Seeking My Best Self

trying to make sense of my life – and lose some weight

The Injustice of it All

I’ve been a wandering fool this year. Up to the Portland area. Two moves of my studio within P-town. Lots of exploring and trying on parts of the city for size. And through it all, the growing realization that there’s no place like home…

…and that as much as I LOVE PORTLAND, that’s not the loam where my roots twist and burrow.

salemSo last week, we moved back to the Cherry City. Well, outside it, actually, on a farm near Monmouth – a little college town that these days bears a strong resemblance to the Gilmore Girls’ Star’s Hollow.

I’m pissed. I am pissed as hell that Salem, stodgy old Salem is, for better or worse, home. I’ve been angry about it in the past. I’m beyond angry about it now that I’ve tried to return to the city of my childhood.

I’m mad at my late husband, who grew up in Salem and wanted to raise his kids in *his* hometown. Who after fifteen years decided he couldn’t take it anymore, killed himself, and left me stuck here, because my kids were firmly entrenched and I didn’t want to traumatize them any further by moving.

Where are those children today? They’re not here, of course. Salem isn’t their home, not anymore. They went away to college and developed new communities. They’ve tried to return…and left again. Most recently, Nick & Hanna returned with the intention of staying. They lasted three months before leaving because…well, it just isn’t home anymore. Their connections are elsewhere.

I’m pissed, pissed I tell you. I’m mad at the world, incensed with my fate…

and really, really happy to be back amongst those who know us, who love us, who are already filling our social calendar with happy reunions.

Needless to say, the only open thoroughfare in my psyche right now is Rollercoaster Road.

The injustice of it all! And the joy…

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Dream Curling

Some people have a dream that consumes them, one that brings life-long contentment upon its fulfillment. Me, I’m a serial dreamer. As soon as one is achieved, a new one takes its place. I’ve never had the satisfaction of *arriving* – for me, it’s always about the journey and the joys (and frustrations) therein.

A year ago, we moved to Portland. Correction: we moved to Milwaukie. Which is NOT Portland. (How can a city that abuts Portland manage to be so conservative and hicksville? To the fourteen people in town who have a liberal leaning – I’m not talking about you. I love you.)

tali 16wk

Taliesin this morning
sixteen weeks

But we lived close enough to Stumptown to enjoy its vibrance and weirdness. Close enough for it to whisper in our sleep at night…”you need a dog…” (Portland is dog-town USA, if you didn’t know. And not everyone there feeds their dog a vegan diet.)

Portland is not one big gritty lump of city – it’s a amalgamation of neighborhoods, each with its own wine bar, pubs, dress boutique, and chachki shops. A place where everybody knows your name.

Except that, even after a year, no one knew mine. I never found my stomping grounds. Never developed a ‘Norm!’ relationship with a pub – though I tried, I really did. The only place where we were greeted with neighborly warmth was St. John’s, located at the OTHER end of Portland, too far to travel for a nightly brewski and shout-out.

We explored the area around my studio – both locations: first the inner SE Buckman neighborhood, and then the west side in John’s Landing. We talked about moving to one of those locations. Maybe there we would find our peeps?

But my dreams carve their own paths, and they rarely coincide with my imaginings. It’s like curling. Some of us are throwers and some are sweepers. Throwers heave their dreams like stones onto the ice and run along behind to see where they come to rest. Sweepers run in front, carefully grooming the path to help the stone land right where they intend.

Truth is, we need to do a bit of both. If we don’t throw, but merely sweep, the dream is as immobile as a rock. But if we throw without brooming, our dreams can veer wildly off-course, crashing and tumbling, coming to an abrupt halt far short of any goal. Me, I like to toss as hard as I can, and do just a bit of sweeping.

It means I need to maintain a fluidity of heart, mind and soul as the dreams slide and move in ways I don’t anticipate. I prefer it that way. I’m the girl who never peeks in advance at her Christmas presents, because I like the surprise.

So, this week, we moved. Not to a Portland neighborhood – in fact, we moved over an hour in the opposite direction. We’re living on an 8-acre farm outside of Salem. WHAT????!!!! you may think. Yeah, me too. How did I wind up here?

Well, the little town nearby, Monmouth, is a college town, and its developed a really groovy little downtown. A wine bar. Pubs. Coffee shops. Dress shops.

And I walked into the BiMart, which I haven’t visited for at least five years, and the checker said, “You’ve changed your hair since I last saw you.”

Norm!

I guess I’m home. For now.

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