So here’s the thing.
It’s a year later and I am in Albuquerque, New Mexico again.
Life moves so fast.
Today I attended my first feminist women’s conference- and I am afraid to say that I will not be looking back any longer.
I think I have found my passion. It’s always been there, on the horizon. Something I was always glancing at but not quite claiming.
But taking in the entirety of today, I realize that everything I have ever believed in or stood for is combined in the feminist/humanist movement.
And I am so fucking excited to begin working within it.
All of the older women today were looking at me and the younger women in the group.
And for the first time in my life I realized I could be a leader.
I just had to find the thing that I cared about leading.
Where do I even begin?
So much is happening in my life lately, it has made me not want to blog. Because it was all just overwhelming to try to put to words on paper. But that’s exactly what I need to do. I realized.
When I am blogging daily is when I feel most complete. It is when I am happiest.
Regardless of the value of a blog pertaining to a career as a writer, it is just a fun and relaxing way to put my life on paper and take it out of my mind. Share it and laugh instead of holding the enormity of life all myself.
Thursday I drove down to New Mexico.
I had the best drive down south. I have never crossed state lines in a car by myself in my life- and it was extremely empowering.
I listened to Jack Kerouac’s “The Sea Is My Brother” and fell in love with Jack a little bit more. It was a fitting start to a roadtrip.
I also listened to country music on and off, and I have to say, fell in love with the idea of country music/lifestyle.
It was an odd journey.
I stopped in Oklahoma City, originally planning on going to a vegan restaurant deep in town that I had printed off google instructions for, but ended up somewhere else– Bricktown.
It was right off the turn for I-40, the center of town, and I thought this would be a wise place to sit down and drink a tea in the sun. So that is exactly what I did.
Getting back on the road I found myself on the phone with my childhood best friend, Megan G. Have not spoken to her in at least 6 years, and it was amazing to reconnect. We turned out so similar for how polar opposite we were as children. Going to stay in contact.
Stopped in Amarillo for dinner and gas. Shark’s burritos- like Chipotle. So busy. I got a burrito with all the peppers and hot sauce I could- as I do at Chipotle- but when I got back on the road I realized I couldn’t eat any of it. It was the hottest thing I have ever had in my life.
Made it to Albuquerque around 11 that night, but got to watch the sunset over the painted desert on the way there.
My favorite part of driving into ABQ is how the mountains seem to consume you as you enter the city. They wrap around you like a warm hug from an old friend, and that’s exactly what I got when I stepped out of the car in ABQ as well. So lovely to see Debolina- everytime I see her it’s like we never left each other’s side.
So I started off the day at 9- jumping in the car and stopping at Satellite coffee to fill up on coffee and New Mexican green chili burritos. Made it to downtown ABQ all by myself with my little google maps. It really wasn’t that hard, and I was so excited to have done it myself. Found a parking garage- looked at myself in the mirror and said “You can do this”. Then I left my car and walked to the Women’s Conference by myself. So excited, but also surprisingly nervous once I finally got there.
It didn’t help that outside the front of the hotel where the conference was being held was a giant anti-abortion protest. Police were there trying to calm the protesters down, but it was still very alarming.
I lingered around the corner, and steeled myself for entry. Once I made it past all of the angry protesters, I was deep within the womb of women and women’s freedom and rights. And I was so happy to be there. : )
Taking a seat in the middle of the auditorium, I began looking over the material provided for us. Within two minutes of sitting down, an elderly woman of about 75 had walked over. “Is anyone sitting here?”
There were plenty of empty seats around me, but she sat right next to me. And then we became best friends for the rest of the conference.
Her name was Monique, and she was a retired Planned Parenthood worker, an immigrant from Eastern Germany. She moved to San Francisco when she was 20, and lived there for most of her life.
Monique and I were quite the pairing, and did everything together, including lunch at the cafe down the street.
She advised me on all of these groups to get involved with. She also told me how much she hated unions.
Later in the afternoon, I went for a jog in downtown ABQ. This was probably not the smartest decision I have ever made in my life- but I made sure to stay in populated areas. Still- if I were to do it again- I would have gone back to Deb’s for a jog.
I met Deb for dinner- and we ate at Frontier. Beautiful Mexican food.
In the bathrooms of restaurants in ABQ are signs that say New Mexico has one of the highest rates of rape and stds in the county. Statistically, 1/5 women will be raped in their life, 1/25 men will be raped, and 1/3 people will be in a domestic violence situation.
After dinner Deb and I headed downtown.
We took pictures of the lovely murals all over, and wandered a bit. Ended up at the poetry slam for the NOW conference. Not that many people showed up, and we didn’t participate.
After poetry we went to the most hipster bar I have ever been to in my life. We got rum and cokes- and they were most definitely doubles.
I got a second. ; )
Then we walked around downtown, I a little tipsy, and then we drove home.
We stayed up til 2 or 3 in the morning chatting about life on her couch, drinking red wine and listening to 500 Days of Summer soundtrack.
Courtney, Deb’s roommate, walked in later that night and joined our conversation.
It was a nice calm end to a busy, busy day.
