Sunday, January 20, 2013

Come Down From The Mountain, You Have Been Gone Too Long

My vacation to Colorado a couple weeks ago was the perfect change of scenery. It was really more than I could have hoped for. It was a full circle journey that gave me the recharge I needed to welcome 2013 with open arms and a fresh perspective.
I'll start off with some background information on my Colorado connection: After going to high school (in Upstate New York), I went immediately out to college in Colorado. I only looked at schools out there, and after visiting my grandparents there every summer, it seemed like the logical choice. I knew I loved Colorado, but wasn't prepared for the side effects of a swift move across the country from my family, and across the state from my grandparents.
To put it bluntly: it was really isolating, and I was painfully shy, which is not the best combination. I had a hard time meeting people, was trying to maintain a doomed long-distance relationship with my high school boyfriend, and was dealing with a major case of depression. I was not a partier and felt really uncomfortable at typical rowdy college parties, which seemed to be the only thing anyone wanted to do. I felt out of place everywhere I tried to be social, and got my first taste of what it's like to have an awful roommate. At the first sign of the weekend I was off, driving 6 hours to see my boyfriend who was so busy establishing his new life as a ski bum/lift op, that he became increasingly disinterested in spending his time with me. I was too blinded by my situation and low self-esteem to realize how he/we had changed. At least I had enough self-respect to give him an ultimatum as to whether he wanted to be with me or not. So, that was that. I went through my first break-up, and after a couple weeks into my second semester, decided to call it quits at Fort Lewis and move back home. I was at a low point in my life. I felt like a failure, and I never considered myself done with Colorado. I still loved it, and even after I left, I had convinced myself I would return in the Fall. Of course I didn't, but I never felt like I had closed the door that I rushed through four years ago. 
Returning to this beautiful state, that I think of as home, really allowed me to finally feel a sense of closure and self-improvement. I've realized that I've made huge strides from the clueless, shy, naive 18 year old girl that I was when I lived there. It all hit me when I went to visit a friend, that I made when I was fifteen, who recently moved out there. I took a drive down from the mountains to Silverthorne, and realize as soon as I got off I-70, that this was the town that I frequented often when I would drive away for the weekend. I immediately recognized where I was and found my way to the Natural Grocers store where I had my first kombucha. This may sound strange, but once I parked I was overcome with emotion and nearly cried, right there, in the Natural Grocers parking lot. I think it had a lot to do with the fact that I had always associated bad memories with my few short months in Colorful Colorado. Yet I knew where I was going without looking it up, which confirmed that this beautiful state is my home, and here I was recalling a nice memory from an extremely rough time in my life, and in that moment I started to realize my growth since I moved away.
After getting a kombucha, I met my sweet friend Mark for coffee drinks and a walk along a frozen lake, accompanied by a beautiful sunset. 
We talked about happiness and our growth as people, and how far we've come since our low points, and it was really nice. It's refreshing to be able to have a candid, heartfelt conversation with someone who is open-minded and willing to listen. Someone you don't feel at all silly/self-concious around when speaking your inner truth. Having this conversation really made me see my personal development with clear eyes. In these situations we can't help but recognize the progress we've made as people. I have improved in countless ways since I last visited this place, that even I can hardly recognize myself.
I am now aware of what makes me tick.
I know what I love. I know what I want to sink all of my free time into. I know that I still don't like rowdy college parties, but rather more intimate get togethers with close friends and good conversation. I know what kind of people I want to surround myself with. I know what kind of partner I deserve. I know how to open up to my friends and family. I am more self-confident. I am more positive. I am more happy. I know how to recognize when I'm not, and I know what I can do to come out of it. I am working on becoming less closed off from people. Blogging honestly and writing music have been a means to being a more open person, and more willing to share the things that are important to me. I am no longer running from struggle. Instead I am facing it head on and growing in spite of it. This has been the thing that has saved me and set me free. This new mindset and perspective has helped me feel at peace, not only at this moment, but about the past, and looking toward the future.
I am changing. I am learning. I am growing. 
And most importantly: 
My excitement for endeavors and exploration has become so loud, I can hardly hear my fears.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How Strange It Is To Be Anything At All

Sunday I spent all day traveling from New York to Colorado for a little vacation and change of scenery. It was a beautifully sunny day, everything went smoothly, I started reading this book (Further Along The Road Less Traveled) and it helped me feel really in tune with myself and this incredible world. I wrote the following while I was in en route in the sky.  
It's amazing that I've been in a plane most of the day, but I feel more grounded in the sky, surrounded by strangers, than I did on land. There's something about staring out a plane window, and watching the people and the cities that surround them become smaller by the second. I keep watching the cars, and can't help but think of them being filled with different people, each on a separate mission, unaware of each other's goals/struggles/missions. Pretty soon I scan the narrow road lines for cars, and they're no longer visible. I can now see which way the wind blows across the fields, and the farms that belong to those fields, only indicated by darker smears, going all in the same direction. I see long, moving shadows that belong to windmills in a row. Pretty soon I can no longer see the farms, or the windmills. The earth becomes a patchwork quilt, covered in veins, puckered up where the land rises. 
I feel very small and truly humbled by this world, this life. I feel a sense of peace that I haven't felt in a long time. I feel overwhelmed by how wonderful everything is in my life at this very moment. I've actually been teary-eyed for the last ten minutes on a plane. Teary-eyed in the best way possible, where it's difficult to feel embarrassed over the somewhat public display of emotion. I guess they would best be described as tears of gratitude, which are absolutely the best kind. I am just stunned at the personal epiphanies and spiritual growth I've made this year. I chose to let this season of my life strengthen me rather than letting it destroy me. This year has been full of learning, healing, and joy. I am so grateful for the family that I was born into and the friends I've made along this curious, challenging, incredible journey. I feel so lucky to be a part of their lives and elated that they are in mine. It makes me so proud to see all of the things that these talented people have made and shared. It makes my heart happy to feel such encouragement from people that I so greatly admire. 
2012 has brought sobering struggles, beautiful friendships, and an enormous spiritual awakening. I am so looking forward to this new year with new endeavors, continuing friendships, embracing family, and finding happiness in each new day that the universe grants me. 

So long 2012, you were difficult but forced me to grow, and in your own strange way, you were a good one.