Since that faithful 4th of July weekend in 2011 when I nervously boarded a plane from Dallas, Texas back to Portland, Oregon to divide and pack up the apartment I shared with the man who wanted to marry me, I have maintained a storage unit in Portland and haven’t unpacked any of my suitcases in exchange for the symbolic stability a dresser and closet represent.
After separating from the gig and the guy, I spent the first 3-months of my new give-us-us-free status in Dallas, TX, distracting myself from all the change by facilitating an advertising summer boot camp. I remember being apprehensive about unpacking any of my bags when I arrived to the loft space I would be sharing with three other woman for the next 3-months because I knew the move would be temporary. I was like, what’s the use of unloading my life until I looked at the mini library I packed in one suitcase for people to use, like I always do, and coming to the inconvenient truth that those linen suit pants and nice button down shirts I packed military style may need to hang on something since I don’t like to iron.
At the close of the summer boot camp, and nothing to divert my attention the unsettling urge not to be in one place for too long started to bubble inside me. I wanted to make up for all the time I felt like I lost sitting behind a desk exploring the world via Google. Not to mention, the need to shake the creepy feeling that I’d seen the same people, over and over, again for my last 3-years in Portland. (Yes, Portland is that small where you can bump into the server from your favorite restaurant in some random part of the Japanese Garden on an early weekend afternoon, then see them, again at your favorite jazz spot the following evening, which by default makes you friends.)
Before I left Dallas I lightened my load by leaving my mobile library with a friend. Headed back to Portland to hang with some of my folk ride my bike, eat good food and smoke. Swapped out my wardrobe for things more seasonal and went on autopilot traveling from city-to-city for business and personal, each stop lasting no longer than 3-weeks at a time. Even when I went back to my momma’s house in St. Louis, there was this feeling of, don’t get too comfortable, that consumed me, so I didn’t. The unzipping and zipping of my suitcases became normalized sounds, no different than the screech of metal hangers against the aluminum railing in a closet.
In the beginning, all the zipping and unzipping was fun. Another plane. Another train. Another hotel room, couch, futon or comfortable bed where I would roll over to see another face in another city or perfectly alone. Another conversation with another person I would’ve never met in my previous life or a late night happy hour with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. One trip after the other, after the other, after the other, after the other, until I woke up one day in my momma’s bed in St. Louis completely drained and 30-pounds lighter.
Regardless what my momma says, not having my “own “space for well over a year has made me feel a bit displaced and dependent in a way I haven’t known since I was 17-years old. For her, mommas house will always be home, a refuge from the big bad world were I can regroup and refocus and she’s right. For these last few months of extended stays at my mommas house nothing has compared to the fact that I get to kiss her on the cheek at least twice a day, hear her laughter and to ask her in person, how her day was. The inevitable reality that I’ll be leaving the nest once again is met with a heavy heart, but I’m a grown woman and I need a place where I can walk around without the fear of one of my brothers walking in, wondering why I’m butt ass naked eating a Granny Smith apple and singing late 80s early 90s soft rock classics.
My travels will not slow. This is just another chapter but I’m ready for a door that I only have keys to.