Four Corners, Utah (part 3)

Destination Unknown

June 6, 2019

Once again I needed a day to process. And to recover. Mentally. I was expecting the Monument Valley to be breathtakingly beautiful instead what stole my heart once again, was the landscape all around me. And Bryce. But that was almost obvious. Don’t get me wrong, seeing those rock formations is still something amazing, but …there’s a but. Arizona, just like New Mexico, is too underestimated. I don’t like this. I took my time driving back and forth through almost four States today to see as many things as possible because they were all mainly a stone thrown one from the other. Not by chance the area is called Four Corners, because it’s right within the borders of Utah, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

Driving and visiting more than one place, together with the emotional atmosphere of Bryce Canyon at sunset, brought up so many memories, so many thoughts, so many reflections. I also had to MarieKondo a few things from my past. After realizing that all the people from the past I got in contact with during this trip, were even too busy to meet, out of town (but then, is it true?), completely ignoring my messages or simply apologizing for not making it, I decided that this was not “sparking any sort of joy” in me, therefore, I need to throw it away (that’s the Marie Kondo technique basically). The only contacts I had throughout my journey were either with people I randomly met, or suggested by mutual friends so we could spend a couple of hours together, or my “Cambridge” friend. So…I guess, enough with the past, bring it on future! What actually made me think about it, was a message from another friend from the past that, to my question: “why don’t you come visit me now that you’re all settled and rich? Lol” he answered “eh, I lost interest in America with time”. Ok, that America word? Imagine while I do the “quote” gesture with my index and middle fingers, folding them down. I wish I could meme this but anyway… the point is, I lost interest in “America” (in quotes) could simply stand for “our friendship” or “you” in general. After all, we haven’t seen for exactly 10 years now, but I must be the only one who does not get affected by time on an emotional level. I could still see you after months, years, centuries, and I would still act as if I saw you yesterday. Eh. Using my typical expression: whatever. I actually asked many friends to come see me, to visit me, because there’s always that excitement of showing them where I live, what I do, even if it’s a crappy studio and I have no career (yet). Nobody ever came. Now that the studio’s gone as well, I guess I’ll stop asking.

From the early morning spent at the Monument Valley, to lunch time at Lake Powell and the Horseshoe Bend, up to chasing the sunset at Bryce, I never stopped for a single second. The emotional state I was in lingered through the evening and the whole Bryce ride was a whole rollercoaster of “fast fast you’ll miss the pink moment”, to “slow slow, stop over here and enjoy the moment”. I took some photos to show you all, but all I wanted to do was to just stare at those vivid colors, with those unexplainable views (I mean, they can be explained it but I can’t explain the way you feel watching them!), while my “being alone feeling” is getting more and more the features of a blessing in moments like this where I can literally do whatever the heck I want because I only have myself to be accountable for. Precious. Just real bliss. I think the photos will speak better than me so here they are. Tomorrow is another day, and something else I have been waiting to visit for so long is Zion National Park, which is right around the corner. See you there.

Delaware, Washington D.C., Virginia

Destination Unknown

June 30, 2019

Apparently, when dealing with me, people easily make mistakes or forget to do things and I have to be the one paying for it. Interesting. I wonder how this happens but I do not want to jump to conclusions and say that I always interface with incompetence as, most of the times, the very same people were nice and accommodating, so it must be me. I create chaos, and the storm last night should have reminded me of that.

Briefly, my pitstop at another Pep Boys in Delaware turned out to be a correction of what someone else has previously done. It could be people in Omaha, NE where they thought I was crazy because they could hear no weird noise, or it could have been back in Colorado Springs, CO. Whatever it was, in here they heard it, they fixed it, and apart for those other few issues we already know about I am good to go back on the road. Most importantly, Steve managed to make me pay zero dollars as, his words “if they didn’t do anything wrong before, she wouldn’t be here to fix it so… you’re good to go”. Thank you! Thank you! Thanks so much.

