Tales from the Road: San Francisco to Ojai

…I was driven to face my biggest fear.

On Sunday March 26th, 2017 with a Starbucks English Breakfast Latte in hand and a playlist packed to the brim with jams meant to help me reminisce, ponder and emote, Marshmallow (my super comfy sleek white Jetta) and I hit the road for a ten day excursion through the Southwest. I wasn’t even two hours into the drive when the anxiety hit. I know what I needed, my security blanket, another tea latte, right? WRONG. As I finished my favorite creamy, caffeine-filled beverage, my panic reached a fever pitch. Dammit. I knew that was a bad idea, I’ve been trying to cut back on those. I’m so sensitive to anything with an extra kick. Up until then everything seemed to be alright, sure my mind was busy planning, plotting and obsessing over life and love but as I drove down south, further away from home I started to realize what I was embarking on — and that I was alone.

It was a weird relationship I was having with myself in that moment, feeling like I was oscillating between mind, body and spirit trying to find my grounding. When I would travel between them, I would find myself dizzy and unable to see straight, hands sweating coming to terms with the fact that this was for sure the moment I was going to break down (psychically) on the US 101 South and die in a car crash. When I would find a way to drop into my body, I was met with intense muscle pain and spasms on the surface and a high frequency of vibration underneath that was turned all the way up: FEAR. The lower end of the dial (SAFE) was not even within reach.

I kept going. Opened all the windows. Sprayed my calming eucalyptus oil water everywhere (inhaled a little, cough cough). Popped a Rescue Remedy chewable. I needed new music. No a podcast. What audiobooks did I download? I’ve got it, a guided meditation! Nothing I put on to distract me was working. Every town I would come up on became a fun game of “Keep JoJo Safe Monopoly.” A green sign would approach: Who did I know there and could I just show up and have them hold me? Paso Robles, check. San Luis Obispo, check. Santa Ynez, check. I even started wondering if my best friend’s husband’s parents were home in Santa Barbara or if they were at their house up north. I’ve met them, like, once. This little hide and seek game was not new. It’s something I play every time I walk down the street alone at night. I’m constantly clocking who is around me, trying to find a person on the street who might see me and come to my rescue if I was attacked. Where is the nearest, non-sketchy house with their light on that I would run to if needed. Now I must stop here and say that I’ve never been raped or physically attacked in the way that would justify feeling this way. When I brought up the subject with one of my healers, we went super woo woo (which is where I’ll gladly live if given the chance) and talked about lineage and past lives. My boyfriend brought it to my attention that perhaps it could be PTSD from all my time blacking out as an alcoholic. Whatever the case, this feeling was back and I couldn’t be farther from real danger in the safety of my own car, setting off on the road trip of my dreams, full bank account, with so much love in my home and my heart.

It’s been almost two months since I quit my job, knowing that I needed space to figure out what’s next for me. As the novelty of not working wore off and my partner continued to not be ready to start a family which I feel in my heart and my soul is my next big creative venture, I find myself at a very important crossroads. In my domestic life, I’ve always gone with the flow, played the role of “cool girl” who doesn’t need labels or marriage or any of that traditional female flair. Whatever you’re into, I’m into. As I’ve gotten more comfortable getting to know the woman inside me, I’ve realized there’s a lot of backstory to why I embodied that narrative for so long including “if I become who you want me to be and don’t fully invest, you can never really leave me” which has blocked me from reaching deeper levels of intimacy and spiritual connection with men. But being a mother, hold the phones, that’s a hard non-negosh for me.

This deep desire has actually become somewhat of a North Star, the avenue in which I can finally advocate for the sensitive, confused little girl inside me who was left alone and hurt by the people around her. The young teenager who rebelled as a result and buried her big feelings in a sea of drugs and alcohol, detaching from her truest self in fear of abandonment. The twenty-year-old who built a wall so high that she allowed men to take what they wanted and leave the rest. And the woman in her thirties, who after being sober for a few years, still couldn’t voice her deepest desires at the risk of being rejected.

So as I’m driving down the highway, I’m faced with this girl. The one who is afraid to be alone and desperate to be seen. We’ve done a lot of work together, she’s driven me to become who I am today — compassionate, courageous, honest. I look forward to spending the next week with her.