June 26, 2009

Spare Some Change

The only certain outcome of this trip to Joshua Tree that I'm really hoping for is some good writing. If I'm going to be an artist-in-residence, I better make some damn good use of my time.

But I'm not going to deny that I'm on a personal journey as well as a creative one. I seek enlightenment, healing, reckoning, something. I hope to learn something about the world as well as about myself.

Almost two weeks in, I don't know how much I've changed, and don't know whether it will ever be perceptible until I return from my trip, but I think I've already learned a few things.
  • You can't seek solitude and then complain that you're lonely. It's really one or the other.
  • Maybe the problem isn't with New York, but with me. I'm different outside of New York. If I can only learn to be the way I am here - friendly, outgoing, active, athletic, sober - when I'm back in the city, maybe I can find some of the happiness I seek.
  • Civilization isn't all bad. I still want pedicures and a swimming pool.
  • Sometimes you just can't fight every battle. Sometimes you just have to let the wind push you around, let the bugs crawl in your bed, let the sweat drip off your face.
  • The worst thing is fear. Falling and skinning your knee isn't so bad (even though it ruins a pair of yoga pants). Getting stuck by a cholla hurts but could be worse. Giving your number to someone who never uses it sucks but hopefully there will be someone else to ask for it. I have never been stung by a bee and I am terrified of it. I'm now wishing that I'd walked through the swarm in the Thousand Palms Oasis just so I could get stung and get it over with.

Does that mean I'm ready to go back? No way. I have lots more to learn. And I'm determined to change at least a little while I'm out here - not to shed the old me completely, but to embark on an adaptive reuse project of my old soul and bring it new life, a new purpose, a new coat of paint. Or maybe peel away all those new layers of paint to reveal the original structure underneath.

Can an environment change a person? Absolutely. Am I destined to be the same independent, fiesty creature that I was born as? Probably. I just need to find a way to make that as positive of an experience as possible.

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