Day two at the conference was a little much. I stopped by and got my New Mexican breakfast burritos and coffee again, then sat on the floor in the back as all the seats were taken.
During the break I look up and who is towering over me? Monique, of course.
“You’re late! Come sit by me.” Monique commands.
I agree. And decide that Monique is the most interesting person to walk into my life in awhile.
Monique and I finish up the day together at a Domestic Violence presentation. Everyone is crying throughout it– we had no idea what we were getting into when we walked into it. A survivor turned activist told her story, filled with inspiration for helping others.
After the presentation, Monique and I hugged, and parted ways. We promised to email.
I stopped by the store on the way home, and stocked up on food. I was so dehydrated and hungry. And we were all planning on drinking that night as it was Courtney’s birthday party.
I did not eat or drink nearly enough during the day.
People started coming over around 9- and I was really socially anxious for some reason.
I had met a few of them last summer– but was still unsure about how it would go down.
So I started drinking.
Let this be a cautionary tale to myself.
3 beers in preparation.
Then sitting outside on their back porch with a Mark, speaking about his time in Bahrain, Deb continually filled up my wine glass. And I continually filled up my wine glass. Many, many times as we discussed Kerouac and writing and travel and fear.
“Weren’t you a little bit scared, traveling to the Middle East as an American?”
“No.” He responded. “But I’m also a bit of an idiot.”
For some reason, drunk me thought this was the most profound statement of year.
The freeflow of stupidity and bravery- beautiful as the rose wine I was glugging down.
I then took shots with a group of girls, loaned my shoes to a lovely Ukrainian, tried unsuccessfully to hit on a banker, got into a political discussion with an Iowa boy in the corner of the room, beers in hand talking about single mothers and parenthood.
I then directed everyone “OUT! We must go OUT!”
And we all left and went to Monte Vista for drinks.
I had water, and then began to feel sick. I never feel sick when drinking. Deb and I left, and I felt sick til about 4 pm the next day.
Lucky to be alive, honestly.
Never, ever again.
I can discuss politics, travel, writing, literature and bravery/stupidity when I am sober. So that is what I am going to do for the rest of my life now.
No more alcohol. No more coffee. No more anxiety.
Self made woman living in the present and never letting anyone shake me.
Like I said, Day 3 was spent mostly horizontally. I was so nauseous that I couldn’t stand up for longer than a few minutes.
I couldn’t get comfortable anywhere in the house, and finally found myself on the cool pavement of Deb’s back porch. I laid there for at least 6 hours, fading in and out of sleep. When I finally got up around 4 I was coated in a thick layer of desert dust. I loved the feeling of the dust- and was so happy to feel alive again.
That night Deb, Courtney and I went out for dinner at an Italian restaurant on Central. We talked a lot about Courtney and Deb’s jobs in special education. And I realized this is a human area I could really stand to learn a lot more about.
We ended the night all reading and studying in Deb’s living room. I fell asleep at some point during the evening, jerking awake with a little yelp on the couch.
Woke up late and went for a jog. Getting a little bit lost and having momentary panic before I turn around and retrace my steps. My favorite kind of jogs.
I ended up at my favorite secret coffeeshop location in a neighborhood on Carlisle Street. It’s also a hippie collective with lots of healing shops and community workshops. If I am ever out a job I am moving there in an instant.
After I got back and took a shower, Deb and I headed out for lunch at an Indian food buffet in town. And it was wonderful. Lovely. Amazing. All the words.
We both were only able to eat one plate– but those plates were full of some of the most beautiful things in the world.
After lunch we went to a little cafe around her neighborhood in Nob Hill. I got green tea and Deb got chai and we read and worked for a good few hours.
I read some really great articles in the local newspaper which have changed my life a bit. I realized a lot of things that I need to look further into during this trip.
After the cafe we went to the Peace and Justice collective downtown, and picked up a bunch of pamphlets I have yet to look over. Very activism inspiring trip.
We walked past so many tattoo shops, Tarot card reading psychics, and an ayurvedic cooking school. Also saw my soul mate stapling fliers to street posts. Bearded and slightly pissed off looking, I knew he was the one before I even looked at the flier he fearlessly stapled to the post right in front of us:
“Activists wanted: Stop the War on Women’s Reproductive Rights, State by State”
And I pulled a number off the flier, winked, and told him I’d call him.
Just kidding. I’m not that cool yet. I will be someday. But as for today, I waited til he walked away then ran over and grabbed a secret slip off the flier.
Deb and I then walked around Nob Hill neighborhood, admiring all the unique and welcoming adobe houses spread across the area.
Went back, ate icecream cake for dinner with Courtney. Stayed up late talking just like the last night I was in ABQ last summer. Then went to bed.
Yesterday: best 11 hours ever spent in the car. Stopped off in Oklahoma City for tea and then in Amarillo for burritos. And caught up with my childhood best friend over the phone.
