After I found out about Ruess passing away. It took me a long time to come out of grief. It was the holiday season, so I was allowed to slip into limbo and not deal. I spent the holidays with my friend Whiteny’s family. I laid around, ate good food, drank good wine. I tried to get upset, thinking about Ruess. I also struggled very heavily with regret. I regretted leaving Fairbanks. I regretted leaving my boyfriend, life, animals and foreseeable future. Emotions began to surface and I felt overwhelmed.
Even though it is painful to have no communication with my ex. It's probably for the best. I know in my heart and in my mind that I made the right decision. There is no other way of saying it. I am pretty sure everyone in my life would agree with that. Even though it was the hardest decision I’ve ever made on my own, it was the smartest thing I ever did for myself.
I have grown in ways I didn’t even know were possible, like when you exercise muscles you didn’t realize existed. By changing my behavior, I have found that my habits, weaknesses and strengths have fluctuated and found balance. For the first time, I am living my life for me and only me. That’s a crazy thought! I’m not doing what my family or partner want. It’s about what I want. I can’t even describe what it feels like to be living the life YOU want - That magical moment when you see that and recognize that you created it for yourself.
December will be referred to as my “month of darkness.” I didn’t do much writing. One blog post actually. That’s pretty bad. I didn’t really do much of anything. Oh, except gain weight.
But don’t worry. I have good news. All of that is changing.
I don’t believe in fate. I do believe in manifesting your own destiny, and making the most of your situations. That’s exactly what happened to me about a week ago.
Let me just say that I’m writing this post from a tour bus in San Diego California, on my way to the House of Blues. Yeah…I know. Don’t worry, I’ll explain.
Torie met a musician named Zach Deputy. I’ve been a fan of his since I watched him play at a music festival four years ago. He’s an amazing musician and fairly well-known. I have no idea how it happened, but Torie met him at a show, struck up a friendship and he’s basically been crashing on her couch every time he comes into town since. I’ve never been in town when he was. But, I always hear stories of how wild the whole situation is and been really jealous. On New Years, he happened to be playing at The Green Turtle, in our home town, an hour from where the girls live in Jacksonville, and where I have been staying.
The girls: Whitney, Katie, Torie. All four of us are best friends since high-school. They came to my UAF graduation.
We started off the night in Jax, but I had a hankering that the event on the island would be super fun. All of these friends I haven’t seen since high-school were in town. Some were doing some amazing things with their lives. Catching up over the holidays was so fascinating. It was probably packed with tourists, which was always annoying. But, it makes it a hell of a lo. Plus, I was interested in hearing Zach perform again.
There were hundreds of people and yes, it was crazy. At one point, a guy I dated in high-school, and haven’t seen since came into view. He was obviously super intoxicated and couldn’t really speak. After saying hello and goodbye, I tried to walk away and he latched onto my arm and wouldn’t let go. He did this several more times as I passed by. Perhaps, visiting your hometown has its dangers.
Anyway, after the show, Zach hung out with Torie, Katie and I. Whitney had gone to see her brother. We hung out for a little bit and I introduced myself to Zach. I told him a little about what I did and he said he would love a poem about Rolly Pollies. The whole thing happened so fast. I didn’t even think he would remember me.
A few days later, he texts tore and says he is coming back into town. Him and his tour manager, CJ, show up at midnight and we all sit up and hang out. To my surprise, Zach not only remembers me, but gives me the biggest hug.
That night he mentions that he is looking at resume’s for an assistant/merchandise manager. Me and Torie are on it like thieves. We convince him to hire both of us a a package deal. I was pretty impressed by Trie’s negotiation skills. We kind of half-hashed out the details and they headed out, promising to pick us up the following Monday at 5pm. We both walked back in dumbfounded. We honestly couldn’t tell if he was serious or just too nice to turn down our offer. We were convinced that we would face the horrendous moment of standing at the edge of the driveway at 5:01 and looking down an empty road.
We joked about this scenario in many forms, all weekend. Torie had to give one (that’s right) day notice at her job and ask to come back in three weeks. Oh, and she was actually told yes. “Well, no turning back now.” She said in the car after getting off the phone. She widened her eyes and laughed, mostly in jest, but probably partly to hide the nervousness.
