A Home with a View
I took a run today. There had been a trail I had been avoiding the last couple of days because I didn’t know how long it went for. I had taken a break from running and had just been working up to a few miles again, and I was afraid that I would die out in the middle of nowhere and have to walk back (Can anyone say walk of shame?). But from the moment I woke up, I knew today was today; that trail was mine. I started my run off with a spring, saw the spot where the sidewalk meets the unpaved, and let my mind take a big mental sigh before I continued onto the path unknown. Yes, cue Robert Frost read along here…
The trail started off flat, allowing me to trust it and find a rhythm. Slowly I started to get into a groove and the stress from apartment hunting and job hunting, the pain from my pack from lifting and carrying and yoga-ing a little too much, and the insecurities about big legs and broad shoulders began to melt away.
The trail must have noticed when I started to get bored because as soon as my mind started to wander off, it took me for some steep climbs. And I’m talking steep. I knew that if I stopped running, I would be more inclined to turn around and take the easy route home, so I kept at it. The trail narrowed to the point where I had to side-shuffle sideways on a ledge just over a river. One wrong step and I would tumble down 15 or 20 feet into the pebble-filled water. My thoughts, my worries, and my desires were all put on hold by my body that needed my mind there, present, watching the trail for unexpected rocks or drop offs.
Suddenly, I reached a point where my stubbornness had been stung by a true incline for the books. I kept running forward and upward, kicking high with my heels, when suddenly the dusty mountain was so steep I started to slip backwards. I lost my balance and just before I tumbled backwards, I swung forward with all of my weight and fell onto my knees. I continued to slowly slide downward, so I jumped up frantically looking for help form the earth.
“No, no, no, no, no,” I said out loud and out of breath, “Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t fall. Not now. Now now!”
I lunged forward and wrapped my fingers around a root of a tree. (Had that been there before?) My right foot found friction on a rock that was embedded deep into the dirt. I climbed sideways, following what I was hoping was still the trail—it was just too steep to go back. Once the trail leveled off (yay, it was still a trail!), I walked for a few minutes to allow myself to catch my breath. I hadn’t noticed while running since I was completely zoned out, but I was suddenly up pretty high in the mountains.
I continued to jog until I got to the top. I could see the temple and the capitol, pretty as a pearl. I couldn’t believe I’d never really seen Salt Lake City. After all, I was born in Utah. I wondered how these beautiful buildings existed so close to my birthplace without my knowledge. I suppose us travelers are sometimes so focused on getting as far as we can (because isn’t that most impressive?) that we miss out on the gems that were always only a gas tank away. Still, I was grateful for finally finding my own state’s treasure.
Looking out over the city made me recall having a conversation with my ex once about the view. He always talked about a house with a view, and I never could really share interest in that dream (although I loved the idea of a house with him at the time!). I never understood the idea of wanting to buy land and have a home and yet only really care about being so high up. Why so high? Why so magnificent? Why was being able to look at everything below you such a high?(See what I did there?) I just never got it. All he could talk about sometimes when we’d drive up in the hills was what it might be like working on the 80th floor of a building looking out the city and “owning it.” He wanted a home so he could see out over everyone. I dunno. It just never appealed to me. I guess I’ve always been the girl that preferred the ability to climb over the ability to simply look out from the summit.
…If that makes any sense.
I nailed the interview yesterday, and I start training for my first part-time job in Salt Lake City next week. It’s not enough to pay the bills quite yet, but it’s definitely something to keep me above water. I want to thank all of you who have been supporting me via social media with crossing your fingers for interviews and happy thoughts. I really think it helps—and if it doesn’t—it’s still fun to get some encouragement before an interview that causes me to shake because I’m so nervous!
Meg has been so helpful. We live in close proximity to each other, and being able to walk over to her house has been so nice after so many years of phone-calls from one city, one state, or even one country to another. She’s helped me pick out outfits and do my hair and makeup. The last interview I went to where I was offered my job, she took me to lunch (where I realized I was too nervous to eat), and then dropped me off for my interview. I have to say, living in the same city as another sister has made Salt Lake City that much more worth it. Even if it wasn’t as awesome as I think it is, I’d still be happy with my decision. Plus, my mother and Misty are only a hop, skip, and a throw away. It’s perfect.
The part-time job is just a hosting position at a restaurant. The struggle to find work is something both scary and familiar to my family. With “having an artistic side” being an understatement for me and all of my sisters, we understand what it’s like to be day dreaming about a new story idea to write, a new song to sing, a new animal to paint, and new landscapes to photograph…all while working in food service, hospitality, and retail.
