A couple of years ago, I embarked on a journey. This has been a spiritual journey for me, as well as one that has taken me to Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and all the way back to Illinois. I uprooted myself in a somewhat semi-permanent fashion, got rid of several hundred pounds of personal belongings and moved into this RV. I’ve lived a very minimalistic lifestyle for a all this time. I enjoy it, but I have found that this was a learning time for me – a time that I very much needed – and it is time for some change.
I often come back to Illinois to “regroup” and I have been blessed to have my friend Sheila here. She understands me in many ways. She knows that I have been on a soul journey these past few years. She knows that I feel things that are hard to explain and that life touches me in ways that some people can’t feel it. I try to pull the positive lessons out of every encounter and each experience, sometimes when they are painful I learn the most. That’s really life. The painful things can help us grow by moving us beyond our comfort zones. I’ve needed that and I knew that I did.
I spent the better part of seven years in a relationship that pushed me to the brink. We had a home, two cars, splendid furnishings, jobs, pets, ate out too much, got a college educations and better jobs … but the relationship itself was awful. There was no trust, no compassion, no joy in it at all. We just went through the motions of what we thought it was “supposed to be” when you were in a relationship. The person I lived with was narcissistic and detached. Lies of omission were part of daily life with her. It drove me crazy. Literally, I was crazed. I ended-up on medication because she told me I was crazy so many times that I started to believe it myself. I was on a whole host of prescription drugs that were meant to ‘make me normal’ when all the while they just made me more crazy.
When that relationship finally came to an abrupt halt, I was still very shaky. I’d tried to kill myself twice and contemplated it a third time. I was an emotional and psychological train wreck. I had no idea who I was anymore. I didn’t know what I liked to do, how I liked to spend my time, what I thought about the world around me anymore either. I’d been living in a bubble, like a hostage, for seven years. Like a baby, I had to rediscover myself.
There have been many mistakes since then, but I have spent the better part of the last six years alone. There have been dates and a few flings but nothing of any sort of permanent nature. It seemed like everyone wanted me to change or conform to their idea of what I should be. That scares me, after having gone through what I did. I did see a therapist for a long time who told me that I definitely had PTSD from the previous long-term relationship. I had more trauma over that relationship than I did my father’s suicide, which seemed to amaze her. This is why I’m so outspoken about domestic abuse now and I stress that it does not need to be physical abuse. Mental abuse is far more damaging in the long run.
So, with no roots, no real family and no reasons to stay anywhere, I have let myself be blown from here to there. I’ve lived in Colorado, Illinois, Missouri, Florida and spent short periods in every state in between them all. Yes, many of you think it is an amazing way to live and that I am lucky. In some respects it is, but it is also very tiring. This RV is small, has no heat when it isn’t plugged in to a power source and I have been so cold that I wonder how I didn’t die a couple of times. I remember waking one morning and not being able to feel my feet. I tried to get out of bed and I couldn’t walk for a few minutes. I staggered into a Starbucks to warm myself and actually checked my feet in the bathroom for frostbite. No black or bright red – I was good.
There was the time in Alabama, exactly a year ago, when it was so hot that the RV hit 136 degrees inside and all I could do was sit. It was too hot to cook or move and I closed the curtains and stripped down to my boxers and sport bra and prayed for rain. It was that weekend that I wrote my first book, “Butch Sexology” with just a pencil and a legal pad. I published it on May 29th, if I recall correctly. What a year it has been! I’ve learned that I can do anything that I want.
So…I just had to figure out what I want. I know I don’t EVER want to be so cold that I can’t feel my feet ever again. The things that are important to me are not possessions by any means. Lifestyle is important to me. I believe in living a purposeful life and a simple life. In talking with Ellen again, she has told me about the city of St Pete’s stance on sustainable living. I was immediately intrigued. I can have a small house, a big garden and even raise chickens in my backyard. I can be warm year round. I can have peace and quiet and still be in a city that offers me all the things I love, such as theaters, beaches, performing arts, museums, fishing, fresh food, sports and so much more. I can have a little home office, where I can hide in the evenings and continue to tap out my books. I can have BOOK SHELVES again. The thought of it all is almost mind-blowing to me. I haven’t had anywhere I have thought of as “home” for a long, long time. Well, it is time and I am ready. I’m making the leap.
There you have it! What lesson have I learned? That in attempting to change the world, the world changes us. It’s up us whether this is for the better or for the worst. I think I finally hit “for the better” and I am officially going to park the RV in storage this fall. I’ll be hanging up the keys for a while. It will still be there so I can enjoy weekend excursions and I will still fly here and there when I can. If I can park it in a back yard, it may just become my “writing cave” but who knows? I’ll never fully give traveling up, because I do love to see the sights and explore places … but this butch is ready to hang her many hats somewhere with a permanent hook for a while.
(I’m seriously gonna need some furniture! o.O)