I have been living in what most would call a dream situation. They would not be too far off either. I left my wonderful, rugged, rust belt, pot hole ridden city of Rochester New York. A place I’ve come to terms with calling ‘Home’ after years of trying to leave and saying that I would never come back.
I live on a little island off of the southern shore of North Carolina. Carolina Beach. The water is 25 feet from my back door. As I write this I am looking at a fishing boat a mile out in the waters. A flock of seagulls dance around the net that drags behind the boat. It’s truly a daily spectacle. It’s something I never thought I would experience on anything more than a quick trip to for ocean front vacation.
At first I was ecstatic to be spending time watching wave after wave slam against the barricade of rocks protecting the homes of the island from being engulfed in the mass. In the first few weeks here I spent a lot of time star gazing. Trying to flick the switch off in my mind. It would work some nights and I would feel completely relieved of my self-doubt and my longings. Most nights I simply wanted someone else to enjoy it with.
I don’t consider myself an oceanic lover like many of the people who migrate here do. It’s supposed to be a peaceful way to live. An easy life. Why wouldn’t I love this and feel like I belong here?
It’s mostly internal. I outcast myself. It is instinctual at this point in my life. I don’t realize that it’s happening while I am doing it. I do love the beach and I have actually had the thought that I enjoyed Long Walks On The Beach. That is a real thing. Not just what people from the 80’s said on their blind dates with prospective partners. This isn’t for me though. It’s not the people, it’s not the ocean, it’s not the seafood cuisine. It’s completely me. It’s not you, it’s me. I fear we may break up soon.
I was born in Wyoming. I actually don’t care much for most aspects of that state. Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons I hear are amazing. I grew up primarily in Missoula, Montana. Mountains. Green, lush, rich forests with rushing rivers. Even though I was allergic to all living matter I always loved being in the woods. It’s very actively alive. So alive in fact other that species are trying to live on other living species. It seems more relate-able to me than the lulling drum of the ocean. It’s feels like the origins of what a city is. A crazy forest of intertwined beings building on each other and sprawling in all directions. A city is just the organized frame work of the organic forest. In both places I feel like I am at home. In the deep beauty of the rivers, valleys, and woods of Letchworth State Park. That’s what I call New York. Although I also call ‘home’ in busy crazy streets of New York City. Both are completely relate-able to me.
In Rochester there are parks every where you turn. You might be looking for a grocery store to get some filet mignon, tofurky, or a frozen pizza. Suddenly, by taking a couple of wrong turns, you are in a vast wilderness that is creeping on the edges of the city.
This isn’t an advertisement for my home town. I just get excited when thinking about flying back home. I’m still excited knowing that there will be snow that wants to cut the skin off of my and bury my cold body. If only it got the chance. If someone moved to Rochester and didn’t know anyone and didn’t have a half running Honda Civic, it wouldn’t take long until you accidentally make a friend group. It’s such a great appeal to the city.
Friends are what I am really getting at here. Friendship is something I have entirely taken for granted over the years. I keep leaving places I love because I think I can make these strong connections that I have built up over the years. My naivete has led me to believe that all your best friends are around the corner. In all corners of the country. Time is irrelevant. And that may be right for a lot of people. I just don’t think it is right for me. Right now.
In the last couple of week I have been spending time on Skype with my best friend. We phone-call each other everyday when we get out of work. Sometimes before you we go to work. Although on Skype, the conversations usually take a more focused tone and direction. Lately I have been the center of topic. What have I been doing with my life? More specifically, what I have not been doing with it.
I have hung up on him on a couple of these occasions because reality makes me a real A** hole. I have never known how to deal with it besides look it square in it’s ugly damn face, and run very very far away.
I have commitment issues. Not just being in a relationship with a woman. In any relationship. Relationships between me and my income. Relationships between my perfectly fine apartment and my expectations. Relationships between the way my clothes fit and the way I want to feel in them. All relationships cause anxiety and stress for me. Mostly the idea of not knowing when it will end.
When I had a reliable income I was able to start seeing someone about my issue. I felt like it was working. I actually felt better about myself and my half constructed plans. Half constructed is an over statement though. I was working as a cook at two bars. I was living alone and I was actually starting to really enjoy where I was living and I immediately loved my job from the day I started working there. I worked with great people and I felt as though I was valued. So I finished out my lease and I ran away from all of it. It seemed too good to be true and not something I would be able to sustain.
New York City was my retreat. A friend let me sleep in a spare room for a week and gave me keys to her house full of beautiful artists. All of them seriously committed to their craft and their education. It was completely inspiring. Then when my time was up there I started to head south. My excuse was ‘avoiding the snow.’
My father has been living in North Carolina for a little over 5 years now. He had been trying persuade me in to living with him for a couple of years at this point. Always extending the invitation. Ending calls with, “If you ever need a place to stay, I think you would love Wilmington.”
I decided to finally take him up on the offer and see how things played out in the south. I’d never experienced it before and I thought I would have a great time here. I made the most of it for the first month and a half. My soulmate, who is also my ex, actually came and visited for a week. I felt like I would be able to fall in love with my surroundings as long as she was always nearby. That’s what truly loving someone feels like.
Once she had left I have spent most of the time drunk, calling my friends in New York, and catching my her voicemail. Not really a great place to be when you have no friends in proximity. With very limited resources to meet new ones. It’s a small island and very few things to do. So I drink. I can drink anywhere though.
Then I realized I don’t actually care much about where my geographical location is. I just want to be around people I love. I can learn to love any place at all, as long as there is a fostering feeling friendship and love surrounding me. My death metal friends are rolling their eyes right now. I stand by what that means.
If I have a choice I want to be around the support and love of my closest friends. It just happens to they live in the type of ecosystem my heart is attuned to. I may not want to live in Rochester my entire life, but I do want to set a more steady foundation there so that I may see my friends for a little while longer. At least a bit more before we all start to disparage and go our truly separate ways.