On the longest day of the year of 2013, our intrepid adventurer set forth on a cross country trek. Her Penske was packed with memories, regrets and 9 cats. Her heart, heavy; her soul, saddle sore. With a Solstice moon and a concerned mother to lead her, she spent 5 long days putting miles between her latest failure and her heart-sick self. Meaning that one year ago TODAY, she arrived in North Carolina to begin her "new life."
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I'd love to tell you that every day since then has been positive, that I'm healed and happy. But I like to keep this blog an actual representation of my life, not a flowery illusion of what I'd like my life to look like. And recovery takes time... three steps forward, two steps back. Behavioral tendencies that have lasted a lifetime don't get suddenly retrained in a month. Back-slides happen, patterns repeat. Auto-pilot is a dangerous way to drive through life, but it's damn easy to slip into.
Then again, I've always been my toughest critic... so let me take a moment to focus on the positive. I AM DOING IT. Every morning I get up, whether I write in a journal, take a long hike in the mountains, show up at my job, or pay off a little more debt, I am taking a step on this new path. Building a new foundation takes an irritatingly long time, especially when you start deeply in a hole (emotionally and financially) as I did. But the key is showing up, and I'm still doing that.
I'm learning to listen to and trust my intuition again. I'm still not great about taking action in accordance with the little voice in my head, but at least I've stopped dismissing it. My faith in my gods is shaken and distant, but I still have an altar. After weeks of feeling stuck, yesterday I took the time to change out all the candles and incense, switching from woodsy dusky scents to bright florals and fruits, and WHAM suddenly I could smell the arrival of Summer in my home. For a moment, my heat and passion were re-ignited along with candle wicks, and I went to bed with a sense of hope instead of with a body weary from dread and resignation.
Today, I'm working a half-day, so I have the morning to drink a hot cup of tea, snuggle with the kitties, center myself and reflect. I can hear the wind outside shaking the multitude of vibrant green leaves in my front yard. I will fold the clean laundry, and sort out which bills can be paid out of the paycheck that comes tomorrow. I will try to put together a list of the ways in which my life is better than it was a year ago.
I cry less. That's a start.
I'm surrounded by kindness. That's good too.
I can breathe in moist, clean air, juicy with the smells of raw nature. That always make me smile.
Los Angeles is like that friend we all have.... the one talks a little too loud, who takes a little too much energy. The one who always makes the conversation about her, but then leaves you to pick up the lunch tab. And yet, now that she is missing from my life, I find she has left a hole there is no filler for.
The High Country however, is a wall flower. Prettier than she realizes, she sits quietly along the sidelines of the gym dance and waits for you to initiate contact. She's hard to get to know, but if you can get her talking in a one-on-one conversation, you can watch her eyes light up, be seduced by her soft giggle, and realize there's a lot more there than seems at first glance.
Re-reading those descriptions, I realize that I'm a lot more LA than I ever will be North Carolina. I'm pretty sure this is only a temporary destination for me, a rest stop on the highway where I refuel and recover, but while I'm here, I'm striving to make friends with the shy girl, learn what I can from her secrets, heal the wounds I acquired living in the flashy big city. There's a gentleness here that allows time for recovery, and if I can just drop into that slow, Southern rhythm, I just might be able to be compassionate and patient with my own learning curve.
One year later, I'm not where I wanted to be. I'm not where I thought I would be. But I'm not dead... not even overwhelmed right now. Just moving slowly forward. It's a quiet anniversary, but it is not a sad one.