I forgot my computer on this trip to Flagstaff. Because of this, I wrote by hand for a few hours on Sunday, September 25. Initially I was going to post that in place of what I'm pressing up now, but things have evolved since then and different things are more important. I did, however, spend time thinking about how out of character it is for me to keep quiet in moments where I have something important to say. I've had days to dissect this and I still can't figure out why I went about such a thing this way, other than sometimes you have to meet a wall with a wall. And sometimes you build that wall you really actually feel it while staring at twenty small squares of light. And even though it only looks like twenty are illuminated, there are really (roughly?) forty that light is coming through. But everything is based off of perspective.
I don't really believe that last sentence with 100%, but sometimes you have to say things and pretend like you believe them, like it's okay to have bad races and I don't know why I did that.
This all amounted to me watching the sunset at the Humphreys trailhead and having a meltdown with my mom on the phone. I think back on these moments and my heart pangs with sadness because I feel bad for who I was right then. If I could go back to the evening of Sunday, September 25th I would place a hand on my own shoulder. The premise of my breakdown was this, which I had written earlier that day and let wrestle with my heart for hours:
And that morning I
My mom had said "You know, it's normal for people to want to settle into a community. That's what people do." and I had responded with tears ripping down my cheeks saying "What if that's not me? What if I'm not normal? Who doesn't feel these things? Why do I only feel these things? Why am I so alone in it?"
And she said all of the right things. Because she's my mom. Because she's number one. And because, as she told me, "I'm always in your corner."
So I decided to leave Flagstaff a little early. I texted Danella because she had moved to Durango from Boulder approximately one month earlier and I told her I'd be passing through town shortly and asked her if she wanted to perhaps climb a mountain with me. With zero hesitation she responded with not only an 'absolutely' but also a mountain. I texted Drew and asked him if he wanted to join and he was down. As I packed my things I thought about how lucky a person is to have (what I have lately dubbed as) 'Fuck Yes' people. These are people that say "Fuck yes" to everything. Things that you say, things that you want to do, things you think and routes you choose - in life and at the base of mountains. These are the people that I'm not worried to leave in Denver. Danella had already left the front range and we still found a way to explore together. When I texted Drew he was in Denver and I was in Flagstaff, and less than 24 hours later we were playing in the San Juans.
On Monday I sat chipping away at battery acid that had leaked and ruined my headlamp, forcing myself to focus on absolutely anything else than what I should have been, and cursing Black Diamond for letting me down again.
As I drove out of Flagstaff I tried to analyze why I do the things that I do. Or in this case, rather, why I hadn't said the things I hadn't said. The song "Agnes" by Glass Animals came on and I ran my left hand over my forehead and let out a very short, very loud, very fucking frustrated "Ugh". Music is powerful in an exponential amount of ways, and one is that certain songs will always remind you of where you were when you heard it at one time. Sometimes it is the First Time you hear a song, but for me it's almost never that. It's a memory that ties itself to a song that I've heard before, and was hearing at the moment. "Agnes" was one for me, and now it is two for me.
I was driving through the desert and with my hand still on my forehead I let myself feel excited to get to Durango and see two people I love dearly and do something that we all love. But I also let myself feel unfulfilled. I needed something a little bit more. And that's when I texted Giselle. Through some tiny tears I asked her "Why are our lives in transition for such a long amount of time?" Neither of us have that answer. To even define your life as 'in transition' is a profound thought, I think. It means you realize you are between two stabilities, that years decades later you will look back on and romanticize and reminisce with. To take that chunk of your life, however long it may be, and slam it against the wall and say "This may be a 'transition time' but it's still life and you still have to feel it and you still have to fucking live it and for some reason, I swear to God, it is wildly important" is hard. But my best friend has been there the whole time for it, and these 'transition times' for us are deeply intertwined and I can tell you exactly the first time I felt that. We were sitting in the living room of the then-Shorb's house with the wood burning fireplace raging, sipping on some varietal of red wine on a frigid December night listening to the song "Fade Away" by Rebelution. I will always think of that night when I hear that song. It was a big deal on a night in June when a job interview brought Giselle to southern Colorado and a free Red Rocks ticket and an agreeable rental car company all came together at the last moment and we saw Rebelution, live at Red Rocks, together. And they encored with Fade Away.
Turns out Colorado didn't work out for either of us.
I've written about this Best Friendship Ever before, and I don't think words will ever do it justice. Words could probably do it justice, but I don't think I'll ever be able to find the right ones.
and isn't that something
So halfway through listening to "Agnes" my eyes, heart and thumbs raced as I asked her if she would buy a one-way ticket to Denver and drive to Flagstaff with me before we venture to Joshua Tree for her birthday.
Giselle is my ultimate Fuck Yes person. There couldn't ever be another.
She had voiced that she wanted to do the San Francisco traverse with me, and we both agreed we should do it before her birthday, so this was the perfect solution. We'd roll into Flagstaff together, and from there continue on for birthday celebrations.
My plan to come back to Flagstaff has evolved quite a bit in the past few weeks. At first it was November 1st, and then the day before Giselle's birthday, and now it's leaving Denver on the 14th, because Giselle is flying in on the 13th. We have a route with destinations over ten days, ranging from Southern Colorado to Moab to Lake Powell to Flagstaff, and so much in-between.
We've always wanted to collaborate on a project, with her artistry (graphic design plus) and my writing, and maybe we've found it. Two women in their twenties who are wondering when the transition phase is going to end - or even if transition phases are even real. Two females who find stability in holding a rope and rocks with fingertips, who feel the pressing urge of life with your heartbeat while running ridges above treeline. Who are en route to the place they burned and spread chapters of their lives just six months prior, and creating explosive moments along the way. Who will have a packed Tiguan with Trader Joe snacks and almost too much Kendrick Lamar.
We can't be the only people who feel this way, but that's how the world has been presenting itself to us. So we'll present ourselves right back to you.
And I want to hear a song you were listening to when you changed your life. Because I told you mine. I just told you two of mine. I don't care how you get it to me, but get it to me. And tell me the story.
When I was writing by hand on Sunday, September 25 I reread most of what I've written in that leather-bound notebook that I was supposed to write every day in.
I wrote this on Tuesday, January 5.
Agnes - Glass Animals
Fade Away - Rebelution