I fly into Phoenix, AZ on Feb 19, in the year of our Lord 2017. I have two huge bags at about 40 lbs and 46 lbs and a carry on with my meditation cushion in it, amongst other things. I shipped my keyboard to AZ the previous day in Muskogee, wrapped in my shitty, white robe. I also put my riding boots in there. I was going to keep them at my mom’s until I needed them but it sounded like I would soon be seeing horses in CA. I was very anxious when I landed for several reasons: 1) This was the place I flew into when my friend was having a psychotic break, 2) Oh shit, I’m in AZ! This thing has really started and 3) I was waiting for Jeff to pick me up and I did not like not being in control. I was channeling all my anxiety into my favorite defense strategy: judgmental, better-than, cold-sharp-nobodies-good-enough-I should-run-the-world, up-tight, bitch. Jeff was at a new friend’s house and I’m railing against him in my head that he’s late because he cares more about strangers than he cares about me. You know, stuff like that.
And then he finally pulls up. And he looks bronze and beautiful and totally relaxed. Ahhhhh, yes. That’s what I wanted. But I haven’t shaken off my whole sour attitude yet. Mainly because I am exhausted and very hungry. Jeff tells me that his clothes are still at the new friend’s house (a biking friend he knows through his brother). Now many of you know that for me: new = bad/no. But this has been a point of tension between Jeff and I, long standing. Understandably. I can look at it from the outside and see what it might be like from the other side. Like Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation (I’m watching it again). Its not fun. A good half of myself says, ‘Oh gaaawwwwd, noooooooo’. But I’m committed to be a better partner to Jeff and I’m starting my new life! I want to be more open to new people. Jeff mentions the meal that they just had and that is the clencher: food. And maybe alcohol. Many of you know that I didn’t drink for years. And that it is rare that I do drink alcohol. But if I do it is probably to help me deal with new people or people I am not around often. Look at that. I’m like everyone else.
Anyway. I get fed an amazing meal. Given wine. They have a young daughter. She really likes me. I do a handstand for her and she thinks I am super awesome. Then we play the piano together, she shows me her room. This is my first evening in Arizona. We head out soon because we have to get to the grocery stores before they close. Sprouts and Whole Foods. Going to a grocery store is my favorite thing to do in a new place. Well, correct that. An organic grocery store, not just any store. It grounds me and helps me find my bearings. then off to our new home. I can feel a little stress from Jeff, I think, because everything in the trailer is not working 100%, yet. For example, the water. To clean out the water tanks, he poured in bleach. We have 3 tanks: fresh water, grey water (shower and kitchen sink), and black water (sewage). He blasted and bleached the black water tank because we would not be using it. That’s because we have a composting toilet. Big advantage of the composting: no black water! No sewage! And extra storage for grey water. Anyway, the bleach was not out of the fresh water tank, and you could smell it, really strong. So I first arrive, with my two huge suitcases. I get inside and I can’t use the running water. Everything has to come out of our water bottles. So its like camping. Not my favorite. It scared a small part of me, ‘I CAN’T LIVE LIKE THIS!’ But I easily reminded myself that this was temporary. I was completely overwhelmed with newness. Almost every single thing except Jeff and Kitty. And it was dark, so I couldn’t my bearings that way. We get ready for bed and hit the sack. Here I have another internal panic, ‘I CAN’T SLEEP IN THIS BED! I CAN’T EVEN MOVE MY KNEES, I HIT THE WALL AND THE WINDOW! ACCKKKKK!'(Our bed is in a cubby hole. And its a RV short queen 60″ x 75″) But, again, I could easily calm this voice down, ‘Hey, this is the first night, its going to take some getting used to’. It was freezing! Kitty slept at our feet! She hadn’t slept with me for years! I really missed that. I fell right asleep.
And then the glorious morning. I first am thinking about how to block out the sun in the morning but in the days to come we stop closing the blinds at night. I like waking up with the sun. Not too early, mind you. 7-7:30am. But back to that first day. I was in overwhelm for the first two days. By the end of the second day, I started to catch my breath. And I thought to myself several things: 1) Oh my god. This has really happened. This. Is. Awesome 2) I can’t believe how quickly I’m adapting to this (this is not something I imagined for myself. I didn’t dream of living in small spaces. I typically don’t like a small space. I want spaciousness. I don’t like being crammed, stacked, restricted. I don’t like being dirty or rather I don’t like my hands or feet to be dry or dirty/dusty. I don’t like/hate walking barefoot on a not clean floor. Drives me crazy. I don’t like being cold. You see what I mean? I am not rugged or resilient. Yet…) I realized quickly that I was completely aware and in acceptance of the conveniences I had given up in order to gain something else: Freedom. AND OH BOY, IS IT SWEET! It reminds me of the big to-d0 when my family moved out of our old house in to the new house. We had been in that house for 27 years, I think? My parents had bought land and loving, painstakingly built a new house there. One might expect there to be a lot of grief leaving a the only house you had called. But no. It was like, “What old house?” No turning back and you could never imagine going back to it.
I quickly got used to the new routine and was happy and grateful for these new things. They allowed me to live the life I had been dreaming. I’ve always known that I was sensitive to energy/input/vibrations/stimulation. Our rental house on Balsam in Lakewood came about so that Jeff and I could have more of a sanctuary: right on the park, very quiet neighborhood, perfect location, walking distance to all essentials. But once I got to Buckeye my body, heart, mind just said: MORE, MORE, MORE. This surprised me. And frightened me just the littlest bit. ‘What other demands will my body/soul make of me? How much more can it possibly ask for?’
Now, let me get back to a less pretty part of my intro to Boondocking (i.e. dry camping, free camping, off the grid camping). I’ve mentioned that I have a hard-wired, knee-jerk reaction: new = no. This leads to a certain posture I take when I’m introduced to a new environment and/or new people: tight faced, hard-lined, cold, withdrawn, and critical. And really in my head, not in my heart. I was trying to keep this from coming out because I didn’t want to effect Jeff. Failed. By my second day he was commenting on so many things going wrong now. His digestion “was doing just fine before and now its all fucked up!” So I said to my self and to him, “What’s the new variable?”. Well I knew that I was a new variable. I knew he had worked so, so, so damn hard the last three-five weeks to get our new home in working order. It had maxed him out spiritually, mentally, and physically. I really did not want to come in here with my little shit-on, better-than attitude. I went to bed that night knowing that I was flipping the switch on that one. No more of the critic.
I was consumed with all of this newness for the first two weeks at least. My friend Erinn asked, “what do you do all day?” in response to me telling her that our project list and projects seem to not end. In 160 sq ft, no less. My response, “I know, right?! I don’t know how, but I am occupied most of the day”. And this leads me to my next post…
“I Worked Really Hard My Whole Life to Get Here”:
And Other Myths
A Journey with My Inner Children