On my way to the Old Wide West I start to see colors that are dear to me, finally. Golden fields alternate to green flat lands and Maryland offers some cute spectacles around me, while crossing bridges approaching Washington D.C. I already know I am not going to spend the night in the District Capital of the U.S. of A. because, I don’t know, I just don’t feel like it, I just need to figure out where to go to next, as –like it says, my destination is unknown. I just take a quick stroll downtown, I see the White House, the ridiculous amount of security all around it which makes me think “is it just me, or this is insane? Like, for real, stop this madness and send these people home. Standing under a toasting sun in June, for what? For whom? Go home.” I am impressed at the beauty of the architecture in Washington. White buildings replicating the ancient Greek and Roman styles make it look fancy and majestic. You can tell that this kind of buildings show some importance, but I guess it is just a reflection of what these creations can inspire in people watching from below. Quick visit at the Pentagon, just out of curiosity, and of course pictures do not show the typical shape of the building, but what I can say is that it is not a majestic as, for whatever reason, I thought it could be. So off to the West, and I find myself driving through Virginia.

Once again, the landscape helps not falling asleep as it did before instead. More green, more of a mountain like environment, National Forests, losing network coverage, and I decide to spend the night in Roanoke, VA as I could see a massive star from the highway which made me think it was time to rest, until tomorrow. I find out that Roanoke is called the lost colony, because in 1590, at his return to America after fighting for the queen of England, Mr. White found no trace of the colony or its inhabitants, his whole family and friends were all gone. Investigations of the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke have continued for centuries but there is still no answer, only assumptions up to today. Curious story. I wonder why, out of all the other towns I could go to, I felt drawn to this. Mystery. Once again I don’t stay long. The time for a quick coffee at Starbucks, a few lines written down and off I go again. I don’t feel like socializing lately and even the stupidest encounter is annoying.

I have to say though that this last drive has offered some breathtaking moments. The sunset was like one of those you do not see very often, with the sun hiding behind the clouds but still spreading out its colors. In addition to this, fireflies. Just like the night before at Ida’s house I could see the lightning bugs after what seems like forever, this time I could see them lighting the path for me on both sides of the highway, filling up the hills surrounding me and the other travelers. Nature is beautiful, no doubts about it. I’m just so terribly sorry for all the bugs, moths, butterfly that committed suicide hitting the front of my car, and for those animals resting in peace on the side of the road, and it enrages me to think people simply could not hit the breaks harder to avoid killing them. Hopefully it does not happen to me anytime soon. Let them live.

Toronto and Niagara Falls

Destination Unknown

June 28, 2019

Back to Canada! Here we go! I should have spent the afternoon of the 27th in the Canadian city of Toronto, instead what was supposed to be a normal drive of four to five hours, turned into a nightmare. They told me it may have been because of Canada Day and the fact people were planning ahead and moving for the long weekend, but hell no. Well, for being a Thursday afternoon, what I saw was crazier than the L.A. traffic. I eventually left the car in a parking place and went to grab dinner in a sort of Whole Foods close to where the car was. It was dark already, and I did not feel like doing any “exploring”. My mind is still drained and I can feel that I am not moving much on my body as well. I am sore, I feel heavy and simply tired. Time to rest.

In the morning I manage to visit and walk around. The anger, the disappointment, the dislike I experienced last night are luckily gone. Apart from the main photo-worth attractions, I decide to take a ferry ride to Centre Island, even if part of it is flooded because of the weather conditions we had a little bit everywhere in the world this past year. The view from the ferry in phenomenal. The whole skyline spreads in front of me as to say “sorry for last night”, and I enjoy what I see. I really needed a silver lining for this trip which is eventually starting to weigh on me. I am feeling like from the Midwest to East, everything is simply not worth it. I know it is such a bad thing to say, but not everyone feels comfortable in the cities and most of all in people filled places. In the West I had so much land to see, with its variety and all, here if it’s not green land and green hills with light blue skies (which still is something pretty to see) it’s all cities packed with people and traffic. I need more than that. I got spoiled the first two weeks going to National Parks, experiencing the beauties of nature and I feel betrayed now. Yes, even man made creations are nice, the tall buildings, the skyscrapers, spot on architecture, you name it, but I feel different than before. The sense of awe is different, and I long for more nature.

Toronto was honestly really interesting, and I managed to go to places that maybe not everyone go to when they have just a few hours available to visit. I walked everywhere I could, except for that short ferry ride, and I reached a cute street that made me think “great job L, at least you saw this and it is worth the long walk”. Augusta Avenue in the Kensington Market area of historic Toronto was definitely a gem. It was a melting pot of everything. Cultures mixed up together, small food stores, cafes, bakeries, market booths here and there, weird people crossing the streets, tourists, anything you can think of was tehre. I found a bakery where I got my second lunch. A cinnamon bun and a lemon tart. Eh. At Bunner’s Bake Shop I talked to the nice staff telling them I was coming from L.A. just for them (white lie, so well said!). I even had ice-cream at Hibiscus. I needed some sweet to make up for that bitterness from last night.

