Saturday, October 24, 2009

This ain’t my first rodeo.

Years ago I decided to move from Philadelphia to Nashville and see what I could create in that place. Music is great, the weather is lovely, and I have friends in the area. Why not go there and get away from the cold of the north? I hate cold. And so I packed my belongings, my cat, my memories, and I moved.

During the process of putting my life into a little green box, people came to me, criticizing my decision. Taunting of the southern way of doing things, these friends told me I would never see art, participate in intellectual discourse, or experience life as one of the beautiful people. In short, I would no longer be in a “worthwhile” city with “worthwhile” people.

And I defended my decision. Over and over.

Time passed, and one move became two and then three, and a new way of living was born in me, and people became accustomed to my gypsy ways. They saw me see the beauty in the world where others saw despair. They listened as I told of the world of love and not the world of money. They walked with me down memory lane as I recounted the mistakes I made learning to speak another language. They awed at the photos of a tree stretching high, growing in the desert. They appreciated the story of ridding myself of my fear of heights and gawked as I found my self esteem while dancing on a bar, surrounded by cheering people half my age.

Finally, they understood.

And now I am off for another adventure. I am going to a place that is obscenely different from what I know. It is a world that holds values that are completely against many of my personal beliefs. The culture and its rules frighten me. Yes, of course, I am afraid.

And still I go. I go for the experience. I go to learn from these people. I go to find who I am not and who I am at my deepest core. I go to learn to trust others and to be interdependent. For in this new place, women can not be, are forced to not be, independent.

Such a lesson to be learned, in such a drastic manner....

I prepare for this move, and I am shocked and appalled by the response around me. I have been preyed upon by people whose fears have been vomited upon me. They speak to me as if I am a child, ignorant of what lies ahead of me. I have been asked to justify my decision by people who don’t know me, people who have not walked even a single step in my moccasins.

This is what I say to you. I do not owe you one single explanation. I do not owe you one single reassurance. I do not owe you anything except civility. I do not want to hear your concerns, your fears, your worries. Do you know why I don’t want to hear? Because you have no right to ask me, to demand of me, to give your opinion.

There is a handful of my close friends, my family, and fellow travelers who have the right to ask direct questions. Why them? The weight of our relationship and the similar experiences they have had makes their words considerate-worthy. To these people, I speak my truth because they have perspective. I tell them because these concerns of mine are not drowned out by ignorance.

The only thing I want to hear from the rest of the world is your own personal version of “fare thee well, dear soul, fare thee well”.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Magic in the Air

It's quiet here. Winter is twisting and twirling through the branches of trees that no longer hold their leaves clutched to their branches. Gently drifting away, they dust the path behind the house. The chill turns our breath into tiny ice crystals as we call a simple hello and as laughter falls from our lips. The fire bushes are turning red... and still the cold comes.

As has become my habit, every night I step outside looking for my old friend Orion. I don't remember learning how to identify him, how to find him, but he's been with me as long as I can remember.

I once heard a man say that when you are on your way, you are already there. Some part of me is in the desert, waiting to feel the shifting sands, the wind blowing a scarf in front of my face, the heat dripping into my skin as the sweat drips down the crevices of my body. In my heart I have already begun the journey, I have already turned my face in the direction of the heat. Even so, my friend Orion will be with me, as he has my entire life, shooting the monsters from my dreams and bringing me hope as only night's magic can.

Look around you , my friend, see the beauty that you have, and love it. Hold it, claim it, dance with it. For it is here for you. And say hello to Orion. He is waiting, up in the sky to chase away your monsters and to brighten your night.

pamila jo

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tempting the Fates

I am traveling alone. It’s a question on the application for my visa. Who will you be traveling with? And it hits my heart. No one. I will be traveling alone. Yet again.

Some people say I am running away, looking for trouble, putting myself in crazy situations, or in more lyrical terms - Tempting The Fates. Perhaps. In the quiet moments, I admit the truth – yes I am doing these things. But don’t we all run away? Don’t we all look for a bigger boat, a more tempting risk, a bigger challenge, a faster time? Is this any different? Like most things, the answer is complex.

And here is where I tell you of the love that haunts me, a memory that I run from – the one man I ever loved. Before him, I never thought I could love, didn’t think I was capable. And then, there he was. Big as life. He was full of laughter and humility, passion and discipline. He made me feel innocent. He made me feel worthy. And I opened my heart to him. He required it. And I obeyed.

And then one day it ended as so many love affairs do. It was a dreary day, the wind whipping my hair, the cold biting through my clothes. A day to freeze. A day to end time, like in that book – oh which one was it? The clock is stopped on the wedding day when the groom doesn’t show. One of the Bronte sisters or Jane Eyre. (ETA: Great Expectations, Charles Dickens) Those dreadfully painful to watch but you can’t look away kind of books. Like in the story, my heart froze. My clock stopped that day.

I don’t know if love will ever come my way again, but it has left me with a gaping hole of yearning. And now I fill my yearning with excitement – with challenges, languages, cultures, religions, daring adventures. I fill this longing with music and movies and books and fantasy so I don’t have to remember the yearning that is the aftermath of love.

Even now, he inspires me to live. He tortures my heart. And I wonder. Will I ever find a way to fill the emptiness, the gaping hole of lost love?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know that I will NOT waste away in my sadness and hide under the covers, hide behind a business suit, hide behind a well ordered life. I will live, even if that means an adventure bigger and a challenge more absurd.

Perhaps it is true. Perhaps I am running from something. But wherever I go, I am still there – he is still there, haunting me. Where ever I am, I carry him in my heart.

How can I be anything but grateful for the life that I have? The life that he inspired for me?