid-sentence. They show up late. They forget to breathe. They find no comfort in space. They have no attachment to home. They need something different. Something uncharted. And soon, they’ll be gone. Because, if you can say it’s yours — you’ve stayed too long.

Me, I find beauty in the nuance of my same-ness. I see where little things have changed. I note the sky’s movements. How clouds morph and disappear. I watch as the sun cloaks itself, then undresses — yellow light spilling over the trees outside my apartment window. And, when the windows black out, my perfect sky fading to black, and sinister clouds move in — I seek it out. My L-I-G-H-T . After standing in the dark too long, my branches arch toward the sun. My bones know the way, even if my eyes cannot see.

I stand still again. I listen to Pink Floyd albums while I’m in the shower. I know all the words, but, I’m singing to myself. The same song plays. — Only this time, it sounds different.

Remember when you were young? You shone like the sun.

People always get it wrong. Light. Dark. It’s never one versus the other — It’s the balance. The Dance. The Yin. The Yang. The Lost. The Found. Cyclical things. Intricately linked in the space time continuum. Weighted in eternity. Ancient and unchangeable. Every day, the sun remains our flare. It shoots up the signal in ever-changing same-ness. It announces a new day. One where everything is unwritten.

L-I-G-H-T.

Shine On, You Crazy Diamond.

All Roads Lead To Rome

 

Photo Nov 05, 6 46 45 AM

I am a terrible navigator.

Since getting sober, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been lost. Whenever I find myself rehashing my own mistakes, re-examining all the wrong turns, I pick up one of my 12-Step coins. I let it warm my hands. My time — encapsulated in a little, metal circle. A reminder that things are only as far away from us as we allow them to be. I find myself asking — again: Why did I choose this direction? How has all this time gotten away from me?

I’ve stayed on the wrong road before — even when I knew I’d end up lost. Is it fear I’ll never find the right road that keeps me trudging, ever onward? Fear that I’ll become even more lost than I already am? Why don’t I just turn back and ask for directions at the gas station 15 miles behind me? I don’t know — and it’s my guess that I’m not meant to.

So, I consider it — staying on this road that will eventually spit me out somewhere unplanned.

New warning signs come from behind me, swept up in an autumn breeze that pulls the leaves off the tree of my sobriety. I’m having trouble deciphering my marching orders from the things I’m supposed to ignore. Can something be right and wrong simultaneously? Probably. But, as usual, everything I wish were clear — isn’t. The longer I stay here, walking endlessly forward, the closer the answer becomes:  The truth — That’s the road I want. Even if is does go on forever, without mercy.

Yes. Sweet, sweet honesty. The bring-er of all things unpleasant. A truth that will require my admitting that, yes, I turned down this — the wrong road — willingly. All these crooked turns live somewhere in my heart. My own decisions are at the eye of the storm. I want to hide it, my creased map of poor choices. But, a lesson I’ve learned for certain: Bottling up this kind of truth — is dangerous. Risky-fucking-business. Once sealed, the pressure mounts. The truth will attempt an escape before I’m ready. But, ready or not, here it comes.

So, I pay a visit to a person I trust. I unleash the beast. Because, sometimes, you have to let the truth out, first, to the wrong party. You have to say the words. You have to let the truth wet your lips before you seek out its intended recipient. When you’ve got a bottle of truth, you’ve got two options — drink it or spill it.

I decide to spill. I pour it out like a bottle of cheap, red wine. I let it stain the carpet.

The truth is, sometimes, I take the wrong road on purpose. Because, sometimes, that’s the only way you’ll find it —

The road that leads you home.