A Life Collage

Wolf Creek Pass

Image via Wikipedia

“And what is home, anyway, but what we cobble together out of our changing selves.” (Abigail Thomas, A Three Dog Life)

 As I drove through the mountains last Friday, I found myself holding back tears. Tears from beauty, tears of loss, tears of the unknown.

I drove into Durango, CO with my heart singing, “Welcome Home!” but my mind screaming, “This is no longer home. You cannot come back.”

And yet the people I visit want me to come back. My familiarity with the place begs for me to come back. My discomfort with my current home urges me to come back.

Yet, coming back is no guarantee that it would be the right choice. Too many things have happened to make that an easy solution. No, our solution lies elsewhere, and our home requires a different solution.

Judy, the wonderful woman we are staying with, handed me Abigail Thomas’ memoir when I requested some reading material. The whole book resonated with me on many different levels. But the above quote leaped off the page as I am on my current journey. I am on vacation, but I am also on an internal journey–a journey of realization, recognition, and confrontation.

Over the past few days I’ve had lots of conversations, as I reconnect with friends I left a little over a year ago. Friends I left not because I wanted to, but because I did not see another option. Of course, they all want details of my past year. As I provided the details of my life I had the first revelation–I am happy with many of the professional experiences I’ve had this year. True, some things (like the classes from hell and the battle between athletics and the arts) made life a cruel challenge. But, on a personal and professional growth level, I’ve learned so much this year and it has been more successful than some of my experiences in Durango.

Several of the people I’ve talked to have asked why I am not happy. What’s wrong with Kansas?

I can’t fully answer that question except to say that it is not home. I do not feel like I match the place. But, if home is “what we cobble together out of our changing selves” could I turn the place into home? Well, it is possible, but I don’t know that I will ever fully succeed.

Yet, that is not the root of my unhappiness. I’ve realized the root of it now. I understand it more. I can’t write too much about it at the moment, because I need to deal with it head on first. But understanding it is a step in the right direction. Understanding it will help me fix it, and help me create the home I yearn for–a home I can carry with me no matter where we land, or what path my career takes.

Our journey through life is not a straight one, and mine has been incredibly complex. But with every journey, every choice, every word, and every dream I add to an amazing life collage that can only keep growing in layers and wonder.

That is a life worth living.

22 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 1959duke
    Jul 04, 2011 @ 13:12:31

    Although I love Tennessee and all its beauty but heart is still in the Missouri I grew up in and spent the first 35 years of my life. I think it may have to do with the fact is that where my roots came from.


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 05, 2011 @ 11:54:16

      I grew up in Mass, and that may be where I end up (at least in New England) but I don’t know anymore.


  2. Julia T
    Jul 04, 2011 @ 13:42:36

    Lisa, I wish you the best on your personal journey, and I am glad you have come to determine the root of your unhappiness. I hope you gain more understanding into it and overcome whatever is challenging you.

    I agree with you when you say that, “Our journey through life is not a straight one.” I have only recently begun to think of life this way. And it’s okay to have a life with a few bumps in the road. I guess it’s makes it a little more interesting (to say the least!)

    All the best,



  3. nrhatch
    Jul 04, 2011 @ 16:45:26

    I am now at “home” . . . it took me 50 years to arrive at my door. 😀

    Good luck!


  4. jgavinallan
    Jul 04, 2011 @ 17:47:43

    I could read you post over and over…I wish it went on. It is just so full of good feelings…at least for the reader. A feeling of identification with you, the creator.
    lovely Jaye


  5. thepetalpusher
    Jul 04, 2011 @ 17:56:42

    Even though I have the gypsy in me, I think I have now found “home.” But I know that it can change in the future. I like your metaphor for life: collage–very nice. Things always have a tendency for working out.


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 05, 2011 @ 11:52:25

      They really do, even if they work out in surprising ways. I have a little gypsy in me too, but I still want “home”


  6. Vix @ LittleMissEverything
    Jul 05, 2011 @ 04:20:49

    At least you know why you’re unhappy – the first step to changing it and creating a positive future! Here’s to a life worth living!


  7. Beka
    Jul 05, 2011 @ 18:26:57

    My uncle Allen, who passed away in 2006, lived there or in Silverton for most of his life and was a journalist there. I remember visiting as a girl, and your photo and the idea of going back there brought all those childhood memories rushing back in an unexpected flood. You certainly can’t go back again. I am glad that you are moving forward, wherever that may lead you. I know that I am usually too busy to get online, but I am awed by your bravery and determination. Keep up the good journey and may you always enjoy a sense of home no matter where you happen to be.


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 05, 2011 @ 21:20:42

      Thank you Beka. I hope the memories were all good ones. I know the home that I create next will be the best one for me, my family, and where I need to be on this journey.


  8. sekanblogger
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 01:57:55

    The root of unhappiness lies in the very nature of desire.
    Do not long for times gone past, or be anxious about the future.
    Live in this very moment, as each moment is the only reality.
    Emotions are a wonderful/awful part of this journey. Let the emotions wash over you, and fully appreciate them for what they are.
    When you find yourself in a pleasant moment, acknowledge it! Say it out loud! Something like, “Well, if this isn’t nice, what is?”

    Wherever you end up, it really is up to you to what you do with your emotions.
    Your home can be a jail or a castle….it’s all your attitude.

    I don’t care for the conservative politics and some xenophobic people here, but there are also many wonderful people that are too smart to stay tuned in to Faux Newz.

    If you want a nice day trip, go see Woolaroc Ranch and museum!


    • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
      Jul 06, 2011 @ 11:58:19

      Perhaps part of my problem lies in the amount of contact I have with the conservative xenophobic people. I have met some wonderful people however. I know that it is an internal struggle that I will either learn to overcome or move on. Besides, Kansas is SO FLAT! I mean, seriously, I can appreciate the plains in small doses, but the occasional bump or hill makes me thrill completely. Seriously, I recognize the good things about Kansas, but I just don’t know if I’ll ever “fit.”

      Where is Woolaroc Ranch? I will definitely check it out when we get back. While we are going to be there for a few days this weekend, we don’t really come back until August.


      • sekanblogger
        Jul 07, 2011 @ 04:38:42

        The way you feel about FLAT! is the way I felt when visiting West Virginia.
        I was never so glad to get back on flat ground.

        Woolaroc is near Bartlesville Oklahoma. Well worth the trip. Cheap too. The museum is great.
        It was Frank Phillips’ ranch. (Phillips 66 gasoline)
        If you have time, you can also visit the old Phillips Mansion, in town there.

        I do believe you would appreciate Southeast Kansas much more if you knew some of the history.
        The first settlement that became Independence KS was called “Hay Town”, because the white residents were squatters on Osage Indian territory and they lived in dwelling made of hay.

        If you visit my hunble blog, try the history category or Osage indian in the tag cloud or search box. Surely you know about “The Bloody Benders”?


        • Lisa (Woman Wielding Words)
          Jul 07, 2011 @ 09:39:28

          I will have to read more of your blog about the history. I don’t know about The Bloody Benders” but that sounds like something I should. I definitely appreciate the history, and am actually fascinated by it. I just read “Gilead” where I learned about the role of many Kansans in the fight for abolition. I didn’t know anything about that.


  9. Tori Nelson
    Jul 06, 2011 @ 07:38:43

    Lisa, I needed this post today. Seriously. We moved just a couple of hours west of my hometown a little over a year ago, and I have struggled with the same feelings. Most days I hate it here, but it’s hard to say if I’d be 100% happier a few miles down the road. I think finding contentment despite your location is key. Lord does that sound easier than it is!?!


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