Today spent 9 hours at a conference, spending the day with my new best friend Monique, a 75 year old Eastern European planned parenthood worker. The NOW conference was everything I have ever wanted in life. Almost didn’t go, like many other things in my life, as I got nervous right before. But then I marched right past the anti-abortion protesters and into the weekend ABQ women’s rights oasis, and realized this was exactly the next step in my life that I needed to be taking. And I loved every minute of it. Still am. X Had a questionable jog in downtown ABQ which I will probably not repeat, had dinner with Deb, went to a NOW poetry slam, went to the most hipster of the hipster bars I have ever been to in my life and loved it. Minimum of 15 tattoos per person, walls lined with bookshelves full of books and hanging plants over every gloomy table.
Walked around downtown ABQ slightly buzzed and ignoring loquacious men. Then heading home and pouring the wine and having girl talk until 3 in the morning: Courtney, Deb and I.
I am so good at being single.
Yesterday was the breakup, today was the freedom.
Actually, last night began the freedom.
When I got to the bar Molly said I had a huge shit-eating grin on my face, and that has carried over into today. For no other reason besides the fact that I am seeing in color again.
Relationships honestly make my world very monotone, and I am not yet balanced enough as a person to add another person in my life constantly.
And that’s okay!
Make myself who I want to be right now. This is the time for me. : )
I love being in a relationship with the universe, where nothing that happens is something I must share with another, but is just for me. And I am completely fulfilled and energized every moment onward. Realizing that I control the way I view the world.
Have felt a bit isolated these past few months of being in a relationship.
“It feels like my life was on fast forward for so long, and now it seems so stagnant.”
Well, lovelies. I think I will be an eternally single person. Because goddamn it, I am much happier feeling presence in every unique moment the world has to offer than I am in being the other half to another’s life.
Honestly- people can feel when I am single. And everyone starts coming out of hiding, and the world opens up with possibility and intrigue.
That intrigue has been missing for far too long in my life.
I don’t regret the relationship, but actually I’m so happy for it.
It’s opened my eyes and made me realize what I actually want.
Driving home from work the car next to me strikes up a conversation with me through our open windows.
That hasn’t happened for two months.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it happened today.
When you are open to it, the world comes to you.
Just got super nostalgic for the hippie house today, sitting at work listening to hippie music.
Been trying to expand my musical tastes lately- but I’m pretty sure that I’ll always come back to the same type of lyrics and love.
Pretty sure the first few months of the hippie house were the happiest of my life. Will have to pursue a similar situation in the future.
Looking back on it now- I was so young. All the things that overwhelmed me then seem like a piece of cake now. Hindsight.
But one thing that I knew back in the days of the hippie house that I have started forgetting lately:
Every moment is the most beautiful thing you can ever experience.
Every moment is exactly where you should be, or else you change where you’re at.
Everything is a lesson to be learned, everything is a work of art to be fully formed and communicated.
“Maybe reaching for heaven is what I’m on earth to do.”
Not much to say.
Really want to start blogging again daily but feeling a bit sluggish and uninspired at the moment.
I have things I could do that might inspire me- but I’ve realized that most external inspirations don’t last. And the most lasting inspirations come from right inside of me.
So I’m giving myself a few days to feel that internal drive.
And then I’m going to take it and run with it as far as I can go.
Wounded pride hurts about as bad as heartbreak, but thankfully it’s not as lasting.
Met and fell in love with a really gay Welsh guy last night at the bars.
I told him I studied in Leicester. He asked how long ago. I said two years ago.
He said I was old news.
I took him up on the challenge, in my mind.
Went to see Ben do stand up last night at Mae’s.
Sat with Misha and Lee, then Molly and Stuart stopped by.
Tennery and her boyfriend showed up after that drinking Tarantulas.
Then Molly, Ben and I headed out for a different bar.
Ended up at Kites, and Molly and Ben got along in a strangely unfiltered way.
I left to go to the bathroom and when I came back they were staring wordlessly at each other, both calm as could be. Just as I left them.
Ben left and then Tennery and Andrew showed back up. Along with Jordan and Sara- Sara who I haven’t seen since January. Remember partying with her, Joe? I learned a lot more about her tonight, she is a really cool person. : )
So then these flaming gay boys came over and starting kissing and feeling up Jordan, and kissing and feeling up each other. We all just watched in astonishment while they showered us with complements about our beauty.
Molly and I talked loudly about how people’s appearances most of the time indicate a bit of personality. We had this conversation very loudly in front of all of the faces we were analyzing.
And then Molly picked up Shawna’s boyfriend, Josh, from Mae’s and brought him over. Josh was drunk off a few beers, and I realized he is a great guy. We talked about human nature together.
He told me he loved being a mechanic- he loves fixing things for people. He just hates his job because he hates making people pay money for his services. He’s rather do it for free.
I said, Josh, aren’t you worried about people taking advantage of you?
Josh said, yes. He said he believes people want to be good, but we are all inherently selfish beings. We all get what we can get when we need it. But, he said, there is this certain type of insecurity within a person who is selfish. The person who no longer needs to be selfish is secure in themselves, and able to give. Because they no longer feel in danger of losing it all.
I thought this was profound, and solved a large bulk of the questions I’ve been shuffling around in my head and conversations lately.
You keep doing favors for people without need for compensation. You’re onto something. You’re happy. : )