Wednesday, December 21, 2011

GPS of the Soul

Thirteen years ago today my ex, the dog and I rolled into Washington DC after a drive across the U.S. from San Francisco. The moving van was also en route; all we had to do was find a place to live.

I remember how alien I felt, not of this landscape even though I lived here briefly in 1981 and had returned many times to teach witch camp in W. Virginia. Of course I'd left my heart in San Francisco (it took three years before I was able to retrieve it).

I felt either numb or ill - can't say which, as we set up a temporary household in "corporate housing" - apartment/condos in Reston, Virginia that were so generic, I rented and watched "The Stepford Wives" in order to dance in shamanic alignment with the situation.

Everything was wrong about this new life I was embarking upon. The terrible DC water upset my delicate San Francisco sensibilities, the food did not measure up (still doesn't, actually, though it seemed more important then than now). The only people I was acquainted with had been students at witch camp, all of whom carefully hid their spirituality in the broom closet in their "real" lives, something I couldn't fathom at the time. In virtually every conversation I stuck my foot in my mouth - inadvertently I assure you! I didn't understand that there existed a highly developed behavioral protocol here, one that was quite different than what I was used to.

I didn't get that there would be such tremendous cultural differences between the two cities. I thought, hey, DC and SF are both American cities - how different could they be? Holy cow, I did not get it.

Jake and I walked up and down the suburban streets by day, I clung to my ex at night. Oh man, was it a hard start!

Today I've lived in DC as long as I did in San Francisco. So - am I a Washingtonian now? While allegedly meditating this morning, the idea that I could turn out to be permanently bi-coastal arose vividly into my mind.

I've lived in every American time zone. Am I Coloradan (where I was born and spent my first five years)? Or perhaps I'm still a Kansas City girl (where I grew up). Maybe attempting to identify myself by time zone or city is not relevant. Maybe it never was! Indeed, life is short. I think today I'll stop trying to work this out, turn my mind to something more interesting, yes? I say yes.

Happy solstice, y'all. Cheers!


ellen abbott said...

Interesting. I consider myself a Texan, have lived in Texas all but one year of my life. My roots here go back several generations. I've traveled all over this country, visited a lot of places but never had the desire to move away permanently. Maybe because my family is here though my brother left and never came back my sister left but she did come back. My son left and we are waiting to see if he comes back. I don't know why I'm so tied to this place but apparently I am.

kbrow said...

I received so many warnings about the DC area, when I moved from Sacramento to Arlington - "it's soooo conservative!! You'll hate it!" - never mind the fact that I was reared in southwestern VA, another state entirely, and had long come to the conclusion that I was bi-coastal already. Now I'm thoroughly confused, having become a Pacific islander for a time (and Hawai'i is SO still in my blood) and a Serious Southerner, as life in Atlantis requires.

I lived for a year in SF and it did not suit me, sadly. I was too poor and it was too cold and damp. I wonder if, given a better income and my current ability to knit warm sweaters, if I could make a go of it?

Reya Mellicker said...

Serious southerner - ha! I bet Hawaii is still in your blood!

Ellen, Texas has one of the strongest oversouls of any of the states. Powerful! I would include Virginia and Massachusetts in the category of strong oversouls.

Don't mess with Texas!

glnroz said...

and a happy holidays (and all the days) to you Ms. Gold Puppy...

Nancy said...

Boy, do I understand about the broom closet. I do NOT talk about anything that I am interested in around any of our friends. Any comments, however tame, are met with stares and uncomfortable silence.

Reya Mellicker said...

Yeah. I came from San Francisco where, in the first five minutes after meeting someone, you can say anything, ask them if you have something in your teeth, tell an intimate story, ask a personal question. You can NOT do that here. I had no idea.


nerima roberts said...

Hi Reya,
The notion of whether or not you are a Washingtonian strikes a chord in me...I've been living here in NYC for 30 years now, and am acutely aware that I don't feel like a New Yorker...not sure why. Maybe because I lived abroad so many years.

Happy Solstice! Now it's time to march forward to Spring!
BTW, I'm so glad you talked me into going back to blogging :)))

Reya Mellicker said...

Nerima! Yayyyy!

Steve Reed said...

I suppose you're a little of ALL those places, don't you? I feel like I'm a composite of all the places I've lived. I'm a Floridian/Moroccan/New Yorker/Londoner!

Reya Mellicker said...

Steve you are SO cool.