We are pioneer people. I come from a long line of wanderers, explorers, the Westward-ho, people who have come to traverse our great nation, to see and to do. We came from Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, in search of anything, and everything. Freedom, love, land, money – what my ancestors came here to do is a mystery to me. Why I’m here – or rather, how I came to be lucky enough to live here – is still a bit of mystery to me, too. But I’ll take it.
The Mister once told me that there is a lot of beauty in an adventuresome spirit – my adventuresome spirit – and I have always clung to that thought. Simple though it might be, in moments of fear or frustration or uncertainty, it helps to think of myself as an explorer, an urban Indiana Jones in search of something, instead of some dumb girl who pulled up stakes and ran away to the big city. I have to remind myself that there is a certain kind of beauty in the struggle and a bigger, grander rightness to the way my life is unfolding here, despite the days when it seems all wrong up close.
Maybe what I’m looking for – what we’re all looking for – isn’t a thing or a feeling to hold onto, but simply, me. I went searching for me.
I have not been business as usual since college. In college, I felt like the best possible version of me. I biked, I hiked, I lived with my best friend, my LP, who has always made me feel funny and beautiful and awesome. I wrote, I laughed very loudly, I ate too much cake, I stayed out too late, I made a lot of snarky comments, and I had the time of my life because I knew me, inside and out.
The three years that have ensued since then have been…odd. Nobody talks about it, but 23 and 24 are a no man’s land and shit gets weird. I moved home, fought with my parents, hated my parents, came to realize that my parents are, in fact, the world’s best parents who were just unprepared for me to come back not 18. I had my first very real, very painful heartbreak, and I began to question everything. Am I too loud? Too sassy? Too happy? Too depressed? Too liberal? Too outspoken? Too much?
I would stare at the ceiling of my childhood bedroom and watch the fan spin around and try to figure out exactly what kind of life I needed to make for myself. That’s the other thing nobody talks about: your life is for you to make and you alone, and making that life for yourself is harder than it seems, and takes longer than you’d like. A lifetime, in fact. I’m still learning that.
Listening to the drumbeat of your own soul is, I imagine, much like the whittling away of wood to form a carving. You have to see both farther and deeper to figure out what’s inside waiting to emerge.
Today is the anniversary of my move to San Francisco, my one year San Franiversary. In the past year I have biked, hiked, made amazing new friends who make me feel fabulous and funny. I write a lot, I laugh a lot, and I eat a lot of cake. I stay out late whenever I feel like it, I make snarky comments to wide acclaim, and wouldn’t you know it, I’m having the time of my life. This city makes me feel like the best possible version of myself, because my real self is here.
I come from a long line of pioneers. I am a wanderer, an explorer, a woman stirred with a spirit of the west, if such a thing exists. Finding yourself is a lifelong exercise, and something I’m just beginning to start, but if there’s a better place to find myself than California, I can’t think of where it is.