Once upon a new year, I promised I’d blog here weekly all year long. I also made a short list of other so-called resolutions, and ten months into this new year I realize I’m only hitting with about 50% success overall.
I am so great.
At least I still have two months to finish the year strong, right?
As you might already notice, I’ve totally revamped my site, cutting a lot of the clutter and adding some new features. I hope you click around and feel like I’ve freshened up the place a bit.
Could still use some lavender-vanilla air freshener in my About page. But the site remains a work in progress. Much like my life.
I find it poetic that as the trees and air and world around me in Asheville die a cold, slow death, I’m finding new life: a redesigned blog, a new book (digital version complete; paperback soon coming), and a new work routine.
Since returning home from a 49-day escape around the country, I’ve planted into a new rhythm of writing books, editing blogs, recording podcasts, learning guitar, running, and driving for Lyft a couple nights each week.
Gone are the days of my old 8-to-4, 40-hour work week, employed at a boarding school with students who’d test my patience like no one else. Also inspire me like no one else.
Can’t forget the inspiration.
While I’m always a fan of newness (hello, commitment issues), I’m equally fond of nostalgia. Especially deep, twisting, forlorn nostalgia (it’s the best kind). Asheville is small enough that I’ve actually run into several of my former students while out and about this last month.
They’ve made my heart leap with joy and sorrow alike. I hug them as they smile and ask me how I’m doing, how my road trip went, and if I ever wrote that book I kept telling them about.
I tell them great, that it was the time of my life all over again, and that I did.
And then we part ways. I tell my former students I’ll “see them around,” and I probably will because Asheville wouldn’t let me hide if I tried.
We separate, and a sadness grips me like the last time I worked with them — the reality that our relationship will never again be what it once was, my leaning over their shoulders to assist with algebra problems or consoling them after they’d just punched a wall (literally).
I thrive on identity; I always need to know who I am. At times this month, it’s been hard living in Asheville not knowing who I am beyond tutor, mentor, and all I’ve ever been since moving to Asheville almost two years ago.
Who am I now?
I guess I’m a writer. What I’ve always been? I just have nothing to cover it up with anymore.
I’m now making my living running another blog and hosting podcasts and writing books, and I suppose I should feel complete, living the American dream, chasing my passions, these pursuits that so many others have affirmed my doing these last six years. I may even soon revamp my YouTube channel and open the door for a brand new creative outlet.
I can sleep as late as I want and set my own hours and do more of what I feel placed on this planet to do: tell stories and help others tell theirs.
And yet an emptiness remains; a deadness I can’t escape. The feeling that I am new and free yet also drifting from all I’ve ever known. Falling like a red leaf in brilliant arrival as I dance, dance, dance to a cold hard floor.
I miss the boys. I miss their obstinance and their sneakiness. I miss how they’re probably illegally reading this on their school computers (hey, y’all; get back to SCHOOL).
I miss their repetitive catch-phrases and uplifting spirits. I miss their commitment to recovery and to each other.
I miss their innate ability to instill another equally powerful purpose in me. One beyond blogs and books and podcasts and storytelling.