I'm sitting at Kristin's I mac at her amazing rental in Corvallis MT debating whether or not I should drink a hot cup of chai. Yes- because it's a chilly early fall evening, no because a year ago I was in the best shape of my life and a few weeks ago some woman I was selling shoes to asked when I was expecting...
My throat hurts, and I just returned Geronimo to the the kennel after an amazing weekend in the woods- full of surprises.
I'd intended, for weeks, to spend this weekend in Glacier. After weeks of emotionally taxing house hunting around Missoula I thought it'd be great to get away from all my stresses for a few days. I had plans to kick it with a fellow I met my last week in Glacier National Park, a funny fabulous human that captains a boat and hangs Christmas lights around New York City - I've been excited -to say the least. So when he called Thursday to let me know for a variety of reasons our plans weren't quite what we thought, I said thanks, I understand, I'll figure something else out.
See the thing is- through all the rejection of not being picked as a housemate, or renter, or having your buddy do something else instead of hang out with you... all this sort of rejection is bringing a MORE than healthy dose of humility to my life. I used to get upset about these things, and I still do a bit, but mostly I say thank you, that stinks, but I'll get along.
So I came down to the Bitterroot Mountains, to kick it with Geronimo, find Kristin, and check OUT of Missou for a few days.
Kristin is one of my best friends and few role models. I know that's kinda weird- looking up to someone your age- but I just can't help it. She's a dreamer and a doer, who has achieved amazingly great things in our short years of life. She is inspiring, sympathizing, inquisitive, and currently- going through heart break.
We've come to each other through hard times in our 6 years of a friendship since starting photojournalism school. We talk about ethics, philosophy, the wild, life journeys, dogs, boys. Most of our chats the past 3 years through huge life changes have been via phone, (Seattle-Maine, Montana-Virginia, etc). The opportunity to be in her home astounds me - and though technically I have no where else to go- I'm grateful to God and fate for us being in Montana, together, to go through this.
Funny thing about bad surprises- they grow you. See few people wish ill will upon themselves. You don't walk around saying 'I hope something terrible happens to someone I love" or "I hope I get terminally ill" or "I hope I job hunt for a year and end up barely making minimum wage" or "I hope I wander around my new town for a month couch surfing and creating awkward moments with my friends". No. No one wishes those things - because those things SUCK. But you know- ready or not- they happen. And when they happen- you get to find out just how strong you really are.
Sometimes I think I personally proved that while hiking the Appalachian Trail, other times I think I proved it when facing the guy that initiated my homeless streak while at work. But after a weekend in the woods with myself, Geronimo, and Montana awe--some ness I think strength- true strength- is not at all about proving.
Lately I think true anything has nothing to do with proving. If a thing is. It just is. I am strong. Kristin is fiercely wonderful. Geronimo is my child and best friend. Mountains are beautiful.
There is no justification. No explanation. I know that there WAS proof... I just don't care anymore. I can gracefully and faithfully accept and acknowledge these things.
Sucky surprises... they knock you on your ass for awhile. But somewhere in the cloud of dust and despair you feel a new, unknown strength putting you back on your feet (and if you're real lucky you've got a loving smile and hand reached out to you).
So you stand back up. Shakey- but more solid than you could've known.
I am strong. Needs no proof- but surprises me every time.
And Kristin... she's wintering in Alaska.
But tomorrow morning there is cinnamon streusel muffins, hot chai, and a new day.