I anxiously waited for Michigan’s burden to lift: the weight of memories, the fading friendships, beaches overrun by antiquated emotion, streets dampened by old feelings. With urgency bubbling in my blood, I desperately clung to the idea I would be nothing short of another insolvent 20-something in the music industry ‘trying to make it’ unless I found an opportunity outside the Midwest. I closely tied Michigan with failure. How unfairly I treat Michigan; I love her dearly, she’s bled out all she can offer me.
Lady Luck took pity on my weary, burnt-out soul; Tennessee called my name and I responded gratefully.
Armed with a fierce yearning to escape, I traveled for eight hours alone to arrive alone in the depths of an unfamiliar city. Suddenly, I am here; surrounded by new faces, unexplored streets, and a constant, effervescent feeling of ‘alone’ in my core. I am alone, but I am not lonely.
I spend my first alone night on a flowered, cotton bed sheet alongside a river at dusk.
I celebrate Mother’s Day alone on the steps of the Parthenon, watching husbands wipe ice cream off their toddler’s crying face as mom pretends to enjoy ‘her’ day.
I find myself dusty before daybreak, alone on the top of Ganier Ridge.
I pay $30 to stand in a loud, sweaty, crowded room alone.
I receive a welcome home, darlin’ from the middle-aged couple digging through $1 record crates, mostly stocked with scratched John Denver.
I pause on Broadway to smile at intoxicated bridal parties, a startling juxtaposition against my sober party of one.
I sit at tables of local eateries with myself as company, enjoying the conversations around me without the gnawing necessity to add my two cents.
I am alone, but I am not lonely. I let this new city wash over me. I open myself up and allow it to cleanse parts of me Michigan could no longer reach. I walk miles of city streets, leaving pieces of me behind to make way for new. I uncover, discover, and recover.
I am who I am without the company of others. I find solace in knowing I make myself feel at home wherever I go. The cliché is true, “home is a feeling, not a place.”
I’ve known home in the cold basement of my parents’ house watching Agent Mulder crack cases; in the labyrinthine streets of Rome, Italia overtaken by hazes of lowered inhibition; on the black sands of Jaco, Costa Rica where I escape in the early morning to read Stephen King; on a cruise ship rumbling across the Atlantic in the fellowship of a dark night; in the cozy room of a dirty college house learning how to love; during long drives between my various lives while U2 reminds me it is a beautiful day.
My wandering strains my soul in the best way. I’ve left pieces of my heart scattered across this world, and I will never be settled. I find peace in this weight; it’s the only part of my life I know to be true. I create homes where I blossom. The places I grow, evolve, and flourish are home. I am alone, but I am not lonely.
The state of my heart is open.
The state of my life is uncertain.
The state of my soul is fulfilled.
Welcome home, darling.
Author: Chandler Owen
Author Bio: I’m Chandler. Armed with an appreciation for depth and an appetite for veracity, I approach writing the way I do life: raw, real and unfiltered. I’m here to lay down soul and hope others pick it up. Follow me! @earthtochandler on all socials
Link to social media or website: http://chandlerreneeowen.com