“There was a sound, split all the heavens apart
on the northern wind, out in a southern spark
I will be with you, running from the rain
When it reaches the end of the line, I see myself reflected
in broken glass as the gates come crashing down
There is blood on the tracks tonight, and rust inside our veins
Will it ache every time I hear the storm running behind me?”
-Thursday, “Running from the Rain”, 2003
This is Part Two.
I’m going to preface this post by saying that this is very little about quilting and more about myself and my personal journey. If you’re not into that, check back next time and I’ll have some quilting-related content. But for now, I gotta speak my heart and I hope you can understand how important this is for me.
I’m also going to preface this post by saying that I’m going to get into some real deep doo-doo, so I hope you have a heart. I’m transparent as a ghost. I like it that way.
After getting home from Austin, I fell into a sort of depression. When I say “a sort of depression”, I mean that I hated every single aspect of my life. I hated myself and all the choices I’d made that led me here to this secluded dystopia. I hated my fat face and my stupid haircut.
The thing about coming home after being gone for so many years is that everything is different yet it feels vaguely familiar like deja vu, yet you might not be able to remember how to get to the grocery store in your own hometown. For me, in this case, it was the fact that this was the first significant amount of time I had spent back in this area since my mom has passed away.
The thing about losing a parent is that until you have this experience, you cannot completely wrap your head around the levels of grief that you travel thru. Until you have this experience, you have an assumption of what’s an appropriate amount of time to grieve and then you set your imaginary alarm clock for the friends and family you have that have lost someone and you expect them to abide by this timeline as if it were the deadline for the school newspaper. You tell them that it’s time to move on. You will one day understand and feel stupid for saying that.
The thing about losing your mom is that you go home and she’s not there. You can smell her, you can see all her little decorations and her tschotskes and her photos and all the stupid shit that she saved of yours over the years (I mean seriously Mom, every single piece of beaded jewelry I’ve ever made? FOH) and then you visit your father and you realize that he has to live this every single day. You can feel her everywhere, but you look in every single room; under the bed, in the hallway closet, in the backyard. She’s everywhere and she’s nowhere. You look at your sister and in her face you see your dead mother. And you can’t tell her this because it more than hurts her to hear it. It chips away at her slowly.
I thought I was fine and I thought I was moving on with my life and it was all a bold faced lie when I stepped foot into her house the first time.
I started looking at ways to move back to Austin and started putting a budget together. I can’t be here, I don’t want to be here.
Christmas came and it was hard.
I got really sick and tired of being sick and tired. I made a few New Years resolutions. One was to make the best use of my time while I was here in California. One was to lose the weight I’d gained during the move so that I could focus on other things. One was to stop feeling sorry for myself and turn my feelings of emptiness into feelings of great gratitude.
I want to take this moment to apologize if we’ve had any social encounters and I wasn’t myself. Or if I didn’t call you when I was in Austin. Or if I ditched you last minute. I didn’t want any of you to see me this way and I really didn’t know how to handle my feelings.
QuiltMom had a faint idea of how I was feeling. As always, she stood silently beside me in solidarity. She has always had great hopes for me, but has never pushed her opinions or dreams for me upon me. She’s always let me do my own thing and has supported every decision I’ve made, even if she disagreed.
I had booked a lecture and workshop many months ago to come back to Portland and visit the Modern Quilt Guild there. I thought it would be the perfect time to see the city more in depth and see if maybe it would be like a Pacific Northwestern Austin or something.
I stayed in a converted basement apartment the duration of my trip which was really quite lovely, but it had very few windows and I felt like I was in an extremely stylish dungeon. Partner that with the consistent rain thru-out my trip. Portland in August was lovely. Portland in January was simply not doable. I have curly hair and I’m an outdoor runner. This was not going to work. BUT the workshop and lecture was lovely and I had the best time chillin with the Portland peeps. Don’t let me fool you, I love Portland, just not to live.
The drive from Smartsville to Portland is roughly 10-12 hours. I’ve driven across the country three times at this point, so I’m used to the long haul. However, I’d exhausted my entire music anthology and every podcast to which I subscribe. QuiltMama suggested that I listen to books on tape. (I have both a cassette tape player and a cd player in my car because yes.) Somehow or another, I let it slip that I had never read or watched Harry Potter.
A hush fell upon the room. Or, as the Fryer family says, she Frysquinted.
“Your car does have a cassette tape player. I’ll put Harry on your bed for you to put in the car before the trip.”
Let me tell you something. Harry Potter. Why? Why did NONE OF MY FRIENDS tell me that you would fall in love with every single thing about HP…. That Harry is all of us and that we are all just trying to get out of our little cupboards and be the best with the talents we may or may not know that we have? Harry Potter is changing my life and I just needed to get that out there.
On the drive back to California, I was happy to be driving during the day. The scenic view of Northern California and Southern Oregon is magnificent. Luscious greenery and gorgeous hillsides decorate the sides of the highway. Mount Shasta stands so tall and looks like a Wish You Were Here postcard.
Mount Shasta. Mountains. Faith…..mustard seed…
Austin has hills but it doesn’t have mountains.
Austin has Hyde Park.
Sammy lives in Keyes. My dad is an hour and a half away.
All my friends live in Austin.
What am I doing with my life.
Next- Part Three: Even Shadows Have Shadows