Sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here. Where I did I go, and who have I become? I don’t recognize her sometimes.
I feel like a fish out of water. I wear horseshoe earrings and carry a tooled leather bag — these things that speak to where I came from, and who I really am deep down.
Sometimes I feel like I’m losing that person, because no one here really understands her. She’s become a bit of a caricature.
I miss home so much. I miss the Milky Way on summer nights like this. August is the best because there are more meteors, but it’s bright in July, too.
I miss the space. I overheard a coworker talking about a friend’s huge deck and how many square feet it was. I grew up on 20 acres.
I miss the stillness and the peace, and the rednecks who get together and play their guitars and fiddle too loud on raucous Saturday nights.
I miss my horse. No one makes sure my boy’s brushed just right, or exercised just so; no one is as obsessive about him as I am — as I was.
I’ve watched the traces of who I really am fade away. Losing my hard-won riding finesse over the past three years has been almost unbearable at times. The callouses I used to have from cleaning stalls are long gone. I didn’t even bring boots to DC because I didn’t want them to get damaged in my luggage. Couldn’t bring my pistol, either, because guns aren’t allowed here. No mountains here to hike in. No time to hike, anyway.
And so I look at who emerges when those bits of me are gone, and I’m not sure I like her. Friends complain she doesn’t call any more, but sometimes she doesn’t know what to talk to them about. She burns both ends working herself to death for…what? Simply because she doesn’t know what else to do.
There’s a song I’ve always loved from George Strait, in which he describes the different kinds of women of the West:
She’s riding colts in Steamboat Springs
Baling hay outside Abilene
She’s trying hard to fit in in some city
But her home is ‘neath that big blue sky
And the Northern Plains and those other wide open spaces
Those wide open spaces don’t seem to be a place I’m destined to spend much more of my time. Sometimes I’m very jealous of my hometown friends who are happy there; who don’t need to look outside the Central Valley to feel fulfilled. Sometimes I wish I were more like them. But I’m not. That kind of life isn’t for me, and it never has been. But I’m not sure what kind of life I’m headed for at this rate. I can’t stay here; I miss the land and the people too much. I can’t stay there; I’d miss the challenges, culture and mental stimulation too much. I don’t know where that leaves me.