Here’s what happened:
I began to truly identify and explore my interests much later in my twenties. I wasn’t one of those high schoolers who knew they were an artist early on, and so hung with the other (labeled) “weirdos” and “different” kids. I was a regular kid, maybe the one difference was that I never had a particular group that I belonged to. I kinda mixed and mingled with everyone. I’m still that way.
My freshman year in college I met this guy. He was very different from anyone I’d ever experienced. It was the first time I met someone like me. (Retrospective observation here.) He was a writer. Had a deep passion for music and art. He was a creative. Ambitious. He challenged me. He made me think new thoughts. He made feel new feels. His word play was clever and smart. He took me to new and exciting places. Introduced me to coffee shops in Third Ward and poetry spots downtown. And music. Music was our thing. He treated me differently. Loved the fact that I challenged him also. Adored the way I said “too”. We were enchanted with one another. Loved the same things. Shared the same dreams. We quickly fell in love, but it went nowhere fast.
So, throughout the relationships that followed I always looked for my partner to provide that same magic for me, and when they couldn’t I thought it was because they weren’t ‘him’. And I would go back.
And he and I would try, but we’d go nowhere even faster.
I saw him as the gateway to my real self. In some ways he introduced me to who I wanted to be. He represented art, and freedom, and the life I wanted. He understood the dreamer in me, because he was one also. But he was brave and I wasn’t. He pursued his dreams while I was busy living life by the books. I was busy doing things the ‘right’ way; getting married and buying a house and beginning a sure-bet career. I was living the "American Dream".
But I never stopped dreaming of art and freedom. And since he embodied that for me, I never stopped dreaming of him.
For years. For years I dreamt of him, mistakenly thinking he was the missing piece.
I woke up. And stopped waiting for him to come and save me from the fake me. And I began to visit coffee shops on my own. I began to travel to the city and get in the mix of the poets and musicians and painters, and creatives… intellects, and artists. People who were like me. People whose energy matched. And I began to see there was abundant life out there waiting for me. Just for me.
I realized that he was not my voucher to freedom. Or my ticket to art. I didn’t need him or anyone to hold my hand on the way to becoming my authentic self. I had all the things I was longing for right inside me. All along, they’d been there.
It was me I'd been dreaming of; not him.
I was art. I was my own freedom.
And once that really got down in my spirit, I stopped believing I was in love with him. I stopped including him in my idea of freedom. You know? He didn't belong there. My dreams had nothing to do with him. I was this person long before he and I ever met.
What does this have to do with me moving to the city?
Because I did it without a hero. You know?
Seriously. I think I was always waiting for someone to come and give me the life I wanted. I was waiting for someone to rescue me.
I go home to my place under the city lights where my own art hangs from the walls. Or the art of people I’ve met at galleries and festivals and on the city streets. My own music plays. My friends' vinyl records spin on my replica phonograph.
And when people come by for a visit, they say, "Bran, this is SO you!"
It's me. All me. This is all me.
"The only one who can give you the life you want is you." -can't remember who. -google it.