Posts Tagged ‘home’

After three states, a pause in Seattle. Now, on to the great Alaska highway (aka this week in pictures)

June 2, 2013  |  journal entries  |  1 Comment

Well, hi. I’m in Seattle tonight, but it’s the last night here before rife and I and his puppy begin the five-day drive to my hometown in southeast Alaska.

It’s been an incredible journey so far. Though the drive from San Francisco to Seattle could be feasibly done in a (long) day, I took my time and leisurely drove through Oregon, watching the ground change from brown & tan grass and green trees to green grass and evergreen trees. Forest green, I think they call that color.

This week in pictures
pit stop in southern Oregon

This week in pictures
Southern Oregon

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faery sanctuary at Wolf Creek, Oregon

This week in pictures
Black Butte, next to Mt Shasta, Oregon

I had this illusion like I would still be able to write stories and follow up on things while I was on the road. Um, so that has not really happened yet. Which means I haven’t sent a) the dirty story that I promised when you donated some $$, or b) the information about the internship position for Sugarbutch for the summer. Sorry about that. I promise they are coming, and will magically appear in your inbox at just precisely the right moment (for those of you who asked about those things). Sometimes reality checks are fantastic, and I’m observing my behavior and the reality of the situation a lot, trying to take it in and realize what I am actually capable of. I’ll be honest, I miss spending a significant chunk of time each day at my desk, at a computer, but I’m also very glad to be outside, exploring, interacting, adventuring.

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Portland tour! Stumptown & Voodoo Donuts (Joe had to get the pink donut)

This week in pictures

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Mt Rainier national park

This week in pictures
Seattle. (Exhale. Nowhere else feels quite like home the way Seattle does.)

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Greenlake, one of my favorite Seattle parks | Polaris Leather Family crest, who so graciously put us up this entire week | sunset from the Edmonds-Kingston ferry when we made a quick jaunt over to the Olympic penninsula

This week in pictures
Seattle forest view from a dog park

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Shilshole Marina | boy on the friend’s boat | the Chittenden locks, where the man-made ship canal connects the lakes to the sound

This week in pictures
At the poetry benefit show for Tara Hardy, which blew me away. She has been one of my great life mentors, and she’s recently developed a pretty severe auto-immune disorder (among, it seems, some other things). The community rally to support her has been huge, and I just happened to be in town when a community fundraising show was going on.

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Fremont (Center of the Universe) | University of Washington! the dog in the quad & the broken obelisk

This week in pictures
Coyote Grace at the Triple Door in Seattle. If you aren’t listening to their music (and you’re a fan of smart queer poetic folk-country), you are missing out.

Rife and I mapped out the drive between here and southeast Alaska this morning, and I think it’s going to take about five days, but we’ll be stopping at some beautiful places, including Takhini Hot Springs near Whitehorse, YT, which used to be a family vacation for me as a kid and which I haven’t visited for probably twenty years. It’s such a beautiful drive and I’m really looking forward to seeing the Rockies and the continental divide and the mountains and forests of my childhood.

I ran into a friend tonight (I run into a lot of people here) who asked what I was up to, and I said I was on my way home, mentioned that my dad died last year and that my mom was about to retire and his estate still needs a lot of work to settle, and that in addition to the help I can offer, I’m going through a big transition (breakup, move across the country) and sorting through “stuff” and making order out of chaos sounds so healing right now. I still seek and need integration time. That’s the purpose of this.

And while I still feel like that is just out of reach, it’s been incredible to spend a week in Seattle, to visit my godson and my favorite people and old and new friends, to go around to many of my old haunts, to introduce my boy to my people and my many Seattle reference points, and to just feel the earth here for a while. My parents both went to my alma matter, too, and spent many years here … I’m just so comfortable here. Which, to be honest, is part of why I left—I liked it so much, but it was the first place I really landed after leaving home, isn’t there some better place out there for me? Turns out, after criss-cross traveling this country for the last four years, there’s not really. Sure, many other cities are wonderful, but this one still calls me.

I have SO many more thoughts and things to write about, I have been scribbling like crazy in my notebook about posts and outlines and theories to flesh out. Still working on the follow through, the preparation it takes to hit that “publish” button.

But for now, tonight, it’s time to call it a day and get some rest before putting the car in drive and aiming north.

