I’m still not sure that I have the words for my experience in Wyoming. Coming home makes it all feel like I dream, like I didn’t just spend the last two and a half months of my life out there. I’ve been in a tailspin of unpacking boxes, ridding my room of accumulated junk, and trying to wrap my head around being back home. Yesterday, I drove down to Blono to see my friends and professors, and while I was there, I was filled with nothing but elation at being surrounded by the people and place that I hold so dear. However, leaving only increased the uncomfortable feeling that’s been building in my chest for the past week.
I love Wyoming and Colorado. There is a substantial piece of my heart dedicated to those places, those mountains, those views. My job out there was hit and miss, but it never detracted from the experience of being immersed in a beautiful part of the country all summer.
It did feel like a bit of a fairy-tale. It was easy to get lost in being somewhere that I loved and doing the very things that speak to my soul.
The most unexpected and greatest part of my journey was being alone. I started reading a book called Quiet this summer, that addresses how introverts interact with the world. Being a self-proclaimed introvert, I was actually surprised by how little connection I felt to the book. I decided to wait and finish it another time. The one thing I did connect with, though, was solitude.
I know I like my quiet time, but the first month of my time in Wyoming was hard. I’m used to being surrounded by family or friends, and the noiselessness of my studio apartment made me uneasy. And then it became my solace. I wrote over a hundred pages for my book in those quiet hours. I danced around to blaring music like a wild child because there was no one there to judge me. I wasn’t judging me. When you’re by yourself, you have to become your own best friend. I read book after book. I learned about my own cooking and cleaning habits, and what it means to truly take care of myself. I’ve come away from this experience loving myself more than I ever have. That has been a constant struggle for me over the years, and seeing the cohesion of who I am and who I want to be left me with a newfound sense of peace.
Now I’m home and I’ve been ripped from my solitude like an unearthed tree. I’m surrounded by people, construction trucks, and TVs, and permeated by thoughts of my future that I was able to keep at bay all summer. There’s nowhere to run. The only mountain I have to climb here is the ten thousand things that I want to accomplish at once. Grad school, jobs, moving out, writing a book, climbing mountains, keeping in touch with friends, getting in shape, rock-climbing, teaching my dog to be a better dog. More than ever, I feel my own wants being drowned out by the weight of everyone else’s expectations.
I don’t want to lose the parts of me that I found in Wyoming. It took me a month to adjust to Laramie, and I don’t expect it to take any less time for me to adjust to coming back. Maybe starting a new job on Monday will help me make sense of the chaos, or maybe I have to start from scratch. I just have to trust my feet. They’re clumsy as hell, and always good for a trip or a wipe-out, but they’ve brought me this far, and I trust that they’ll take me exactly where I need to go.
I was terrified leaving home three months ago. I sobbed my way through Illinois. Yet, I was ready for the adventure, and taking that leap of faith brought me invaluable life experiences. If you want to go, then go. You may feel like there are a million reasons holding you back, but the biggest anchors are your own doubts and the weight you allow other people to put on your shoulders. This was hands-down the scariest thing I’ve ever done. There are no words for the way this experience changed me. The only way to know is to go find out for yourself.