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Whoops (Part Two)
The riveting sequel you've been waiting for.
The fights were a blessing. I had never had an outlet for pure anger before. As a teenager, I remember taking my rage out by hitting the trees in our front yard with a softball bat (sorry, trees!) But emoting loudly in the presence of another would go against my charter as a woman to be kind, agreeable, cool, and not too much.
Screaming at Marco was liberating. I’d never been able to be a total bitch before! In girl world, getting angry can get you cast out of society, so calling him fucking delusional felt incredible. At the same time, I understood how lucky I was to be with someone who could recognize my clunky forays into rage as (mostly) healthy expression. Once safely outside of the trance of the fights, elevated from the perspective of a wounded teenager who needed to be heard, I was so, so thankful. And through these emotive explosions, a neglected piece of me was freed from the cage it had been in since I put down the bat.
It was after one of these fights that I found myself glaring out at the tarmac of Dallas Fort Worth International on our way to the West Coast. With vision bleary from crying, arms folded tight against my chest, I finally gave up. "Fine. I’m so sick of talking about this. We can rent out the house, but you have to be in charge of everything."
He was excited and accepted my terms. Even though my ego had “lost,” I felt lighter.
Twenty-four hours later we were on a rooftop in Hollywood, having drinks with a buddy of his who told us he was subletting his place for a few months. A glance danced between us. We drove down the buzzing streets of the city Marco promised he would never return to for longer than a visit and giggled at the prospect, noting that this was the same energy that brought us together in the first place, 3000 miles from our home state in a house on a mountain in Appalachia. It was serendipity.
For the next six weeks, we swam in that feeling and tidied things up in Asheville. We sought the right renters and lease terms that let us keep our house while we bopped around the planet like we were called to do, freed from the obligations of our forever lives.
Because every time we left our idyllic mountain life, we felt an undeniable shift. Our power dynamics changed. We found our level and realized we liked each other more through the collaboration of being in the world together. And I feel obligated to note that we’re not what you’d think of when you think of millennial travelers. Hardly Insta-worthy, we’re serious homebodies who prefer novels to nightlife. We stick to consistent work schedules and pre-planned social outings. We make simple dinners and take post-meal walks. We apply our love of consistency to our shared wanderlust — so we can have both, wherever we go.
We Are Here
So when we spent ten days driving across the country, we simply acted out our routines in Nashville, Ft. Worth, Tucson, and Palm Springs. We had meaty picnics in New Mexico and watched the sun rise over the mountains from a lazy river in the desert. We rediscovered creativity in consistency and vice versa. And it was FUN.
I talk a lot about how I don’t believe in failure. I believe in nudges and re-directs and smashing into and away from things to find more alignment. Maybe that’s how I cope with not getting what I want. But if I think about my life today - I don’t think that’s true. Every place I go adds a layer to my experience. Every mile traveled makes it harder to sit still for too long. I know too much, I’ve seen too much to be content with one place. I’ve known this all along, but either I forgot, or I was too afraid to admit it. I may be a hopeless wanderer after all.
Today, I’m writing from an apartment in Hollywood. We left a life we loved in Asheville to pursue something else. And even though we truly loved our life there, our house, our friends, our rhododendrons, we had to recognize that loving something doesn't mean sticking with it forever. Something can be beautiful and incredible and not for you - at least not yet.
As a bonus, for the first time in forever, when someone asks me where I’m from, I can say “I’m from here” and mean it, because I was born right on the other side of those mountains. It was in the next valley over that I first found my voice, and that was probably the last time I got away with being loud about my big feelings without being shushed or shrunken. So when our after-dinner walks take us to commune with the coyotes in Griffith Park, I feel my DNA recognizing itself in the curves of these streets and the smell of rosemary and the purple city sky. And I wonder if I feel alive because of that particular set of circumstances or simply because, for right now, it’s still shiny and new.
What I’m trying to take away from this experience is compassion for the part of me that loves to explore, and that sometimes needs to ground and settle. The part of me that makes grand proclamations that end up only lasting a few weeks. I do love her enthusiasm. It’s a great companion on this epic road trip of existence. And she’s half of a balanced whole that craves stability and wanderlust in turn and craves the richness of experience that you can sometimes only have with fresh, new eyes.
As the seasons change (well, not here), so will we. And it’s in those cycles of adaptation that I’ll keep finding my voice. Whether I’m rooted in place or dancing to the rhythm of the open road, it’s in my wandering heart that wonder finds a home.