I was speaking with my friend Ben on the phone. We are both artists and spiritual-type folks. We always call each other when we are going through big transitions. Or if we go on a spiritual retreat. Or if I get into a really amazing dance workshop. Ben is going off to Grad School in the fall and he is uprooting himself. I have uprooted myself and gone on this crazy tour.
We were chatting away as I walked down some sketchy road in Athens. Ben spoke about feeling depressed about leaving and how he is sleeping a lot. How he is trying to have healthy emotions around leaving. I spoke about after graduating from Grad School and how I laid in bed for 3-5 days watching season after season of Weeds....or when I moved to my new apartment and every day after work I would lay in bed and read.
I got going talking about my latest transistion. That of leaving the road for a temporary home. I will be in Athens, GA for about 3 weeks. Which means I am leaning on Katherine who I casually met in Chicago. Which makes me feel guilty. And that I am getting slammed into a places' social situation. I am in a small town and I am a big town lady. I know small towns. People talk. That said, EVERYONE I have met is SO NICE. I know that my concerns are unfounded. The ladies I am hanging with are amazing and awesome. This is an internal fight with myself. This is a battle of self esteem.
For the past month, I have gone from one place to the next never having to insert myself into social structures. I have had the privilege to just observe them. Which was an amazing experience. I didn't need to make any decisions about who I was. I just got to honor and enjoy everyone's lives. Learning over and over again the buddhist ideas of letting go and flowing with what is around me. Suddenly when I see myself as grounded I am FREAKED out by this. Who am I? How will people see me? What am I? While traveling I drank minimally. I was in a sort of monk-like existence. Now I come here looking for a drink and a good time and THAT freaks me out.
Suddenly, I feel like I have to fit in to the social network I am surrounded in. I found myself grasping out to those I met in a more desperate way. Like I had to prove my worth to those around me. Getting a crush on someone I don't know in days time. Wanting desperately to be a part of a social group I was just meeting. Falling apart mentally, after being in a swimsuit around people I don't know. After a month of being so carefree and no one asking me to change, I started grasping around for people to hold on to. This desperate urge to HAVE people and things. I know the lesson I have been learning it. LET GO. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen.
I think what is good to realize is, I was fighting these negative thoughts the whole month and I was able to slide through them, let go of them. But the mind and the body gets tired. I have had a few days to relax and let my guard down and with that I have to wade through some of these negative thoughts to get to the other side. It is a bit of low ground. Homesickness. Obsessive thoughts. After a few days, I am now on the other side of them. But I think they are good to talk about. I need to share this side of the project and what I am learning. That the mind is a super powerful thing that helped me glide through a tough month of travel and learning. Now it wants a rest. And sometimes we short circuit to reset. During the trip, I questioned if I was behind having children. If I needed to start my own business and travel to arts fairs. If I need to move to any number of places I have visited. These are all coping mechanisms for being thrown into the unknown.
With all these thoughts, the more I can eat right and exercise the less violent these urges of need are. The more I can ground myself in knowing I can't control anything the better things go. Ben and I got a laugh out of that. The minute you think you have power or are in control is the minute the world will throw a wrench into the dynamic. I have to learn again and again who I am with all my quirks and needs and urges is exactly who I need to be. That I give love continually and it is time I let some of it in.
This is why I talk to Ben. To sort through these larger psychological and spiritual issues. He told me. Paige, I love your project but this is even more interesting. Tell people about this. Tell them about this urge, need, that arose when you considered yourself settling into a place.
Social structures are powerful things. Here I am entering a new one for the 9th time in about a month's time. It doesn't get any easier. I just have to keep communicating. I just need to keep laughing. I just need to keep being me. I will be putting my running shoes on tomorrow morning and getting in some me meditation time.
Now to get up the guts to makes some posters...