And it just so goes that if we host, we strive to be the best hostess out there. If we are in retail, we will carry your clothes around with you until you feel like those jeans won’t make you look fat. And when clean up, we scrub until the managers tell us, “That’s enough. You can go home now.”
We’ve just always been that way.
…Honestly, I’m a little excited to just kick-ass at the restaurant with my niceness….As weird as that sounds.
The last few days, I’ve had to run to keep my sanity. Meg and Nick have also taken me out and given me a break from the “stopping.” The “stopping” is the opposite from all of the “going” I’ve been doing. It kind of sounds like grown up stuff when I think about it: I registered my car again (yes, my baby is still here with me). I reinsured my car. I bought a new car battery. I searched for an apartment. I found an apartment (Folks, the front door is green, what else do I have to say, really?) I fussed over whether or not I would get the apartment as the application was asking some tough questions, one being “Where have you lived in the last year?”
The adult things continue too: I got the apartment. I signed the lease and got the keys. I did a little victory dance in front of the landlord. (Okay, that one was not adult-like.) But a year’s lease is a pretty damn big deal for me. An ant ire year! Well, I hope so. (You never know!)
And I’m sitting here against my bedroom wall. There is no furniture. I have a pad and a bundle of blankets to sleep on thanks to my older sister. Apart from that, there are only books and trinkets from far away places resting in boxes. The closet is small, but I have filled it with all of my belongings…And there is still space left for more. I imagine soon soon I’ll get a pay check, and soon I’ll have a desk to write on again and a bookshelf for my special bound friends, and a dresser for my foreign souvenirs and jewelry box. Not tomorrow. But soon.
Over the last few days, I realized that I know the feeling of, “This is ours.” I’ve lived with a boyfriend and had a good time. I remember our Ikea outing. We split a lot down the middle…but a lot of things were his. The pots and pans. The rice cooker. The coffee table. “This is ours,” is a great feeling. But I never allowed myself the time to have the, “This is mine,” feeling. So here I am in a bare room and yet I fill more full than ever because I can look at this place I have found, this home I have made for myself, the things I have brought along, collected, and preserved through my adventures and I can say, “It’s not much, but it’s mine.”
I understand that it’s hard to write a post about how broke I am without sounding like I’m indirectly asking for money. (This is where you awkwardly tiptoe out of the room.) I’ve wrote about the struggles I’ve had with money before and not posted them for this reason. However, today I’m posting it (as soon as I stop by a cafe and borrow some wifi). I’m posting this piece although it screams “I need money” because even louder, it screams, I’m scared about my tomorrow and yes I don’t have much…but I’m proud of what I do have, where I have been, where I am, and where I am going. A home is not something done in a day. It’s not something done by signing a lease. It’s not something done by making the month’s rent. A home is not made—it is maintained. This is my home, and like me, it will grow.
In a few days (hopefully tomorrow!), my home will have internet. In a few more, it will have a stove and oven. And one day further in the future, it will have photographs hanging on the walls and a couch with a coffee table and Calvin and Hobbes—I mean girly magazines—on top.
I guess what I’m saying is that… If I was finished with my home all in one day, what would be the fun in that?
My home starts today. My home continues tomorrow.
Yesterday, I was walking downtown in a button up, white collared shirt and high-waisted skirt. I was wearing more jewelry than usual. Meg had curled my hair and done my make up. Despite my hesitation, she convinced me that I could pull off the red lipstick. As soon as I put it on, I felt more confident, more professional. I had had “thee” interview downtown.
On my way home, I stopped by the postoffice and dropped off a SPECIAL postcard. *Hope that gets to you just fine, by the way.* And then I continued walking. I was in the heart of downtown, and still felt like I was in the mountains. The mountains worked with the buildings—even the high risers— and everything under the big blue sky looked like they were simply meant to be. I saw people smiling and waving, walking and holding hands. Even the dogs were wagging their tails and patiently walking in tune with their owners. It was perfect.
I thought about “The View” everyone, including my ex, so greatly desire, and I suddenly realized that it wasn’t the view from the top of the mountain overlooking a city that made a place worth living in. No, that’s not what made a place at all.
I realized I was in the right place when my view from the bottom—through the eyes of a girl downtown who’s sleeping on the floor, using hand soap to wash her hair in the shower, and has no place to put her books—was just as beautiful as any view from the sky. Let’s face it: any city is pretty from above. It’s the special places, the places we want to call home, that look their best from ground level.
I smiled and laughed to myself. How simple: The best view in town is…in town.