Hello from my new home in Ashland, Oregon! It was my dream to live here. And, now I do! What is your dream once your dream comes true? I am learning the dream becomes a feeling and a need to keep the dream alive.
I type this from my new built-in desk inside of my new house where I look up and out a window to face north. North, from where I sit, there are mountains that seem more like California mountains. They call the high point GRIZZLY PEAK. Behind me is south: Mountains with lush green trees and a hike 15 min to a waterfall.
I found it surprisingly hard to leave Texas. How is it that when one finally gets to a place of peace with place- the place changes? I wonder if I will live in Ashland the rest of my life. I can see how people forget to look up and out - and the mountains become a blur or invisible. I hope that does not happen to me.
I feel freer here to be myself. I don't feel like I have a heavy weight around me anymore. It feels more like AIR here-- I can breathe. My dogs can hang their head out the back seat windows just like every other car in town. I think many people here have reinvented Jesus. He is on shopping bags and t-shirts as someone who symbolizes love and fun and kindness (as it should be). People are connected to Mother Mary because she is in the earth here -- not because someone else told them to believe in her. Everyone I meet here is creative, exercises, is understandable, and is relatable. This is a much better place to be.
I am teaching students that are much more engaged. The female students I have are decisively more mature than the male but everyone acts like adults. Maybe this will all change in a few weeks - but right now I notice a marked change in educational maturity from Texas to Oregon.
I think I have a lot to offer but I can't help but feel like I am NOT an expert on anything right now. I am a generalist: i know a lot about a lot. This has always been a hard thing for me to accept about my carrer. I am also trying to see my teaching as my job and not consume my psyche-- though it has been doing just that as I fall asleep at night. I think living here is the best shot I have at actually having a life outside of work.
Tonight I am going to a talk about "why father's leave". I am looking forward to that. There are so many interesting things to do here that make my mind feel more awake.
I'm trying to not be ashamed of my age, my body, my level of non-movement, and my self. I felt so ashamed in Texas. I couldn't unlock why or how or who was causing that feeling. But it takes commitment to not be ashamed, to not shave your legs, to wear what you want, to know that you will be loved by strangers, by students, by colleagues, by people in power.
This is how I want to live. I want to live being myself.