So, this morning I kicked off the weekend with a long run downtown. After my acceptance this week of the fact that I hate it here, I feel much better. Writing about it also helped me realize that maybe there I need to be open to a different lifestyle in Baton Rouge. Maybe my life will look different than it did in Memphis. When I think about it, in every city I’ve lived I’ve had different interests and a different style of life. It’s just that I’ve been so happy the last five or so years, I hate to change it in any way.
I saw my acupuncturist from Memphis when I was in Houston a few weeks ago. I introduced her to Kristi – one of my blog readers that I just met – and told her that Marlene was part of the healing journey that brought me back from a very dark place. I looked at Marlene and asked if she remembered what I was like when I first came to see her back in 2007? “I was a mess,” I said. She tilted her head and said that she wouldn’t call me a mess but that she was really worried about me. “You were really locked in to that relationship,” she added. “I was afraid for you, but there was something in you that was looking … and you wouldn’t give up.” I never thought of it that way. I felt I had no choice but to keep doggedly searching for the path. I was determined to get out of that hell I was in. I had no idea, honestly, if there was something better on the other side for me, but I knew I couldn’t die where I was. I had to try. At Christmas that year, I seriously contemplated buying t-shirts that said “Sharon’s Team”. I had my acupuncturist, my therapist, my 12-step group and my women’s circle. I had nothing inside me. But, they all held me tenderly while I attempted to grow. It took a couple of years before I started really living the life I have now, but it seemed like a century. It literally took a village.
So, with the move to Baton Rouge and the big changes that it presents, I probably do feel a little afraid that different may not be good. But, I know that I don’t need to change. I am who I am. While I was running this morning, I was thinking about how I became a runner. My friend Elizabeth remembers that journey, and she was the first one who said, “You are a runner.” I remember laughing, embarrassed. “Not really. I’m trying,” I said. She was insistent that I was a runner. Now, I have no issues saying I’m a runner, but it was a journey for my heart and soul to claim that label. One morning right after I ran the Chicago marathon, a woman stopped me in the parking lot at work and asked me if I was a marathoner. I was so shocked that I was, indeed, a marathoner. I’d never considered that label before, but once I’d completed a marathon, I guess I’m a marathoner…. forever. I believe that if you dream of running, attempt to run, set a goal of running or even just feel like a runner, you are a runner. It’s not an achievement, it’s a state of being. So, yes, when Elizabeth said I was a runner, she was right. And the same applies to being a dancer, a minister, a skydiver, or any other label. So, I am lots of things that I had never expected I’d be. Maybe Baton Rouge will provide another surprise for me. I hope I keep growing.
I’ve just become a writer. This is a fairly recent label for me. I haven’t stepped into it yet in a big way. Maybe I can explore that in Baton Rouge. So, what does a writer do? Writers like to write, meet other writers, and they also like to read. Momma and I were talking last night, and she told me about a book club that was now visiting the city where their current book selection was set. I should find a book club! I should go to the local library, too, and find out what’s going on there. That’s new, but it’s also a good fit for me. I’m an outdoors person. I already have my kayak and camping equipment. I need to get more involved with the local paddling clubs and maybe some camping groups if I can find some. I’m also social, so I need to get back in touch with that Meetup Group that I met. I know they do some outdoors things every now and again. There are lots of things here I haven’t really wholeheartedly explored yet. I ended my run with a plan for the day.
I came back from my run energized. I went out to my storage shed and re-organized the whole thing. When I moved here, I was in a hurry, so I just threw all of the stuff that didn’t have a spot in my new home in storage. It was a mess, and I hated walking back there. I cleaned it up, organized it and brought a bunch of stuff to Goodwill. I went through all of my old self-help books and kept only a few. Those books were part of that “propping up” phase where I was learning how to have healthy boundaries and develop strong relationships. That stuff – or at least what I need – is now inside me and is a part of who I am. I’ll pass them on to someone else who needs some support. I even tossed my wedding DVD. Every time I see it, it brings up this whole cluster of uncomfortable feelings. I looked at that yellow CD with WEDDING scrawled across it in black marker and hesitated for a moment before I thought, “Bye. You’re outta here.” It felt really good to lock the door on the stuff I’ve chosen for TODAY not the stuff I’m hanging onto from YESTERDAY. I don’t need to be reminded…. I REMEMBER.
I went to the Library. They are building a fantastic new library – I’d like to think it was in preparation for my coming. I got a library card. I talked to the librarian about their e-book collection, their book clubs and the coffee shop that will be built right next door. They have a writer’s group that meets once a month to socialize and talk about writing. They actually have two, but one is for fiction writers. Who knows, maybe I’ll crash their party anyway? They have a full calendar of computer classes for Microsoft Office, and I’ve been thinking I need to hone my skills on that product for work. Why not take advantage of that? I put the date on my calendar for the next book club meeting at the Bluebonnet Branch. They are reading Scott Wallace’s book about searching for a lost culture in the Amazon. Perhaps there’ll be a few tips there for relating with the natives here. The library has the book in electronic form and in hard copy, so I can have my pick for FREE … another operative word for me right now. I’m looking for FREE or CHEAP. Oh …. and guess what… while I was at the library I found a flyer about a big project to improve the University Lakes in Baton Rouge for recreation. That is exciting! And, I can also get involved with it. (For more info, join their Facebook Page – Destination: The Lakes. I can’t wait to go to my first meeting.
Now, I think I’ll relax, look at DIG magazine for some live music events and start reading some of my book club book. Baton Rouge is looking better already. I’ve thrown out some of the old and starting exploring some of the new. Perhaps change will be good. I’m ready for the next chapter.