Loneliness isn’t something you should be ashamed of, it should be something that you grow and learn from. It’s okay to spend time with yourself and know yourself and truly feel emotion- this is something that took me a long time to understand. Because, in being lonely you can learn to love yourself and find your best qualities as well as your ultimate downfalls. I will update you, my readers on the narrative of my story in the past months since I have neglected to share it before…
In December, I finally finished my nearly 6 year long and extremely difficult journey of obtaining my Bachelor’s Degree. Several weeks later I packed up my room in my small apartment in LA, and said goodbye to my roommates and the life I had there which was extremely difficult. In the past year I had experienced several different jobs, the hardships of finishing college and my first real breakup. I had friends there, it was a big city, the transition back to my small hometown of Ventura, CA was going to be difficult. I lust after the feeling of newness and the sheen of discovering new things and people, how was I going to discover that in a place I already spent 18 years of my life in? I was so naive only 2 months ago to think I was coming back to nothing. When really I was coming back to a family who loved me unconditionally and was waiting with open arms to receive me and congratulate me on my recent as Facebook would call it “Life Event” of finishing school and “starting the rest of my life.”
However, in that moment I was still hung up on the all-consuming feelings of a broken heart, close friends moving away and my life I had come to know and love in LA seemed like such a distant memory already. I was having a lot of trouble accepting this feeling of uneasiness and uncertainty- I suppose it’s what most people must feel like when they’re naked.
After days of frustration and the omnipotent theme looming over my head of “what the f*** am I going to do?!” I found solace in a close friend who had been staying on and off with my family in Ventura who suggested I drive back with her to San Antonio, Texas and we would make a road trip out of it. So, as an optimist always keen on finding ways to escape reality, I packed a suitcase, and booked a return flight from San Antonio to LA for the following Sunday. We spent about 24 hours total in the car and stopped to hike Joshua Tree’s incredible desert peaks as well as explore the much talked about eclectic contemporary art scene in Marfa, Texas. It was awesome- we were Thelma & Louise and the world was our goddam oyster. In the minuscule town of Marfa (really we walked the entire circumference several times), which has inspired the greatness of so many writers, artists and musicians, I myself found a transformative experience. Not that I am in any way great (at least my mom might think so). I found myself standing in a field of coarse tall grass looking at sculptures by a well known contemporary artist that were framed by beautiful never-ending blue skies, and I felt so small and so alive at the same time. The cold dry desert wind whipping my face, my nose running, laughing with my friend, feeling like there wasn’t a care in the world until I came back home and dealt with reality. The fact that I was a college grad, without a job, without a clear direction, with a nearly empty bank account and without a sense of independence that my Libra soul craves. I had to make the decision to be happy.
On that same trip I became extremely inspired by feminist narrative story tellers and poets like Eileen Myles (who we actually ran into in Marfa), Eve Babitz (an incredible muse to many and a self-proclaimed adventurous) and Janice Joplin who preached the longing of my melancholy heart in her signature raspy drawl blaring thru my headphones as I sat alone in the airplane terminal at 6:30am.
I returned home already missing the trip, waking up the days following wondering what my next move was. All the while taking for granted that although so much had changed, I was in a place where I was loved and cared for. Something that I’ve failed to mention in this blog for so long that effects mine and my families life everyday is the state of my mom’s health. It’s not often that I share something so personal with the entire world wide web, but hey I need an outlet.
The word reality for me (and probably many of you) has for my adult life thus far had a negative connotation. I remember one summer taking a class where we annotated “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and I told my professor I did’t like the book because it didn’t allow for fantasies or escapism (my feelings have since changed). For me, a long time reality has been my mom being very seriously ill since my last year of high school (nearly 6 years ago she was diagnosed with a rare and extremely debilitating and incurable lung disease). It has been something that has reshaped the way I view life and value relationships because there’s always the feeling that what you love can be taken away from you. Watching the person who brought you into this world struggle and have to fight for so long is the hardest thing I have had to experience in my short 23 years on this planet, and honestly I would not wish it upon anyone.
In the last month and a half that I have been home I have been trying to make peace with the reasons for me being here and having faith that there is still a journey in which I will take and be happy. And after getting to spend some time with my mom going to various doctors appointments and negotiating with doctors about what we think the countless meds are doing to her now weak body, I look at her and this experience and I struggle to find justification as to why this might be happening. A friend recently told me there is a reason clichés exist- it’s because they hold assemblages of truths that we secretly know to be true. I could get into “life is so precious” and blah blah blah but instead I am trying to do something else, which is allowing myself to feel a certain way and come to terms with where life is leading me at the moment. Sometimes, selfish acts and ways of thinking reflect your selflessness towards the people around you who you care about. And I want you to know, that the positives are quite exciting right now and may even overshadow the feelings of remorse for not spending more time with my mother. I’m sure when she reads this she’ll say “Aly, spare the dramatics” because I have a tendency to embellish detail (possibly from watching so many telenovelas as of late)- which says something about her character.
So yes I cry, but what’s wrong with that? Is it because reality is not the reality I’ve hoped for? I recently spent a lot of time and energy deeply caring for someone who was too blind to appreciate their current reality, and instead spent most of their time pining over other things and eventually completely lost site of what was eminently important. And yes, as the queen of clichés I can preach to you, my readers who may be feeling some of the grief or uncertainty that I’m going through, I leave you with this line from a Fleetwood Mac song I recently got tattooed on my body forever (lol):
It’ll soon be here.
1.14.16 in Marfa, TX.