Anywhere But Here
One idiot's journey to embrace her heart never being in the same place as her body.
I have already achieved something pretty huge along the way, and that's my garden. I won't show you a photo of what it looked like before, but it was a wild mess. Last summer I decided to do something about it, and even though it's not NOLA themed in any specific way, it did kind of evolve into something a little of the vibe. I love it with all my heart, and taking care of the ever-multiplying array of plants has done wonders for my brain. It took a lot of work, and is something I'm incredibly proud of. It's an oasis of beauty when I need it most.
I even created my own "porch" and repainted my bistro set to perfectly match the one on the front stoop of the house I rented in New Orleans for the duration of my stay. It was the best way I could think of having a piece of that beautiful place here at home with me. Okay, so the patio is a little overgrown right now, but I plan to have taken care of that by the weekend!
Day one of my journey. All this came to me whilst I was on my way to the supermarket. We're currently experiencing some blisteringly hot weather, and for a big shop, I'd generally hop the bus there and back. Instead, I decided to embrace the sweat and do the trip on foot. I'm a weirdo who loves heat and humidity (crazy for a fair-skinned redhead, I know). And boy did I sweat. And it was glorious. It also made me feel a little better about my general level of fitness at the moment. I was really taking care of myself a few months ago, but then I badly sprained my ankle and was laid up for a couple of weeks. By the time I was making feeble attempts to get back into my workout routine, I got offered a three-week cat-sitting job and seriously needed the money. But that frakked up my routine something awful and there were no more laps around the park or workout sessions for me. I'm done with the job now, and getting back out there to pound some pavement at least shut up the voice in my head which was calling me a potato, on repeat.
Got back, unpacked, threw open my back door, and cranked up my Swamp AF playlist to fill the house with blues. Then started this blog. Promised myself I wouldn't waste a bunch of time like I usually would making it all fancy. The content is the point here, not showing off design skills!
And now to bash out a few tasks to fill my day:
It's unlikely I'll be updating this blog every day with a host of new ideas, and it's even possible I'll lose interest in the project in a couple of weeks. But let's be fair here, anything which makes me feel better, no matter how temporary, has to be a good thing!
My heart has never seemed to live where my body is. I grew up in Luton, UK, and pretty much wanted to be anywhere but there. Visit it sometime, you'll see what I mean. When I lived in London I wanted to be in the Scottish Highlands. But when I moved to Northampton in 2016, on the back of a dead relationship, I honestly thought for a while I'd wound up exactly where I was meant to be at that point in my life. Over the following three years that certainty got chipped away, piece by piece, until I was back to wishing my location away. In an attempt to satiate my wanderlust, I escaped to America, where I spent two weeks road-tripping from San Francisco to New Orleans, via a very circuitous route which covered Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, Monticello, Denver, Amarillo, Dallas, Austin, and Houston.
I finished out the trip by spending a further week in a gorgeous shotgun house in the Marigny District of New Orleans. And I've been looking back ever since. Returning to my grey and difficult life in the UK was like having my soul ripped from my body. I felt like I'd left most of myself of over 4,000 miles away and I don't think I ever really recovered from it.
I figured things would get better once I readjusted, but a few months later the pandemic hit and I realised that if I'd been miserable before, it was doubly true once the world fell apart. Being stuck in isolation, with no friends or family, in the middle of what I can only describe as a nervous breakdown, might have been survivable if I'd loved my environment. If my home was somewhere I felt I belonged. Where simply walking the quiet streets would sustain me. But I hated every part of it, so all I could do was retreat inside my own head, which was not a happy place to be.
Fast forward sixteen months, and we've just experienced "Freedom Day" in England. Supposedly now we're all fine to whip off our masks and pile into clubs and festivals. And it's bollocks. Our government is a stain on humanity who wouldn't know how to follow the science if it was dropping a trail of fifty pound notes behind it. It's only a matter of time before everything blows up and we're thrown into a third lockdown. They'll try to make it our fault because they told us to "exercise common sense". But the fact is, they've screwed us and that's the last I'll say on the subject because I don't want to chew over politics here.
But the fact is, there's no light at the end of the tunnel for me, and trying to accept that things aren't going to magically change and improve has hit me even harder than the first and second wave. So, I need to do something about it. I can't escape the orbit of my life here. I can't run away back to New Orleans, even if the pandemic didn't exist. That shit's expensive. I can't snap my fingers and conjure my friends and family here. I can't will my physical and mental health all better again. I certainly can't shit money, as much as I wish I could. Literally the only thing I can change is my immediate environment and mindset. Can't be where you want to be? Hate where you are? Pretend otherwise, within the realm of sanity, at least.
So, I'm gonna play pretend. I'm going to live in my own little bubble of NOLA. Not in a weird, obsessive, make my living room look like a tacky Bourbon Street gift shop way. I want to work on tucking a little bit of soul from that city into my life, so I can wrap myself around it and feel its warmth. And that's where this blog comes in. I've always identified as a writer, and even though that dream may be behind me now, I like jotting down my thoughts on stuff. I'll document my projects, and plans, and hopes, and memories, and musings, and evidence of the results, which will hopefully keep me going and remind me why I'm going to try so hard to do this. And if I sound like a complete weirdo for taking this so seriously, try living my life for a month and you'll shake your head, saying "Yeah, that seems legit".