Different places, pieces, stories, and people comprise all that I am. Everywhere I go, I carry those destinations, experiences, moments in time and relationships with me. They stand as a memento of the past beckoning me to be present while inching toward the future. Even when traveling alone, I don’t travel alone. Brandon, friends, or complete strangers could be void from my view, still, I am not alone. They go with me wherever I go, and I love to go.
Yet, I am often reminded of where I need to be. In the presence of my family, I am reminded of my place and purpose. If they are a puzzle, I am but a mere piece. Together, we work. Apart, we don’t make much sense. From a distance, I can stand back and revel in the beauty. In the course of my life, I have often felt as if my piece were missing by choice. Nothing causes me more angst than living with this knowledge. At times, it is more than I can bear.
Of all the places I have been lucky enough to call home, Seattle is where I feel most myself. In the limits of the Emerald City, there is no trying for me. Living there, for me, is so effortless, free, and honest. While we are currently separated, there is a date in the not too distant future when we will join together again. While Los Angeles isn’t literally killing me, being away from a place that brings me such peace and comfort is to live with an anxiety I have never known.
So, I live with these experiences and a wish. I wish I could have it all. I wish I could travel, have the experiences of calling several places home, my family, the opportunities of Los Angeles, and the sheer beauty of Seattle boxed up in one package. Then, I think about how selfish that is. I am not meant to have it all. I am meant to long and learn from that piece of the human condition. There is still much to learn about myself and the place I want to call my forever home.
There is still much to learn about the place where I lived for 27 of my 34 years. Nothing has made that point clearer to me than the election of Donald Trump. Somewhere along my gravitation toward the orbit of a major city, I lost touch with the trials and tribulations of America’s heartland. While I will never fully understand what drew them to such a person, I am willing to listen and learn. I am willing to have a conversation and find common ground. I think this is the only way we can heal some of the scars and chasms that have opened up between red and blue states.
Of all my reasons to travel, the prospect of making new friends excites me the most. Most of these friends are just temporary; something that can just be held for a few hours. Still, they fill my cup and add to the story of my life no matter the level of engagement. I will never be able to remember every name. I won’t be able to remember every word. I can barely hold the faces in my mind. Yet, they matter to me, because they added to my story.
I left Oklahoma seven years ago. The next time I return I want to do Oklahoma City on my own terms. I don’t want to be relegated to a pull-out sofa. I want to experience OKC as a tourist would. I want to drink in everything that it has to offer. I want new restaurants, bars, points to gather, and opportunities to cherish. Maybe then, my opinion about the place I once loved can change for the better.
Even after all that. Even after a monumental time experiencing a city I once called home in a new way, I will return to a home on the “Left Coast.” Because this is where I feel most at home. From LA to Seattle and every place in between, this is home. It is where I want to marry. Start a life. Do good work and then one day pass on. Yet, I will still go and go often, because this life is best lived somewhere you have never been before.
Be good to each other,
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