Last night, I got back from my trip to California with a lot of thoughts in my head and feelings in my heart. And stomach. Five hour flights make you hungry, it ain't no joke. Five hour flights are also good for staring out the window dramatically and reflecting on the adventures you've just had. I've had a big jumbly, tangled ball of thought yarn kicking around in my head since last night, and the thought of untangling it in this post is kind of daunting. Lucky (unlucky) for you guys though, I'm going to make a valiant effort.
This trip to California was the first trip I took by myself. It was the first major thing I did by myself, really. I know people take trips by themselves all the time, that it's super commonplace, but it isn't for me. Even going through security at JFK, I was thinking to myself, "What the heck you doin', gurl?" In a surprise turn of events (that I'm sure someone other than myself could have foreseen) I found myself thinking on that flight home about how much I enjoyed traveling by myself, how I want to do it again. And then again, and again, and again. WHAT? I think that I sell myself short a lot, is part of my problem. I'm inclined to delete that sentence because to say that you "sell yourself short" must imply that you're some real hot potato, no? No. As much as I like potatoes, I'm no hot one. But I am a capable young lady, apparently, which I tend to forget because I'm not used to it. Ten months ago I was convinced I couldn't go to school without my then boyfriend holding my hand (literally and figuratively) and now I'm flying across the country. Excuse me if I'm disoriented by myself.
I feel like I needed to take this trip for a lot of reasons, one of them being to prove to myself that I'm not the wimpy, dependent, fragile girl I was ten months ago. My second mom tells me this fact all the time, that I've come so far, that I could not possibly ever ever EVER be that girl again because I have grown into a new and improved version of myself. Now, it's a little less difficult for me to believe her when she says that.
I also had a lot of important talks while I was with my sister and her girlfriend. While walking through the Yerba Buena gardens in San Francisco, I received a phone call from my mother, which made frustrated me. In effect, she made it seem like it was selfish of me to go to California because it was stressing her out, because she was "too worried about me." They noticed I was visibly upset, and when given the go ahead, I launched a very long rant about my own guilt about leaving my mother, but my undeniable desire to move to the west coast, to find my own path despite my mother's ceaseless desire to baby me and keep me in New York as long as possible. My sister, having broken free many years ago, had some advice to share, as did her girlfriend. "You don't owe her your future." Hmm. This trip also helped me see that a lot of people have this sort of struggle and that you just have to live your own life, just as your parents did, just as their parents did. Everyone makes their own decisions, for themselves. My parents made the decision to get married to who they chose, live where they wanted, and have their kids when they did. I am entitled to all of those decisions, whether they go against my mother's wishes for herself or not. It's difficult and scary to think about, but I'm glad I thought about it.
This little vacation to northern California showed me a lot about who I am and who I want to be. I definitely wasn't thinking these things during the trip while I was riding a trolley, eating pomegranite ice cream and mac and cheese, playing old arcade games, taking the BART, playing with cats, and walking the ruins of Sutro Baths though. Speaking of Sutro Baths, which you think I would have by now in a post titled "Sutro Baths, 3," it is one of my absolute favorite places ever, and I've been to it on every trip I've taken to California so far. They're these ruins right by the ocean that you can wander around and traverse, and they're beautiful. We took this treacherous, steep path back up from the water, that I was positive I wouldn't be able to climb (I definitely didn't think about the symbolism in that AT ALL. Really.) It was the perfect end to an excellent trip.