When I first sat in Carlos’ living room that evening in Madrid, as I watched him light and relight his cigarette while he excitedly found the English words to represent his Spanish thoughts, I never would have guessed that I was actually beginning one of my closest friendships, and that almost four years later I would be hiking in the mountains of Southern California with him. Often times when we are in those moments, we don’t realize that we are making our history while defining our future. We can’t know. It is only when we look back that we see the weight of the moments that came before, and even then, we can’t be sure of the full significance each instance will continue to have on our lives.
It seems there are also times in life when we are fully aware that the situation we are in at that point will undoubtedly impact us. As I write this, letting these words resonate within me, I can’t help but feel that I am consciously moving through a point in my life that I know will posses a lasting impression on its future course. On its future path.
2012 was my first full year living once again in the place where I grew up, and I am driven to tears by the deepest sense of knowing in the deepest parts of myself that I made the right decision to leave San Diego and move to Seattle. This past year has been remarkable. Though I still don’t have as many friends as I would like to have, I was able to strengthen the single most important relationship I will ever have. The main person I became friends with this year, more than ever before, was my very own self. Without the distraction of beach parties, barbecues and So Cal nights, I was forced to spend time with myself, and only myself. I’ve always spent time by myself, but not in the way I did this past year.
There were those Friday and Saturday nights in March and April, when I’d want so desperately to do something, ANYthing, and I’d go through my entire phone searching for someone I might be able to get in touch with only to end up realizing there was no one. No one. I would buy a pair of concert tickets for a show months later with not one clue as to who I’d bring, but with the hope that by that time, I’d have someone to go with. (This is actually a great habit, and one I will continue.) I had gone from constant phone calls, text messages, party propositions and dinner invites in San Diego to spending lots of time sitting in my furniture-less apartment thinking of people I used to know and who I could possibly get in touch with. Eventually, I ended up going out all alone and would drink my sorrows away so much so that my loneliness would magically turn into find-new-friends confidence. I cringe at memories of me drunkenly slurring on some stranger “I’m looking for friends!” What, seriously? Luckily, I stopped doing that, but unluckily, it wasn’t until after I made friends with strange homeless men strumming guitars and jammed out on my drums (which were really my thighs) on a sidewalk outside of the bar where everyone else that I had anything in common with enjoyed cigarettes in small circles of people wearing smiles and the bliss of friendship. Even the homeless men didn’t pay much attention to me. Ah, that feeling still brings to mind a visual of brick walls closing in, and I’d say it was probably my lowest point this past year. In San Diego, I had been braided into the lives of many people, so much so that if I had missed a party, they would have missed my presence. But in March and April in Seattle, besides my mom I knew that not one person was thinking “oh what’s Jayme doing tonight?” Keep in mind, I was expecting all of this to happen. I’ve moved enough times to know how it all works. But the actual journey is always a bit different than the anticipation, and Seattle has also proved to be the most difficult place to make friends.
The greatest result of loneliness is art, and boy was I artistic this year. With such a lack in social activities, I had more time to fill with things I have never filled time with before. I wrote more this year than I have ever written in any year. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I painted. I cooked. I drew. I made movies. I studied Spanish. I even took a freaking harmonica class. I read. I discovered new music. I tried new things. This all resulted in my own self discovery.
This year, I became a woman. Previously, I had always thought of myself as a girl, and didn’t even want to ever be a “woman”. But there comes a point when I think most people make the transition from girl/guy to woman/man. I can’t pinpoint it, I can’t describe it, I can’t even tell you what it means. I just know that this year, in 2012, I made the transition from girl to woman, and proudly. Life seems to be falling together in the most fascinating ways, and I am always in awe of how it just comes together. Clearly I wasn’t thinking these things during those sad, lonely, anxiety-stricken crying episodes that will probably always come and go in my life. I have accepted them, because they do come and then they do go. I have learned that these “fits” are perhaps not negative emotional outbursts, but rather my inner world letting my conscience know that something isn’t clicking and it’s time to make an adjustment, no matter the size. Or maybe it’s my inner devil letting me, and everyone else, know that my period is on its way.
Gradually, without even thinking about it, I was doing things for me, and only me. Not because someone I care about enjoyed it, not because it would have been fun for me and my friend to do together, not because everyone else was doing it. Because me, and only me, wanted to do it with me, and only me. When it comes down to it, we only have ourselves, so we better darn well know how to make ourselves happy, independent of any external factor that may or may not be available to us. With that comes the added benefit of recognizing that external factors can’t affect our happiness if we know we can be happy without them.
Everyone needs friends, but I know I can also make myself happy without the presence of friends, because I did it this year. And that happiness that was self-sourced was the very thing that attracted the friendships I did end up making. I also know that by doing the things I love, I am opening myself up to greater possibility that I will meet people that share those same interests, which then will open up more possibilities in every aspect of life.
Journeyfoot is the symbol of my greatest accomplishments this year, and it has already changed my life in the last month and a half. It is the product of my passions, and something of which I feel I have been “searching” for a long time. I know it’s a big statement now, especially considering I have only posted a few blog entries so far, but the start of Journeyfoot has for the first time ever allowed me to see a vision of my future life. I feel very strongly that this is one of those points in life that I will look back on in the future and say that was a huge turning point. I have numerous ideas and plans for improvement in this here space, and I am very much looking forward to all that 2013 will hold, in Journeyfoot and beyond.
Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve!