When Patrick & I went for the 5th sonogram of my pregnancy with Andy I was about 16-17 weeks pregnant. Id lost so many pregnancies that I was considered “higher risk” so I was having more sonograms done than normal. This particular sonogram was to determine if our baby was at risk for Spina Bifida. As that had ben the cause of the loss of our first pregnancy. We’d told the sonographer we really didn’t want to know the sex. We had a healthy 1 year old baby girl at the time and surely didn’t care about the sex. I only wanted healthy. And I completely assumed it would be a girl. I was a girl Mom. Thats all I knew. So when she first placed the scanner on my belly and it just happened to be perfectly placed over the baby’s VERY obvious penis it was clear we were either having a baby with 3 legs or a boy. Even I could tell.
When I was 16 I remember driving to downtown Dallas for the first time alone. From the northern suburb of Carrollton (C-Town) where I lived with my family, downtown Dallas seemed a million miles away. I suppose it was. I remember getting turned around and lost and caught up in that tangled web of highway we called the “mixmaster”. Talk about anxiety and panic attack. For those of you under 30, there were no cell phones and no GPS devices in our possession at that time. You 100% relied on your inner compass, an old Atlas your Dad had stashed in your glove box and the Highway Signs. Those were the days. I found my way back home. Eventually. My Dad had always told me “if you get lost look for any highway sign that says NORTH. Head NORTH”. So I did. And made my way back to C-Town via I75 and the scenic farmland of Plano that is now a metropolis of suburbs.
My Mom and Dad were both born in Dallas. My maternal grandmother and my paternal grandmother were born in Dallas (one in the city and one quite rurally). My Mom’s GREAT grandfather worked for the railroad near Grapevine and my family has been in that area for 5 generations. Or more. I grew up with sweet tea and church on Sundays and new Easter shoes and Cowboys’ games and it was pretty awesome. Dallas means a lot to me. As I grew up and met people in college from other cities and eventually married and moved around….I got to see many cities, meet many people from many backgrounds, most had never even been to Dallas. Its funny- when you’re a kid your entire world consists of about 20 square acres. Back then it did, anyway. I though Dallas was the world! Guess what? Not everybody loves the Dallas Cowboys! ;)-
I understand why. If you weren’t born there, imerssed in America’s Team, taught to watch Staubach’s every move, knew Landry’s hat backwards and forwards…..then I’m sure Cowboy’s football isn’t all that important to you. It was and IS to me. Dallas is a city of juxtaposition. There are extremely poor people in urban housing that should be condemned. There are very wealthy people in mansions that rival Beverly Hills. There are taco trucks serving the most amazing tacos by people who actually KNOW how to make tacos parked in sketchy neighborhoods. And there are 5 Star restaurants where a tie is required and reservations take months to get. There are black people and hispanic people and Asian people and there’s a lot of concrete. There’s some beautiful art and amazing history. There’s the Oil Barrons’ Ball and Gay Pride Parade. (Guess which one I like better) 😉 There’s a moment in history frozen here at the 6th Street Museum that we’d rather not have had happened….but we accept it, and honor it. There’s amazing music venues and ranches and restaurants and architecture and sports. There’s stadiums that seat a bazillion people and back country hole in the wall dance halls that no one knows about.
I was born and raised in Dallas. So were my siblings and my parents. It is my home. It will always be my home. My Mom is moving away from Dallas soon. Then I will have only my brother there. And that kind of hit me. For the better part of 45 years my entire immediate family lived in the Dallas area. It was one stop shopping. I could fly in and see everyone once I moved to Colorado. I think in my heart I assumed it would always be that way. The truth is…things have changed a lot in 45 years. People used to work for the same company all their lives and families stayed within neighborhoods of each other. We don’t do that so much anymore. With technology and the ease of flying and the ability to move ANYWHERE…..we have. And progress is good I suppose. Moving to Colorado was one of the best decision I ever made. My soul is happy here.
But there’s a little part of me that is sad. I have friends in Dallas. They are more than enough reason to visit. My Dad and grandparents are buried there. But it seems to just get further away as time passes. And though I am ELATED to build my home here in the mountains, happier than Ive been in a very long time, excited for things to come….a part of my heart stays in Dallas. Always has. Always will. I love that city for what it gave me, what it made me, what it taught me. I think when I drove away at 18 to college is when I knew you can never really go HOME again. Its never the same. It can’t be.
There’s some stereotypes of Texans. Of Dallas-ites. Some may be true. Some make me cringe. Ive never seen as many cows and horses or owned a pair of boots until I moved to Colorado- figure that out! But I am unapologetically proud to be a native Texan, a native Dallas-ite. To have grown up in such a place. A vibrant city full of culture surrounded by country.
I get a little homesick around the Holidays. But Ive come to realize its not about a location. Its about the people I miss. I miss my Dad. More than I can express. I miss my grandparents- all 3 of them. I miss my sister, my brother and my Mom. And I know geography has scattered some of us and thats how it goes I suppose. Funny thing about time…you can’t stop it. We grow, we flourish, we move, we find our own way. But at the root of how we got there was a sharp turn on I35 going South where a billboard with a REAL waterfall and a beer slogan let you know that you were home.
Its hard to admit you failed. And Im not sure I really like that word anyway. FAILED. Ive been told to embrace it by the CEO of Beachbody. So many success stories were proceeded by tons of failure. Michael Jordan, Einstein, Steve Jobs….the list is endless. But we, as a society with a short attention span, focus on the million hoops made, the scientific break throughs and the billion dollar company that IS Apple. We don’t really look at or focus on the FAILURES that came before. I went into Beachbody Coaching almost 4 years ago, gung ho, full steam ahead, and became successful and built a team and a paycheck and a few awards and titles and rank advancements later I felt pretty good. And then life happened.
I caught a little flack yesterday for putting up my Christmas tree early. Even from the Dude. And thats ok. I know it was all in jest. But its more than a tree this year. So much more.
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
I know he’d be a poorer man if he never saw an eagle fly
Rocky mountain high”
I’d had this image of what Robert Frost meant when he wrote the poem. What I WANTED it to mean. He was a rebel. The one who went against the grain. Did his own thing. Fought the man. The establishment. Kicked convention to the curb. Parted ways with social norms and flipped them off on his way out. I wanted it to be this. And then I read the poem. I mean Id read it before many times. But yesterday I REALLY read it. Not from an angst teenager’s view or that of a young adult wanting to change the world. This time I read it from a 45 year old’s point of view. And its funny what you hear, what you see, what you learn……when you REALLY listen.
Its no secret Ive chosen to live my life a little unconventionally. I’ve been all about being different and unique and original and not following the crowd. Ive made a point to point out Im not conservative or religious in anyway because that is exactly what people expect when they see a blonde woman from Dallas. I’ve raised my kids to NEVER accept what is told to them as fact. To research and learn for themselves. To never follow a crowd. To blaze your own path and never stop fighting for what you believe in. And in my head Robert Frost’s poem embodied all of that. All of the bravery it takes to go down an unfamiliar path and buck the system. Until I REALLY read it again.
Saturday I went rock climbing with Dude and a few people I’d never met before. As usual I jumped in the car and said “lets go” with absolutely no clue where we were going. I rarely know where Im going anymore. I just go. It was a beautiful, familiar drive. The Aspen trees are stunning. The oranges and yellows and lime greens just pepper the mountain side and it looks like a painting. I love mountain driving in the Fall. Sometimes when we rock climb the walk from where we park the car to where we actually climb rocks is very short. Sometimes its far. And carrying a backpack full of supplies, water, ropes, etc….its not super easy climbing uphill with all that weight on your back at high altitudes. This was a trek. We had to walk pretty damn far from the car to the rock face. And it was all uphill. And rocky. And at places a little scary. But the hike started on a road before it ventured off into barely worn woods.
Climbing has become something very emotional for me. I don’t quite yet know why. But I cry every single time I do it. Maybe because its scary as shit. Maybe because its frustrating. Maybe because Im an old dog trying to learn new tricks. Maybe just because it symbolizes moving on. And it helps me purge. I don’t know. But I had a rough go of it the weekend before. And so these 2 climbs I did Saturday were awesome. Successful. I actually topped a 5.9. For those with no clue what that means….doesn’t matter…I climbed a step higher in difficulty than I ever had before. Pretty cool. The views were probably the best views Ive seen on any of the climbs Ive been on. Crazy amazing beautiful. Id make the hike in JUST for the views. Truly. The climbing is just icing.
So the walk out was better than the walk in. I felt accomplished. I felt proud. I felt happy. I don’t know if most 45 year old Moms are scaling the sides of mountains but they should be. And we navigated the brush and unmarked path down until we hit the main road. And one of the girls walking with us mentioned taking the road less traveled as we pushed through. I smiled and thought of that poem I love so much. It was an incredibly good drive home. I wont forget that drive. Ever. 😉
When I got home I pulled the poem up online to read. And something caught my attention. The title. My entire fucking life Id thought the title was “The Road Less Traveled”. Perhaps because thats what I wanted it to be. Its not, you know. Frost titled it “The Road Not Taken”. Its peppered with regret. Its peppered with the angst that he had to make a decision. That it wasn’t so easy to take the path he chose. He struggled with it. He even says in line 2 “And sorry I could not travel both”. He was sorry he had to choose. He was sorry he couldn’t have both lives, travel both paths. At the end of the poem he talks about leaving that other path for another day but knowing in his head that day would probably never come and he doubted he’d ever come back to travel the other path. I cried. Surprise. The poem was about the road he DIDN”T take.
I think when you make difficult choices in life people don’t see the pain that goes behind those decisions. When you live a big, bold, crazy, adventurous life out loud. When you’re happy. When you find the path you wanted and you get to be yourself finally. The world sees the happy. The world sees it and thinks how easy it must’ve been to choose the life you have. They don’t know you lamented for years. They don’t know you prayed and cried and didn’t sleep for months. They don’t know you made huge mistakes and have regrets and begged life to let you take both paths. You desperately tried to find a way to live both lives. To make everyone happy. To make it all ok. You fought to NOT be you so you wouldn’t ruffle feathers. You tried and struggled and hurt and decisions were never made lightly.
That road I chose. This road I chose. I walk it big and slowly and stop and smell every rose. Because there was another road. I could’ve chosen. It wasn’t a bad road. It wasn’t any LESS than the path I did choose. It just wasn’t MY road. It doesn’t mean I don’t wonder. I don’t feel sad. I don’t contemplate what might’ve been. Sometimes choices are simple. Sometimes hard. Sometimes painful. That Road Not Taken will always be there. It just wasn’t MY road. But it deserves the title. Because. Because it will always ALWAYS make me appreciate even more, the road I DID choose.