If there is but one force which feeds the root of pain, it is the refusal to learn beyond this moment.Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves
I left Florida because I couldn’t live my life on cruise control anymore. Yeah yeah. I know: palm trees and beachy breezes. But, enticing as they are, they’re a poor substitute for really living–which requires guts, grit, and a healthy dose of openness and vulnerability.
Suburban Florida life was never the dream. But, when you’re simply putting one foot in front of the other, even if the path is beautiful, it doesn’t leave a lot of space for dream discovery. And when you don’t have dreams of your own, it’s pretty easy to fall into co-opting someone else’s, just so you have something that you can (erroneously) call your own.
For most of my 20s, my life closely resembled a train wreck. But, once I hit my 30s, bit by bit I began to piece myself, and my life, together: I got sober; Simon & I finally had that baby we’d been trying for; we found the perfect house in a beautiful neighborhood; I started ever-so-slowly writing things and putting them into the world; Simon transitioned and began living into the big, amazing life he was always meant to have.
So far, so good.
All of these things were unfolding in real-time around me. Which didn’t leave a lot of time or energy for deeper dreams. And plus, the scenery (physical & psychic) was a beautiful diversion.
Then, as the endless barrage of a decade of change began to settle, I started to sense it: the uncomfortable emptiness. I had all these beautiful things, a life I’d built piece by piece, against some pretty damn serious odds. And yet.
The ache let me know: something was missing.
If you’d asked me, I could have calmly told you what I thought was missing. But intellectual knowing isn’t the same as soul-knowing. At least for me. Just wrapping my head around something wasn’t enough to compel me into action. But, the soul has a way of finally making itself heard.
My way looked a lot like sobbing in bed in the middle of the night. And I finally had the words: I am living someone else’s dream for my life.
Once you know a truth like that, you can’t unknow it.
People look at me a bit askance when I tell them that the dream–absolutely, without question–is Atlanta, Georgia. Being here. Living here. Making a big, beautiful–sometimes messy, always true & real–life in this city.
But when you are called to something, it’s best not to try to ignore it. Because it is going to keep calling, relentlessly, until you answer.
Atlanta has called me since I was 19 years old. And it’s the call of home, y’all. I belong here like I have never belonged any place else.
It took me 21 years to make my way here. And I am so filled with gratitude to finally, finally be home that the right view of the skyline or the riot of flowers blooming in the spring (that I’m hella allergic to) still make me tear up. And that’s the god’s honest truth.
Taking a chance on this dream–just finally picking up and moving— launched me into this open space full of possibility. Honoring one of my deepest desires gave me the courage to trust myself in ways I hadn’t even fathomed.
I’ve found the space here to learn beyond this moment. To ask hard questions. To wrestle with uncomfortable truths. To take risks. To be vulnerable and open.
It’s a scarier way to live. There no numbing out. And sometimes the lessons are hard. And there’s virtually nowhere to shove the psychic clutter. But the reward is being really alive.
And it’s terrifying, beautiful, raw, and glorious. It’s home.