15 Months Away from Seattle
I touched down in the Emerald City on December 20th. Ready to celebrate the holidays with family and friends, this was my first trip back to Seattle in 15 months. As we made our way up I-5 through the heart of downtown, new developments were rising in every direction. Then, there it was, the Space Needle, Seattle’s most iconic structure was beckoning me home. As I looked around, in every direction I saw cranes and signs of life. Love and sadness washed over me at the same time. My city, the place I love so dearly, was not waiting for me. Time had not stood still. Life was moving on without me. I felt betrayal on my part and jealousy at the same time. Then and there, I reaffirmed my promise to get back here as soon as possible.
Brandon with His Family
Watching Brandon play the part of a son, brother, uncle, cousin, and nephew is pure joy. He exudes pure love when surrounded by his family and receives it in return. Brandon can often feel like he doesn’t deserve love and finds himself trying to close gaps in the past that may not be completely true. Of course, this is a false narrative and the love of his family proves it. His presence lights up entire rooms and darkness follows when he leaves. One day, I hope he can experience an out of body experience of sorts and truly feel this love for what it is.
Reunited and It Feels So Good
Of all the things I miss about the Pacific Northwest, the friends I made in my six years there are at the top of the list. During our visit, we were able to gather with a small group of them. Being in their presence felt so good and reaffirming. In many regards, it is as if no time has passed at all. We picked right up where we left off with the same jokes and complaints. Still, sadness washed over me again. My friends have not stood still. Their lives are moving on without me. Again, this solidified my promise to get back here.
Movies, No Excuses
Even on vacation, I make time for the movies. I am the very definition of a cinephile. On this trip, I stopped by a couple of theatres, but one of them was pretty special. My cousin and I have a yearly tradition of seeing a movie together over the holiday break. This year, we ventured to the Liberty Theatre in Carnegie, Oklahoma. It is the state’s oldest continuously operated movie theatre. Home to three screens and out of this world prices, we were in for a real treat.
$4 movie tickets? Concessions for two at $10? You better believe it. Of course, the theatre is beginning to show her age, but it felt great to step back in time for the pure love of cinema. As we walked away from the theatre, I thought of those who built it and those who first sat in her seats. I thought about how proud they must have been for their little jewel tucked away in one of Oklahoma’s small towns.
The Art of Gift Giving
If you will indulge me in a “Trump” like moment for a second… I am the best gift giver. Okay, not the best, but a pretty darn great one. I have the art of gift giving down like science and it begins with something so small that it is often overlooked, listening. The key to giving really great gifts is listening. All year long, people drop hints about things they would like. They say want and need almost daily. The secret to being a great gift giver is listening with intention. After that, it comes down to money and waiting for their shock. You’re welcome…
Back in Oklahoma
In many regards, I am not the same person who left Oklahoma back in 2011. So many facets of my life have changed, I would argue, for the better. I am living a more honest and open life. My life has purpose and direction. No longer am I satisfied with just surviving. Now, I am focused on living fully. Now, I don’t regret my time in Oklahoma and I am thankful for the opportunity to grow up in the confines of the Sooner State. My 27 years there shaped and molded me for the better.
Small Town Life
Small town life is quiet… too quiet. Yet, there are few places I crave as much as my parent’s home. There I am afforded a rare opportunity to recharge my batteries. Far from the echoing dings of email and interruptions of work life, I can settle into the quiet and routine. This yearly holiday retreat is so necessary for my well-being, so much so that it has inspired an idea. If I am ever lucky enough to afford something like a cabin in the woods of Washington state, you better believe I will make it happen.
Brandon’s niece called me Tio Nathan. My brother’s kids called Brandon uncle. After years of worrying about being accepted… After years of fear where toleration was the best, I could hope for… After years of wondering would I be able to come home for Christmas ever again, it happened. My partner and I were embraced and loved. I can’t fully explain how monumental this moment for was for me. I just don’t possess the words.
I have been leaving my parent’s home for 17 years. For 17 years now, my mother has fought back tears. For 17 years, I have done the same. My mother often jokes, “if I knew you were all going to grow up and move away from me, I wouldn’t have had any of you!” Like any good joke, this one has a bit of truth to it. The fact that she misses me makes the moments together matter even more. As greedy as it sounds, I hope there is always someone back in Oklahoma crying for me as I fly away into the expanse.
Matt Patterson is without equal. He is a friend who accidentally fell into my life and became an instant brother of sorts. Since our Freshman year of college, we have been stuck together like glue. I cannot imagine my life without him in it. He will be the best man at my wedding and is always the first person I call with good news. To spend some time with him over the holiday season, was exactly what I needed. We always find a way to pick right back up where we left everything that mattered.
Be good to each other,
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