When the Discontent Settles

By November 5, 2012Lessons Learned, On Life, Stateside

It has been eight months since I last posted anything on this blog. And each time I introduce a post with the horrifying length of time since the last, I sigh and try to shrug the disappointment from weighing so heavily on me. I told myself I was putting the blog on hold to work on my book, which is true. And I have, a little. But hardly enough to call myself a writer. And so here again I sit, publicly chastising myself, hanging in the town square from a rope I tied around my own neck. Somehow it seems if my failure is on display it is less of a burden on me. But I guess that’s how I feel about almost everything. Hidden inside it eats me like an ulcer, but lay my shames out like a Sunday dress and I can finally find room to breathe in there. So here it is: a collection of the things that have begun to chew away and hopefully once they’re aired, I just may find a solution to their demise.

If I had but one word to describe the last eight months it would be routine. I spend most of my days watching tv in bed with my boyfriend, my nights working at the bar until one or two or three in the morning. I have a few drinks to unwind, maybe watch another show just before bed and that is all. On my days off I try to see my nine-to-five friends as much as possible, though it’s not always easy. I get drunk, maybe go on a bike ride or to a museum or a winery if I’m feeling active or rich. Or maybe do nothing at all just because I can. I have gone to New Orleans for Jazz Fest and Montana to finally experience the overreaching, amaranthine beauty of Glacier National Park. I have been down to Charlotte, and camping in Maryland, and maybe that sounds like a perfect eight months to most. But the trips I take continue to increase in frequency and necessity. A week away no longer calms my soul long enough for two more months of monotony. The itch is back. And it’s stronger than ever.

Despite all of these trips, and all the pots and pans and sheets and soap and sponges I’ve had to buy in settling down, I have three thousand dollars in an envelope in my dresser. I cherish this envelope. I open the drawer just to remind myself it’s there. I count it each time I add another fifty or hundred dollar bill, despite the fact that I know exactly how much sits waiting to be spent. This envelope is my exit strategy. But something is missing. The temporary passport I was issued last January just hours before my flight to Colombia expires in just two months. Still flagged by the State Department for their concern I may be selling the passports I continue to so carelessly lose, I am unsure how soon I will be able to get a new one. It has been a year in this job and the droning of the days buzzes ever louder, beginning to deafen me with the uncertainty of what lies ahead.

The last time I was really writing on here, I was just beginning to fall in love. Remembering and cherishing the comforts of home, of a bed, of just having a door to a room that was only mine. I thought then that maybe traveling had served as a reminder to appreciate these things, and that when I had them back I could finally revel in the comfort of stability that most people seem to find so easily. But after a year I have realized only that I cannot. That it was nice for a time, but that ultimately travel is as inextricable from me as my writing.

It’s strange to say I yearn for the discomfort and discontent of being alone on the road. To want for something that is rooted in hardship, and whose blossoms are rare. But for whatever reason, the struggle fuels my words in a fury of wondering what the fuck I am doing, and somehow at the same time solaces the very feelings that it stirs uneasy inside me.

But as it turns out, I am not alone on the road. I am in love in D.C. The realization of what I need to be doing with my life no longer lives in the struggling dichotomy of travel versus comfort, but in the far more painful struggle of sacrificing what I know I need to do for a person I don’t want to give up. But he is not a writer, nor a traveler. The last eight months I have spent barely writing at all don’t bother him in the least. As long as I am home and we are together, he cares for nothing more and a corner of me still revels in this cozy ease. I have spent this last year we’ve been together convincing him to come abroad with me, but his excitement seems only to be a reflection of mine, glistening in the light of something beautiful, but safe in its distance. I see in the solace of his soft stare that if I gave it all up and said I wanted to stay in bed forever, he would do nothing but kiss me and hide a half a smile. We could die in this bed without a quarrel. But no part of me could ever live that way, and I know that. I know it frightens him, and that he wants to want what I want, but that he isn’t sure of any of it. I know. I know he will save his money and meet me as soon as he can, and so much of me wants that too. But there is a sad truth to the paths we are walking that feels as inescapable as every truth I’ve stumbled upon before. This thought that won’t stop rising buoyant from the shadowy depths of my mind is that when it comes to a decision between him and the road, I can already almost feel the pavement beneath my feet.

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