For more shots not published here, check out mrsexsmith on Instagram & follow along in my adventures.

Shadow Comforts

May 9, 2013  |  journal entries  |  2 Comments

“Put nothing between yourself and your grief.” —Tara Hardy

So I get raw. Strip away that which makes me numb. I try to substitute something else, unconsciously, until I realize and strip that away too. Showering feels good, turning up the water just a little too hot. That wakes me. Movement feels good, but I am so sluggish I can rarely remember to do it. Like my brain tricks me to stay still and not feel. Close and collapse and tighten, it silently urges.

But I don’t want to.

It’s so much easier to push it down, push it away. Easier to numb out the heart. Easier to harden. In some ways, I wish I was that kind of person. I miss the ability to turn things on and off. Or—can you miss something you’ve never had? I am envious of it. Want more of it in my own life. Want a little light switch on the back of my neck. That’d make for an interesting tattoo. I have enough marks but sometimes I seek more needles, more things staring at me, yelling, you survived. Marking time passing. Marking a different state, so I can remember that things always, inevitably, change.

I have thrown myself into shadow comforts. Films, tv shows, food, alcohol, sex, power. I even started smoking again. Quit now, once I left New York there wasn’t quite the need to regulate my anxiety so daily. I caught a cough the week I came here and didn’t shake it for long enough to stop wanting them every couple hours. I wonder if the same will happen for a drink. Still, in the evening, when I’m done working, when the boy comes home from work, I crave a little something in my glass. Something liquid and smoky to sip on. Ice cubes clinking.

I lied. I do want to.

But I’m trying not to. I’m trying to be aware. My brain that is seeking aliveness, awakeness is sometimes at odds with the part of me that screams, I can’t feel anymore of that stop just make it stop I don’t care what I have to do just stop. Take a deep breath. Feel down into my feet. It will pass. It’s probably temporary. Just wait, and feel it, and be still.

Those are the easy shadow comforts. There’s also Facebook, reading things online but not really reading them, being way too busy, sleeping until noon. I am on entirely too good of terms with all of those habits these days. I am not good at being still, but I’m not good at moving either. I’m not sure where my aim is, so I’m not sure how to move. The apartment where I’m staying has an arrow on the wall above the bed and I stare at it when I can’t sleep. How do I become an arrow? How do I find a target at which to aim? How can I make myself sharp enough and strong enough and capable of riding the wind enough to find something close to center? I filled out a form today for a coaching session with a I’ll-make-your-business-better coach and it asked, Where are you now? Where do you want to be? … That’s kind of what I need to figure out. Sometimes I think, I could do anything, if I only knew what it was.

But grief is a fog, something that envelops, “its tropical heat / thickening the air.” Something I am choking on, sometimes without warning. I’m all fine, thin sunny air with lemons and lemonade and ocean breezes through the leaves making the most pleasant sound, then I get a flash and I’m on the floor, searching for that one foot of air that isn’t already black. Floundering. Grief. I don’t know what happened. It feels like a before and after, the landscape devastated, muddy brown everywhere. The rage bubbles up like the electric tea kettle water which is probably done in the kitchen and now back to cold. Push the little button down again and make the blue light appear. Does twice-boiled water have any benefit? I’m floundering now. It doesn’t matter. Either way, I will make some tea and get another sweater because I haven’t been able to warm up at all today.

I’m trying to listen. What does my body need, what do I need, what do I want, what would feel good. Maybe not even good—nice. What would feel not like a football thrown by a pro straight to my chest. Anything but this. Anything but this. “Shadow comforts say, ‘Come home to your life.’” wroteJen Louden. I’m trying to come home. I know there’s a boy and some fresh vegetables, even a bit of chocolate, my most important things. Funny how little I have discovered that I really need. Thirty boxes in storage waiting for an address, four suitcases from sublet to sublet. I don’t need much. I’ve been looking at photos of myself all afternoon and now I feel the ghost of me behind each of these lines. My own image is starting to come into focus. I already know the answer to all of those questions. I don’t know what that means, but I know it’s true. It’s not time to sit still. It’s time to move. I have already purged. I have already fed myself full, gorged on honeysuckle and lavender ice cream, water with meyer lemon that puckers just right, all of my favorite things I am letting myself indulge in. I don’t know what else is going to happen, but I know I’m heading toward home. The compass of my body is telling me it’s time.