On my way back to the car I enjoyed the view of that remaining part of the city I walked through, my back was sore and I needed a rest. So a couple of more hours sitting in the car driving to Niagara Falls felt like a good compromise to do so. The spectacular scene that awaits you at Niagara is not comparable to anything else. It is a view that you have to see for yourself to understand, because videos and photos cannot represent in full the massive power and energy that you can feel being surrounded by a force of nature so perfectly done. Despite having thousands of people around you, you can still feel powerless and vulnerable in front of such an amazing scenery. So I stood there and filled myself back up with energy, cuddling my heart again, trying to forget the bad feelings from before. I had to have a couple of friends reminding me why I was doing what I am doing. One made me recall that I had to leave L.A. because it was sucking everything out of me and I wanted to see more of this world. Right. The other, who does not know me much or not that well, but we’re very similar and we think alike, said exactly four words that I needed to hear: “finish what you started“. Raw and real, just like he is. And I smiled. This is exactly what made me keep going. I always finish and finished what I started, I can’t avoid it. Even if I find myself struggle and in pain to finish something –and I may even not do it properly, I just have to reach the end of it, so I’ll do it this time as well. I am almost on the other side of a continent and I need to keep moving. Who’s with me? Oh wait. Never mind.

Nebraska and Iowa

Destination Unknown

June 24-25, 2019

Trigger warning: if you are suffering from depression, suicidal thoughts or simply hate everyone and everything around you, read this post at your own risk.

Driving through Nebraska and Iowa drained my soul. Maybe not even in a bad way, I probably needed it to let out a few of those demons I do not even hate that much anymore. A never ending parade of blue sky and green land simply deactivated me and, in addition to the lack of proper sleep with my constant ups and downs, I broke down. Can you be a human being who thinks about death on a daily basis without being depressed? Many think it is impossible, that there must be some sort of mental illness behind it, causing unbalances on a mental level and whatsoever, but after years and years of research, therapies and experimentations, I am confident to say you can. I apologize in advance if this post will cause some distress but hey, deal with it or leave.

First things first, it is not easy to actually finally open up about it, but considering I am a nobody in front of a computer screen, yes I feel a little ashamed, but not even that much. I am not even looking for any sort of understanding, pity, sympathy, whatever really. This is my place and I can use it however I want.

What I have been dealing with since a very young age is not a disease nor some weird form of dysfunctional part belonging to the emotional sphere, it is just who I am. We all have monsters hiding underneath our skin (not literally) — sometimes it’s anxiety, or depression, or BPD, or PTSD, OCD, secrets, traumas, past events, and whatsoever. But my monster is not a monster, it’s just… me. I could try and explain how I feel on a day-to-day basis, or even hour-to-hour, but it would not make much sense, and most of all, it is always changing. “I am moody” we say, and yeah, let’s stick to that. Although some days are better than others. You wake up and you are ok, you do your things, you even interact with other people, and others are just a no. Like no. For real.

What I do not absolutely want to pass with this post, is the message that all this could be the consequence of some sort of recurring trauma, or all due to past events perpetrating through time. No. Mother, I know you may be reading this so stop with whatever you may be thinking. Realizing you are NOT ONLY the result of what happened in your life and in your past is a very big step to take. Because at a certain point in life, it is YOUR responsibility to take action, and either react or just succumb to whatever has been going on, supporting you or taking you down. In any case, that sense of guilt, of impotence, of unworthiness, of being the victim, of not having the possibility to escape the current situation, yadda yadda, all this has to stop. I made it stop and I started researching. I understood why I have specific thoughts, why I cope with emotions with binge sessions (of any kind as of right now) and, most of all, I learned to accept myself with flaws and all.

Having suicidal thoughts does not always mean you are depressed. Thinking of ending this momentary situation on Earth does not always mean you are suffering from pains inflicted by others, or that you are seeking for attention, or that you have a mental illness that has to be cured, or that you hate yourself, someone else, your life, your past, your traumas, your whatever. Sometimes you are totally fine, even content at days, but you are simply aware of the fact that you may totally be a human being that does not completely accept this mortal condition, and being a mortal sucks more than anything else in the whole world, so much so that you start wondering, imagining, picturing what it would be like to not be around.

