So hello there, bloglandia. Or whatever this is called. I'm back. In fact, I'm back to stay. I've got a laptop which I can now use efficiently. The state figured their stuff out, and I invested in what I hope will be my future. I can actually use this laptop without it being plugged in! It's insane!
Writing to you all now from Chicago proper. Not on a story, on a dogsitting mission. Been here for the weekend with a lil' Papillon and a Corgi mix. I had the intention of finishing some Chicagoist stories and photo projects, but that hasn't quite happened.
It's ok though. It's strange, but I've found little drips and drams of inspiration here and there during my stay.
The first was the weirdest, so I'll explain that first. I used to watch this show...and it had this theme song. And it was a running joke with me and an ex of mine at one point, though I never really disliked the song. Someone here might have heard of it, and if you know the song or the show, don't judge, friends, because everyone has their vices. Anyway, it was "I Don't Want To Be" by Gavin deGraw. But sometimes you need to hear something and there's no sense getting picky over how or where.
Basically, I don't need to be anything other than a specialist's son. Daughter, y'dig. Either way...I think maybe some of what's been in my way lately is me trying to fix things by changing myself in a way I shouldn't. I mean yes, there's good changes to be made. A person can always learn to communicate better. How to fight fair, how to work together better.
But you can't lose yourself in that. And if you do, you might end up hurting the very things and people you wanted to help by doing it. It all sounds cliche, and part of it probably is, but maybe there's a reason for it. Cliche isn't automatically bad. And neither am I. Neither is who I am. Even my non-linear, scatterbrained self. But especially my self-reliant, smart, creative self.
One other thing I realized this weekend is how far I've come. There's a lot of fears I faced to get where I am right now, and that could even be said literally. I didn't grow up around the city, and in fact, sorta grew into a fear of it. When I was older and went with other people, I started to see how amazing it was, and wanted to know more. I dated someone who lived in the city and thought maybe one day I'd live here. But I was afraid to drive, didn't know much about anywhere that wasn't Michigan Ave, and just...generally was afraid. I got in a sideswipe accident over by UIC years back on a trip with friends and from that point on was afraid to drive in the city- mostly because it was a CTA bus that forced me into another car that got me in that mess.
Now...today...I'm learning how the pieces fit together. I'm able to drive in town like it's just another really big town. GPS helps a lot, of course, by making it easier to recover from a wrong turn, but still...I'm learning how neighborhoods flow into each other and discovering the unique flavors of each. Of course a lot of this is due to Chicagoist, something else that I wouldn't be doing had I not faced my fears. That came out of GISHWHES, which came out of single me trying to do things that I always wished I'd do, like go kayaking or do a scavenger hunt. Then when I was getting bolder, things were nutty and I was asking CEOs to dance, I threw my hat in the ring and started writing. For real. Which has opened up an entire new world, and I am amazingly grateful.
I have a byline. I have stories and contacts and encounters I couldn't have had I still been afraid to be here, or afraid to let anyone read my writing, though I've been writing since my kindergarten diary.
I'm stronger, life is better, because I faced those fears. So maybe? I need to remember both those things. I need to be bolder, and I need to be fearless.
Last? This afternoon I went over to the National Museum of Mexican Art. It's a stop I'd been wanting to make for Chicagoist, and it's not far from where I'm staying with the doggies. So I went over that way this afternoon, and I am *so* glad I did. The things I love about Mexican culture are so apparent in its art- it's all bold colors, so personal, so passionate...it wears its heart on its sleeve. There's such joy in the culture, but those same bold colors and brushstrokes speak of suffering too, of being something other.
It's not my heritage, but it reminds me of New Mexico, and the things I loved about it as well. And it reminds me that the things that you love can tell you what you want.
I want to fly bold colors. I want to make things personal- by being closer to the people in my life, and more honest, and more open. By listening more and better, and by sharing more. I want to be passionate...which I already am, but I want to let that blossom- I need to pursue things more doggedly, I need the things I love to sweat out of my pores.
And I need my heart back out on my sleeve. I think there's no sense in trying to tuck it away where it belongs. That doesn't mean getting carried away by emotion and not being able to be there for other people, but it does mean that I'm an emotional person, and I need to use that instead of trying to become someone else.
I don't know how all this looks yet...but I know it's what I want.
I want to turn over an old leaf, in a way, and look back on the things I already had that I need to have back. And I want to use that to create a better me now that will be all bold paint and passion.
Let's see what happens from here.