I moved to my beach-side apartment in Santa Monica earlier this year in hopes of finding stability. To find my feet in the sun and have a place to put my coffee grinder after one of the most tumultuous years of my life. Seven months later, I'm unexpectedly moving out. I could've stayed, thrown down, dug in, put my stubbornness to good use. But sometimes, even if it seems goddamn idyllic, a beautiful apartment near a ferris wheel that glows neon in the twilight isn't the right place for you to be. Security - at least what I've always thought of as security - continues to dance just out of my reach. So I've decided to stop grabbing for it. To sink in instead. To find security where it really lives - which, as it happens, is not on my red couch or in my triangular dresser or stuffed into my yellow comforter. It's not hiding in another person, a person I have to find before I can feel safe. Being grounded doesn't need to come from having my name on the lease of a sunny apartment. Security can come from putting my bare feet in a patch of grass or filling my lungs with oxygen and letting it out slowly.
It can come from putting my clothes and toothbrush in the trunk of my car and driving six hours to run my first half-marathon. It can come from knowing that whatever shifts in my world, I can handle it. Even if "handling it" sometimes looks like "crying on a kitchen floor on a Sunday morning."
As any toddler will tell you, crying is a totally legit way of dealing with the world.
Security can come from always having a home to go to, whether it's a friend's home or the home I grew up in, where my mom still lives and my dad's ashes are waiting in the dining room where we unceremoniously dumped them after they arrived courtesy of the US Postal service last December. He's finally getting out of that cardboard box. Next week we're going to scatter him on his favorite beach, because I inherited my love of sand and water from him.
Four blocks to the west. At least until Friday.
Security only ever comes from inside you. As we've all learned, what's outside is constantly and sometimes unexpectedly shifting. If you place your security in a relationship or a living room or an accomplishment, life will find a way to tilt your axis so everything that was on the left is suddenly jumbled up on the right or sliding over the edge. Life just wants you to recognize that you already have everything you'll ever need. But the lesson can be a painful jolt.
Being a creature of whimsy, I've always moved toward what felt right rather than what made sense. Logic has no place in my life. Thinking about staying, in this enviable spot with the security I longed for, didn't feel good any more. Thinking about moving forward into whatever is next felt open and expansive and crackling with energy.
Last time I put my books and furniture in a storage unit, I traveled the world, hunkered down in the middle of a literal and metaphorical hurricane, and watched my father die. In more tremulous moments, I worry. Because the beginnings of that year look very much like the beginnings that are coming for me in a few days. But I also know that whatever is coming will come whether I'm in LA or San Francisco or riding a llama through South Carolina. So I may as well live my life. I've handled disaster before and with that disaster wrangling came the roots of something deep in me that I can always call on, no matter where in the world I am. Strength and sense of self is the reward for moving through death and grief and natural disaster and a constantly shifting life.
So what's next? I can't even begin to imagine. But I'm looking forward to finding out.