Oh well, once you drop the bomb it’s kind of annoying to deal with people’s reactions so feel free to judge without necessarily reaching out with whatever messages or advice you may have. Just keep in mind that whatever you or we are going through, doctors can misdiagnose, medications are not always necessary, some therapists do not know shit and they simply want your money, family is not always to be blamed, friends neither, and society simply sucks. Last but not least, if you realized that you may resemble whomever I tried to describe above, welcome to the club. You’ll end up comforting others, reassuring them that you’re fine, that no, you are not going to cut your wrists, swallow pills or jump off that balcony, or something. And by the way, all this is simply weird and confusing and exhausting at the same time because you are retracing thoughts you actually had, and the discomfort you are feeling right now is normal. Again, deal with it.

Wow, who would have thought Nebraska and Iowa would have done this to me? Ha. I guess I should have seen it coming while absorbing the nothingness around me for miles and miles, and after passing the border between the two states, the radio in Iowa started blasting rock and metal music like there is no tomorrow, finally ditching the country music radio stations that, for whatever reason, always have receptions, along with the Christian Music ones. I mean. Ok but …no. Music apparently is my actual true and real therapist. I’ve been to therapists that simply cannot help. No hard feelings guys, you simply cannot. I’ve always denied permission to offer me medications. I know how those work and… they don’t. I mean, for me. I’m not saying you all taking medications should ditch them, but talking for myself, no thank you. I’ll pass. I see how things affect me, things like …actual things, but also people, situations, emotions, food, drinks, books, anything. I am a constantly open lab, I am experimenting on myself and I am learning something new every day, and I am actually glad I can do it.

With all this experimenting, well, I learned. I learned that I am in part my emotions and in part I am not, but what I feel and think in particular moments, are not necessarily real or reality. My perceptions can at times be deviated and may be “capturing” things in the wrong way, so I simply have to be patient and observe. I learned to check facts, to study, to do research and learn more. But most importantly, I learned I’m not “the only person with these things in mind” just like Chester used to sing.

This thing I am doing, traveling without a fixed destination is a clear representation of who I am, of what I am capable of doing, and how I deal with things. I needed it to remind myself that yes, I may have to heal from some pain I endured, yes I may have to face some thoughts I always tried to ignore, as well as accepting that other thoughts I had before are TO ME, simply normal, and NO ONE has the “power” to be labelled as “guilty” for this. Not my family, not my friends, nor other humans, not even society (wait, I am really saying this? Yea, ahh emm) it is just how it is. Every day is different, every day I AM different, and I am still here, I am still living, and at this point, I am simply appreciating the fact that, at least, I realized this world is worth living in. This Earth is a planet worth staying on for as long as we can. And beware of this: I may be saying something completely different in like, a minute or two, but that will just go away, because the truth is that I like this place, in its whole. It’s just that humans are kind of a pain in the butt most of the time.

Last but not least I will conclude with saying that Edwin Schneidman, author of Autopsy of a Suicidal Mind (read it!), notes how there are indeed cases of individuals having spontaneous suicidal thoughts, without depression. Statistics say that “90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental illness” which leaves a gap of at least 10% of people who dies by suicide, as individuals who are not depressed or having mental illness. You can still think of letting your body sink into the dark waters of the Reservoir next to Brookline, or jumping off the balcony of that seventh floor apartment in West Hollywood. You can still think of swallowing all those painkillers knowing their side effects and consequences of overdosing with them in L.A. You can still see yourself hitting that wall with the car in Italy or crossing the highway while there’s a red light for pedestrians in Melbourne. You can. Let that thought travel through your mind and don’t lock it up. Let it flow. Don’t choke it or it will suffocate you. Embrace it, accept it, let it go.

The first time I thought about death and willing to die I was around 7 years old. I know this for sure because I read it on my first “secret diary” as we used to call it, or journal, that I found and took with me to L.A. last summer. Eye opening. This is who I am, who I was and who I will always be, and I am OK with it. Thank you Nebraska and Iowa for reminding me that. Sorry folks for not having taken pictures of these two States, which I am certain they have cute little areas to be spotted, but I guess it was more important to me, at this point, to take care of this “situation” first. Off to Illinois. See you in Chicago where I’ll be reporting on less serious matters. Cheers.

If you are suicidal, depressed, dealing with any sort of illness and need help, look for your local organization or hospital. A quick google research will open up several possibilities. USE IT.