Starting from scratch

Moving to Greece was a big deal.

It meant I had to untie the many knots that kept me anchored to my city. It meant leaving people who meant a great deal to me. It meant leaving my comfort zone – my home for the past 19 years. It meant replacing what I knew with what I didn’t. It meant letting go of any expectation, big and small. It meant replacing the speedy highway for the gravel road.

Back home, I held a 9 to 5, helped on a local publication, and, on occasion, picked up some freelance work. I had a bountiful social life and have made some very dear memories with some of the best people.

But the truth is, I was burnt out. Burnt from work, burnt from starting from scratch over again from relationships gone south, burnt from moving from place to place within the constraints of my own city and not really feeling “at home” anywhere I went, burnt from being caught in the burning hands of capitalism.

I was tube-feeding myself with a glorified dose of “busy” – like most millennials.  I had become rigid and disengaged with my environment.

A month before packing up my life, I had no idea where I was headed, if I’d be going straight to another job or back to school. Greece sort of happened –  just like that. It came together so effortlessly, like magic.

While I was road tripping in New Mexico last May, an expat storeowner in Taos told me about Greece. He had lived in Greece for 10 years as a retail buyer, and that stuck with me, subconsciously almost, as I never jumped on the idea right away.  He drew me an impeccable little map to Arroyo Secco on the back of a receipt. He was incredibly helpful and eager to share his knowledge of the area.

“Travel is the best education,” he had said. I’ll never forget his words because I couldn’t have agreed more.

The past three years, I can honestly say I do not remember well. Everything is a little vague, yet, crystal clear at the same time.  Things are only slowly coming back to me now.

There are periods in time that stick out and periods where I feel I had my head down the entire time and watched as life floated by.

Summer of  2016, my cat died, I quit my airline job to go on a campervan adventure around the U.S. and Canada that never happened (see break-up), I worked the Calgary Stampede and cut my finger in half on the very first day, my car window got smashed to pieces, and, I broke up with someone and still believe, to this day, that it was one of the best decisions I have made in life. I know some of these events may seem trivial but sharp objects and glass have often symbolized upcoming change in my life. I’ve taken note of it ever since.

For someone who is extremely indecisive, it was the very first time I stood firm in my needs. What I wanted in life mattered. I had a choice. It was OK to say no to loving someone back just because they loved me. That mindset was no longer an option for me.

I wanted to no longer be in toxic relationship after toxic relationship. I was exhausted of taking care of everybody but myself. I wanted to go live my best life without unhealthy compromises and the feeling that I wasn’t really supported in my dreams and goals by the one person who was supposedly “closest” to me . I needed adventure and I wanted to experience all of it.

If you’re reading this, I don’t care how young or old you are, it is never too late to start again.  We still have time but time is always ticking. I wanted to live now. Not in 20 years, not in one. Now.

And I’m happy that, two years later, I’m finally on the road.

Unconditional numbness

What he gives you is nothingness. It is self-serving, a degrading form of lust – if you can call it that; a deep narcissistic outlook on life that disarms him from even seeing you as a human being. To him, you are a plant, a convenient body he can pleasure himself on. He attempts to give you any form of pleasure, but he fails miserably by being too forceful, too controlling, too…too out of touch to understand what he’s doing to you, to even care, really.

He finds you interesting but he preys like a hawk and he takes and he never gives. Never will he give. Never will he love, never will he be there for you. Never will he trust, never will he let his guard down, never will he kiss you and mean it, never will he want more from you, never will he respect you and see you for who you are. 

I call it unconditional numbness whereas all I have for you is unconditional loveliness. 

Ha. Let go or be dragged. 

Closure

A photo was shared of us via Facebook messenger, together in Rome, at  the Colloseum on a scorching hot summer day. You were squeezing me around my shoulders; I was wrapping what I could wrap of my petite frame around your massive body. Ex-high school football and basketball player, at six feet three you stood, and I liked it; it felt right, even when I look at the photo now, it’s comforting to look at. One of those photos you share 15 years from now, at a ski trip with all your best buddies, you know?

We had met at the university’s bar kitchen we worked at together. You were upgrading a few classes to become an engineer, I was in my last year of journalism. I was a mere dishwasher/prep cook, our boss was a filthy piece of shit, you just stared at me, with no words, and then the words came, and then we made out in the kitchen when nobody was looking, and then we stayed up until 3 am watching Scorsese movies and I made dinner for you, that one time…and you said something like nobody had ever made dinner for you before aside from your mom. She had passed when you were 15 and I could feel your pain. I told you about my tough year, you listened, you wanted to take care of me. Little did I know I needed to take care of me first as I was pretty burnt out from my last five years of university. I had no job lined up, just Europe to clear my head. And then you came along. And we fought a lot because we weren’t ready. For the longest time I had kept the darkest memories of that trip, but in hindsight, the positive ones should be held on to.

I’ll never forget those simple little memories of you and me in your apartment on second street, right by Model Milk, where you worked for a bit, and then it was Clive Burger for a summer…I was only 23. You were 25. I will be 28 this year. You will be 30… Time flies and then we look back and don’t realize how much time has already passed.

We reached out to each other in September. It had been five whole years…never too late for closure, I guess. It takes a while for people to see clearly, to realize what the other person meant to you…I know you meant a great lot to me.

That September, we exchanged words of kindness; “you left a big impression on me”, you said. You left a big impression on me too, I said back. And then you said something like “I saw you with what looked like a boyfriend two years ago. You looked happy.” Little does he know that I haven’t been seeing anyone recently but he doesn’t need to know; it might shatter his illusion of my happiness. But I am happy, and we talked, and I’m not crazy: we both cared for each other and got hurt and, that’s all I needed to know. We were each others’ stepping stone for a little while, and now we’re skipping to new stones and I’m OK with that.