We spent the weekend in New Orleans for Whitney’s birthday. I love that city more and more. I led the girls down the cobblestone streets, past the smell of seafood and beignets, past the jazz music flooding the streets, through the wild scene that is Bourbon. We weaved through raised cemeteries, horse buggies covered in pink fur and driven by a man with no teeth and a purple suit. Looking up at the live oaks that hover over the streets, one witnesses the beaded remains of Mardi Gras. They were coming up on festival season and the parades were beginning.
The last night, me and Torie collected dozens of beads from then streets and posted up on a balcony in Bourbon street, tossing them to people walking beneath us. We took a tour of a local brewery (I won’t say the name so I don’t get anyone in trouble). We ran into our tour guide while throwing beads from the balcony and long story short, we found ourselves back at the brewery at midnight, playing hide and seek amongst the beer tanks and packaging equipment.
We spent way too much time complaining about getting old. I had to give the group a pep talk at some point. But, realistically, at 25, it may very well be the last birthday of its kind for us.
On Monday morning, Torie got a confirmation call.
“They’ll be here at six.”
Also, just to go sideways for just a sec, Monday, both Torie and I had Skype interviews for a company called Alaska Excursions. If everything goes as planned, we will be meeting my friend Ian in Juneau and working as dog handlers for the dog mushing tour there.
It is an interesting exchange. I definitely wouldn’t have been offered the tour gig if it wasn’t for Torie. In contrast, after Ian recommended me for the job in Juneau, I encouraged Torie to apply as well and helped her complete the surprisingly tedious application online. It is a symbiotic friendship. I am quite thankful to call this magical little blonde a friend. This year marks our ten year marker as close friends. It is wild to think that she is my lifelong friend, that I actually have one of those. She isn’t the only one. I am lucky to remain close with the people I love and to have them as lifelong friends. When we met, me and Torie were rebellious teens who sometimes got out of control. Ten years later, we are women - and I feel the layers of who we have become resting lightly over those awkward girls at a house party, taking swigs of Natural Light past their bedtime. She has managed to stay hilarious and kind and while the rest of us are getting uglier, she somehow gets prettier. Readers are about to overloaded with pictures of her.
I am beyond excited to share both experiences with her.
Okay, going back.
I’ll make it short. They did, in fact, pick us up. Or, actually, we had to meet them at the airport. But, either way, we woke up Tuesday morning, to the familiar smell of seafood and beignets. By the following evening, we were in Texas. By the third day, we were driving up the 1 highway on the Pacific ocean. All I could think was, “Damn, it feels good to be back in Cali.”
There are so many details and stories, but I’ll save them (and you) for another time. Here are some pics
I’ll sum up what being the only girls on this tour, with zero experience and cramped into the messiest van I’ve ever seen: absolutely insane. I know, from having been driving all over the country; it’s not easy. It’s even harder when you have to align said journey with three others, one of them being your boss. Swallowing my pride has been my biggest problem. I don’t want to be a know-it-all, so I try not to overstep. I’m sure everyone feels that way about something. My way is the best. This trip might actually be the perfect lesson at the perfect time. In the beginning stages of my journey, I deeply needed to learn how to govern myself. I had to find my own way of living and it takes being selfish (to an extent) to self govern yourself in a world where everyone seems to be pulling you in different directions.
But, this character development can sometimes harden into an unpleasant stubbornness. I have been starting to feel this happening in me. I didn’t like it. I’m turning into a creepy loner!
Not really, but I do believe this trip is going to give me a good education on inner and outer balance. I have a hard time recognizing my inner strength and lashing out on others, flexing my outer strength. Does that make sense. I’m not talking about going around lifting heavy weights viciously in front of people’s faces. I’m talking about hurting others, trying to hold yourself up. To travel with other people, you got to be vulnerable, loving, responsible and enjoyable. You also need to know how to drive at night, otherwise you are useless, useless I say!
My next post will be all about what it’s been like on the road, so far and how I keep managing to lose everything I own.
I’ll just say, what a strange journey it has been.