“ A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” – Joseph Campbell, A Hero With A Thousand Faces
I crossed the threshold. But just before that…..
When I told the U-Haul man to fuck off, I knew I had completely lost it. Then I threw some merchandise at him and walked out the door. And that was how I was out a moving truck on moving day. Nice move, Turbo.
So let’s rewind back just a little bit further. I had to purge all I could, pack up every bit of my house, and leave everything I worked for. My beautiful view of the great Pacific, the dream of kids playing safely in the neighborhood green, all the conveniences of local living. Anyone who has ever moved knows that it sucks. My suckfest was compounded by the need to move out of my classroom, as well. Oh, and grade finals. For a month, my anxiety woke me up at three in the morning. The anxiety of letting go of my perfect home and job pressed on me more intensely as the hour drew near. Then I decided, I didn’t want to give it up. I didn’t care about the adventure. I wanted to turn back. I change my mind! I am refusing the call! I don’t want to move to Hawaii! I want to stay in this perfect place!
Leaving my home was the hardest thing I ever had to do. My heart was breaking. I experienced melt down after melt down, which culminated in me telling the U-Haul man to fuck off and throwing a mattress bag at him. (It is deeply gratifying to throw things when I am mad. If you were ever lucky enough to piss me off, you might have experienced flying at your face: a pail of potpourri, a dog’s water dish with plenty of water in it, or even a laptop; door kicking is also cathartic.). U-Haul’s transgression was giving the last 17 foot truck (which I had previously reserved) to the “wait-till-the-last minute morons” ahead of me… and I was pissed. Moving day was 16 hours of frantic, sweaty, HOW THE HELL DO I HAVE SO MUCH SHIT? kinda day. I felt so much pressure for an entire week that all I wanted to do was get it over with. I wanted to cross the damn metaphoric threshold and just be on the other side, already. I didn’t want to hang out in the same spot and pine over how much I was going to miss it.
It got me thinking: Moving was a lot like birth.
Before I had my own baby, my mom tried to describe what it was like. She told me it was like taking a really big shit. I don’t know what the hell that woman eats, but it is nothing remotely like taking a shit. Try: it’s like a 25 pound, iron-hot kettle bell tearing hell-fire through your little vajayjay. And most women just drug themselves out so they don’t have to feel it. I didn’t. It was natural birth for me; so I got to feel all of that crowning burn, in all of it’s glory, and live to tell you: it’s why I only had one. But forget about us moms… holy shit, think about that poor baby, working its way through that suffocating birth canal! Talk about crossing a threshold from the comfortable, known world to an unknown world of chaos. I remember it took Bella six hours to move through that birth canal. Six hours her face was probably all smashed up in there. I knew she was telling my midwife to fuck off. I on the other hand, told Bella, it’s going to be okay. Everything is going to be okay. When she finally came out, it was like I birthed Frankenstein. Her head was about six inches long.
But it was over. It was over and six hours later, we were all very peaceful and happy, and sleeping comfortably in my own bed. Mommy, daddy, and baby. Perfect.
And here is the connection. I thought leaving my home was going to make me completely depressed. I thought I would regret everything and miss it all. I woke up at 3 am riddled with anxiety. I delayed packing and knew things were getting worse. However, just as I learned to breath through difficult moments of labor, I learned to breath through the rough patches of packing. I also thrived on the positive thoughts of friends. Lana, it’s going to be okay. And there were many reassuring, awesome people who came to my rescue. Still, there were enough moments in which I resisted letting go. The anticipation was painful. I had to step out of my known world of comfort and satisfaction, and into the unknown world.
Now that I am humbly living out of my suitcase in my interim home before my departure, I am nothing but relaxed and happy. Surprise. I got worked up over nothing. I do not miss the old home much. It was a fond gift, but the Buddhists have it right. Detachment is happiness. If I told you how happy I am right now and how awesome life is, it would sound like I am bragging. I have nothing. Well, almost nothing: I have a junk car, a suitcase full of clothes, and my little girl. And its cool. I sit outside on the deck overlooking a luscious canyon, drink wine and enjoy sweet little adventure walks to the beach, where I see all of my former students who are always so cute and happy. I relax and listen to crickets and summer frogs at sunset. Is this a dream? Is this the land of the lotus eaters? Because I don’t want to leave. What was I so freaked out for?
I want to stay here. But—I know that the next stages of the adventure are still ahead of me… I know this is just the beginning. All I have done was simply cross the first threshold.