No one said it was going to be easy. And it hasn’t been. I’ve been vacillating between emotional highs about finally making positive changes in my life and emotional lows about leaving behind the people and places I love in Los Angeles. I haven’t yet found that sweet spot of balance in between the two extremes. In short, I’ve been a bit of a basket case. I mean really, after years of feeling that LA was infusing my life with toxicity, it was a shock to find myself mourning the loss of my Southern California beach life a mere 3 weeks after becoming a Houston resident. My lowest point came when THAT Guy found me sitting on the bathroom floor sobbing as I tried to reassemble a pole shower caddy that had come crashing down on me. Seriously, I see now that my reaction was a bit out of proportion to the perceived crisis of my spilled shampoo and loofah on the tile floor. Yet sometimes that’s what happens. Sometimes, in my futile quest to always prove to myself that life is all sunshine and lollipops, I let things build up to the point where they end up exploding inappropriately when triggered by the most mundane thing. Yes, I’ve lived the cliché of almost breaking up with a man over him not putting his dishes away. But that isn’t what happened this time around. What happened was THAT Guy sat down on the floor next to me, looked into my eyes and compassionately said “I’m worried about you.” He didn’t break up with me and he didn’t get angry, he just said he understood. He’s the one who pointed out to me that my life has been a whirlwind for 10 months now and I haven’t given myself time to sit still, process and just be. I spent 5 months driving around the country, then immediately dove head first into packing up my apartment, renting a U-Haul, and then introducing my parents to THAT Guy the evening before the four of us drove for 3 solid days across country to my new home of Houston. Houston, a place where I knew two people. Two. And one of them was THAT Guy.
I suppose it’s in my overachiever blood to want things to happen NOW. I want to find my new tribe of friends in Houston…NOW. I want to know how I’m going to make a living…NOW. I want the changes that have finally started in my life to transition me to a place of contentment…NOW. And I want to know if THAT Guy really is the one for me…NOW. I’m so busy wanting things to happen NOW that I’m stuck living in an imagined future without taking time to enjoy the now of the present moment. All of these things take time. It’s a process, and I’m clearly in transition with every part of my life. I’ve felt for months that a shift was beginning to happen at a very deep level with respect to who I am and how I live my life. That shift is ongoing. It’s unsettling because I can’t define what is happening. Sometimes I feel as if I’m going mad. Intellectually I know that the solid path to contentment is to live in the present and to stop trying to figure out the future. Yet putting that knowledge into practice can seem downright impossible when one’s life is as unstable as mine has been over the past two years. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t stopped yearning for the road. The quiet time alone driving for hours upon hours is very healing to me and silences a lot of the irrelevant and unproductive chatter in my head. Meditation and lap swimming help me in much the same way, but the open road brings something magical to the mix. In fact, the road has become so special to me that I created a road trip wall of art made up of the license plate art I purchased in the desert on the last night of my road trip, 2 rusty license plates from New Mexico, a piece of art from my visit at the American Gothic House, and my California license plate which I removed when I put new Texas plates on Princess.Kee Kee and Roy Rivers (his shirt matches the bluebonnets!)
Had I not made the decision to move to Houston, I most likely would have stayed on the road for a few more months. I’m finding the best way to ease myself into my new life off the road is to keep road tripping, if even for only small weekend trips. A month after my move to Houston THAT Guy and I loaded up Princess with our weekend bags and the dogs and headed to Ennis, Texas. My friend Roy Rivers, the recording artist I met during my 5 weeks in Hot Springs Arkansas, was headlining the Bluebonnet Festival so we road-tripped to spend some time with him. I started out the weekend not knowing that the bluebonnet is the Texas state flower (and not even knowing what the flower looked like, although I surmised it would be blue), and ended the weekend romping through a field of the flowers with the dogs.The jockey in this horse bathtub played the jockey in “Secretariat”
Then, 2 weeks ago, Yoda and I took a solo trip back to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Out of all the stops I made during my road trip, Hot Springs is the one that really began to breath life back into me. I’ve felt the call to return to Arkansas from the day I left last February. When I heard that Starr Fuentes, the curandera who adopted me for 5 weeks when I felt so broken and alone, was hosting a concert with Steven Halpern, one of the most well-known and talented new age musicians in the world, I knew I had to be there. Hot Springs once again delivered what I needed. I soaked in the mineral waters, hiked in the mountains, made new friends at the annual decorated bathtub races down bathhouse row, filled up three 7-gallon water jugs with spring water to take back to Texas, and reconnected with many of the people whom earned a permanent place in my heart earlier this year.
Once again I found myself not wanting to leave Hot Springs when it was time to go. Yet at some point during the 9 hour drive back to Houston I found myself eager to get home. Home. Curiously Houston, or at least the 5 mile radius that surrounds my house, has started to feel like home. In two short months I’ve already met four amazing women whom I’m excited to call my friends. I’ve also landed some unexpected creative consulting work. I’m enjoying my daily checks on the first cucumber and zucchini starting to grow in my new vegetable garden. And of course, Houston is where THAT Guy lives. At this point I can’t imagine Houston will be my forever home, yet for now, well, it’s becoming my NOW home. And I take comfort in the fact that having a NOW home brings me one step closer to getting through this transitional period in my life.Kee Kee, Yoda and Oliver in a field of bluebonnets
Read me on The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christine-buckley/