(And other, lesser, demons...)
Options have always been a crippling force in my life. Perhaps that seems paradoxical in light of my penchant for anti-authoritarian thinking, but in general, I’d much rather be told what to do, than have to suss it out for myself. It’s simply too open-ended a task; sorting through various, seemingly equal possibilities, to choose the one that might reap the sweetest reward. There are too many parameters available for me to waste time on, and I could – if left unchecked – spend a lifetime simply weighing the various categories of benefit, both long and short term, in even a simple dichotomy of options, without ever making a choice. In most instances, this leads to one avenue (or, in the worst instances, both) expiring, forcing my hand in the other direction. On still other occasions, my fear of that outcome pushes me into prematurely choosing the more time-sensitive route, despite it not being clearly in my best interest – worse yet, it has quickly proven itself, on occasion, to be the exact wrong choice.
Despite this constant fear of regretful arbitration, I’ve done a fair job of committing myself, over the last decade, to several sudden and extreme changes in lifestyle, location, and ambition. While they were generally triggered in moments of panic, brought on by heartbreak, loneliness, or stagnating depression (usually a blend of the three) – and while each has come with its own series of regrets in regards to abandoned pipe dreams, distant compatriots, and an uncertain future – I take some pride in my resolve to immerse myself in these unfamiliar and often socially isolated environments until I’m able to whittle out new perches from which to nest and base my new undertakings. It was this resolve that first forced me out of my desert home and into the rainy forests of the Pacific Northwest. It was also that steadfast determination in the midst of unrelenting panic that drove me to leave the bohemian oasis of Bellingham and explore the land of my birth in my own sporadic and cautious way. In the face of my own shame at returning to the shadow of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, it was this same pigheaded refusal to accept my place as just another unwelcome millennial detractor from the prescribed local convention that led me to seek employment as a commentator on the culture and identity of that sleepy little village of weirdos. That position led me to at long last finding peace and closure for many of the hatreds and frustrations my childhood home had instilled in me. And that closure is how I came to view Santa Fe as what it has always been; my home. And in conjunction with another moment of panic and despair (I have those sometimes), it was this realization – that Santa Fe was, and always will be, like it or not, my home – that allowed me to, without fear and with little doubt, decide to leave home again, in search of something that can never be found at home; a purpose.
The psychological closure Santa Fe bestowed upon me in my final months, weeks, and in fact hours in its uniquely visceral light is something I’m still coming to grips with, and cannot begin to detail in this rambling missive. If the Gods only knew the sympathetic alliance I had forged with the sentient geography that surrounded my childhood, and the silent blessing those hills bestowed upon me as I packed my belongings into my shitty little Honda Civic and barreled out into the sunset, they would surely grow jealous and conspire in some truly devious way to remind me of my place as a mere mortal. How dare I master my surroundings to that extent, and presume to know in which direction my ultimate prize lay? How dare I assume that I, by some divine or demonic intervention, might actually know how the cosmic game of dice that lays before me will play out, before even the first is cast? I should be ashamed. I should tremble in fear. But alas, my arrogance has again got the better of me. Because while I have nowhere to live, no reliable internet, a much smaller contingent of peers and kindred spirits than I anticipated in this “Santa Fe on the Bay” that I hope to soon refer to casually as “home,” and absolutely not even the foggiest inkling of what I will do when this rant reaches a full stop, I know now that I am the only true arbiter of all my future outcomes. “I am He who is called I Am.” And no overabundance of options can prevent me from playing out my part in this absurd drama, which needs both heroes and villains; commentators and sycophants; jesters and fools; and perhaps a narrator or two…