Sometimes, in the journey of life, the unintended is exactly what we need.
I’ve returned home from my trip to Europe, which started out with the intention of going to Prague for the Prague Fringe Festival with our production of “Harlem’s Awakening: Storytelling. Live”. It ended with so much more.
I didn’t want to come home.
I know I’m not the first person to travel to a foreign land, have an eye-opening experience, and not want to fully return to the life she had before she left.
Somehow, my experience was about more than that. I hope.
In a previous post, I mentioned that I needed this trip for my-self, the self that lives and breathes beneath a surface of lip gloss and high heels and forced smiles and nights of Side Car martini’s and days of laying in bed that end only because the cat needs to be fed. That self needed this trip.
When I was about twenty or so, I decided I would save money and make my own New Year’s Eve dress. It was red, light-weight cotton Garbardine. I picked out the fabric and the pattern myself. It was to magically turn me into Jessica Rabbit from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”. I spent a week of late nights making the dress while on Christmas break from college. I cut, measured, sewed and finally ironed the dress. All while sitting at my parent’s very first brand new shiny oak dining room table that was like a king on a throne in our dining room. They’d worked hard for this table so that we could have a proper place to enjoy the Thanksgiving feasts that reminded us of the wealth we had that doesn’t fit in wallets.
On the last night of dress making, I ruined the table. I ruined it. I was ironing the final seam and while I had placed a towel on the table to protect it, I had no idea that the heat would turn the shiny varnish into a huge, horrible, cloudy, ugly patch.
When I realized what I’d done, I wiped and wiped and wiped away at the cloud hoping I could polish the patch back to its glory. I peered into the patch through tears of regret that dropped onto it with no change. It seemed like the original beauty was just under the surface. Just beneath my reach.
Living in LA can be like living under that cloudy, ugly patch. Beneath the lip gloss, and high heels, and meetings or lack thereof and yoga and waiting for non-existing write-ups of your work blaring “GO” in the LA Times and nights of Bulleit Rye on the rocks and days of laying on the couch that end only with knocks at the door from the SoCal Gas man demanding payment that doesn’t exist in a pocket or bank account…beneath that surface is the self that I never intended to become.
While I was in Prague and surprisingly Berlin, Paris and London (all funded by donations from family and people who believed in the me that they see), I found something unintended.
I found a renewed belief in self. I saw a glimpse of the self, of the woman who had become trapped under the cloudy surface. She lives, just like the newly discovered one who lives on the other side. Both live. I’m now trying to figure out which one I want to be. Which one I intend to be. And I think that’s why I didn’t want to leave.
When we travel, we spend a lot of time taking photos. We capture moments for ourselves, for our families and for blogs like these. Some, we intend to take. We pose, we position, we smile intentionally, we design what we want others to see.
Sometimes, the unintended happens. Some of us delete the unintended. We don’t want the unintended to take up space, to show how imperfect we are.
I’m on a renewed journey to seek the unintended, among other things. [This may be an oxymoron…if the unintended were sought after, does it then become intended? I have a friend in LA with whom this would become a transcended topic we’d hash out over a night of wine and whiskey. He’d say the unintended is about Ego and nothing more…]
Still, I’m going to focus on the unintended, which for now, is in Tucson, AZ. And I’m gonna be happy about it!
In the meantime, I’d like you to enjoy these unintended photos from my journey that I chose not to delete. I’m hoping there will be more.