Music: Thelonius Monk – Live at the It Club
Drink: Deschutes Brewery Swivelhead Red
Two years and some months ago, my father and I were talking on the phone – me in Brooklyn, him in Los Angeles. He told me:
“You know, you don’t have to do the whole five months or whatever of this trip. You don’t have to prove anything to anyone and if you get out there and you don’t like it, you don’t have to stay.”
I was mildly offended at the time. I was so excited about the unknown ahead of me. The adventure that awaited. The person I would discover. And, if you know me, you know I can be pretty stubborn – chalk that up to my Taurus nature. I was going to do this and I was going to do it to the fullest. It would be completed! Why did he think otherwise? Why was he trying to give me an out?
Cut to now. I finally get what he meant. This trip has been in the background of my life since November 8, 2015 when I made the decision to stay in Austin for the time being. I always knew, eventually, I would make the opportunity to finish exploring the West. Or at least, explore some of it. But, my heart hasn’t been in this like it was last time, when I was appalled at the idea of ever bowing out of something of this caliber. Something I’d spent MONTHS saving for. Something for which I’d spent hours diligently researching the eventual remodel of my car. But, I can see the potential out now. The possibility that I don’t complete what I say I want to.
When I was younger, I wanted to be this strong, independent woman, but never truly felt that way. To be honest, I’m not sure why – I had all the makings of one. But, I didn't feel it in my bones. It felt something closer to a “fake it 'til you make it” situation. When I traveled on the road in 2015, there was a point maybe in September or October, where I finally felt like the woman I’d always wanted to be. I’m not entirely sure why it took so long. Maybe it required stripping away all the outside distraction. Or taking care of myself in such a simple, but difficult way. But it was on the road where I felt the most settled into the idea of the woman I’d wanted to be since I was in my early 20s.
I think I’ve taken on that same “fake it ‘til you make it” behavior with this trip. If I say it out loud enough. If I tell strangers about my planned route, that it is an extension of my last trip, a completion, a coming home to this place I felt my most true, then I will start to believe it myself.
And that could very well still happen. It might be that I just need some time still to settle into this life again. But I think I'm also coming to terms with the potential that it might not be in the cards this time. I might bow out. I might not make it four months. Or five. Or whatever the hell I keep telling folks. This is not me saying that I’m planning to cut things short. It’s me saying that I understand where my dad was coming from those two years and some months ago.
PS, it feel good to, at least for tonight, get past this writer’s block.