I took a “Get the fuck over your past” trip recently — I went home – or, at least, my hometown – Scottsbluff, Nebraska, for the first time in years. It had grown a bit, but really had not changed much at all. The edges were even rougher than I recall, and at the end of the two days there, I was really ready to be gone. There were too many memories — some good, many not and as I drove out of Scottsbluff, then out of Nebraska and on towards Colorado, I was a mixture of being elated, sad and relieved.
I’m not sure when (or if), I will ever be back to the mid-West. The trip to Nebraska really was putting to bed a huge piece of my past, and letting go. I visited all the places I grew up around, reminisced, took a crazy amount of pictures, and at the end of two days there, left feeling that a huge weight had been lifted from me, and that I could say a real goodbye to the girl I was, to the place that defined who I became, and to embrace who I have become, and who I have yet to discover.
My “Prize” for dealing with Scottsbluff, was to rent a cottage by the river in Estes Park, Colorado. And we did. And it was wonderful. It was so beautiful I didn’t want to leave. The sound of the river was so loud you could hardly hear anything but the wind and the birds that swooped in and around us all day long. Traffic, sounds of cars, sounds of other people — all drowned out by the water roaring over the rock laden river. The interior of the cottage was charming, warm, if somewhat utilitarian — but exactly what was needed by my emotionally overwhelmed brain.
The beauty of the Rockies is amazing. If I could have overcome my intense hatred and fear of high mountain roads without guard rails it would have been even better. I realize that driving in the Alps will never happen – without a big dose of Valium ;)
We did the usual — horseback riding trail ride with a steak dinner at the end — which was quite lovely. My horse, Agnes, was a real trooper — our ride was at the end of what was probably a very long day for her, with the hoards of people visiting Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park over the Memorial Day weekend. The picture above was taken while sitting atop Agnes. What an incredible view.
As much good as this entire trip did for my mental health, I will admit that coming “home” (and yes, I’ve finally realized that New York IS my home – I’m from Nebraska, but I really am a New Yorker, tyvfm), was even better. My terror at naked (no guard rails) mountain roads was completely overcome when I drove my car onto the Grand Central Parkway at 70mph, right next to Jersey Walls, guard rails, and the moronic drivers I actually understand.
I guess I really didn’t realize until was back in New York that this trip was not about Scottsbluff, not about the beauty of Colorado, not about dealing with the issues of my past. This entire trip was about coming home — coming home to find me. Home. Where I can be as odd, eccentric, flaky, artistic, logical, poetic, musical, a mental mess, a strong woman, and an introvert all at the same time and not be looked at as fucking weird. I can be myself in a way that I never could in my hometown, and never let myself be until the last few years. Where my friends love me in spite of my weirdness, and the people who really know me accept me, for me.
Home really is where you make it, and not always where you thought it would be.