Unexpected Encounters

Dear Reader,

Today, I’m sitting in a new spot at coffee shop in Capitol Hill. I’m no longer living in Bellingham (total craziness, my heart is still half there) and I’m about a week out from setting off on my wandering journey and feeling woefully underprepared and totally terrified.

When my good friend suggested we meet up and have a planning sesh I hopped right on board. However, the suggested meeting place wasn’t necessarily alluring. Trekking to Cap Hill at rush hour sounded a little rough. Nonetheless, I scooted out of my parent’s house a little early and made my way into the neighborhood of my early childhood (little known fact about me, I spent the first two years of my life living on Capitol Hill, being wheeled around in a little red waggon with our English Bulldog Spike, wading in the pool at Volunteer park and nabbing peaches from neighbors blankets at concerts in the park).

Earlier in the day I had considered driving to Volunteer Park and walking my lazy buns around in the sunshine. However, that didn’t happen. And as much as I’d like to beat myself up about it, I can’t because one, it doesn’t serve me, and two I was meant to drive past the park at the exact moment I did. Let me explain. When I drove past volunteer park later in the evening I craned my neck to try to see into the lush greenery, and instead I was stopped dead in my tracks (no I didn’t actually stop my car - calm down) by what I saw.

There she was, parked on the side of the road, covered in grey chalkboard paint, a quirky drawing fading on her back doors, a chipped and speckled front bumper, and power about her that is impossible to miss.

Gypsy Rita was parked a few yards in front of me.

As I passed her, I took her all in, her back window looked to be covered in duct tape or insulation, something new nonetheless, the drawings that once adorned her body had changed. But she was every bit as beautiful, not despite her changes, but because of them.

I wondered as I drove past, if she was covered in dust from the desert, if she’d made her way to Burning Man and weathered sand storms, or looked upon burning temples. I wondered if her new companion was in fact living inside her now. I wondered about the changes I couldn’t see from the outside.
But mostly, I wondered, about the chances of me happening upon her here. They had to be slim to none.

I never expected to see her again. I set her free to wander without me. But there she was, when I needed her the most.

All week I have been fighting change, afraid to let go of the people and the places I love so dearly, afraid to dive into my truest self and experience the discomfort of self-change and self-growth.

But when I saw Gypsy Rita, parked there in front of the building blocks of my childhood I felt a sense of relief and joy that have been fleeting in my life recently. A huge smile washed over my face as I realized, everything I think I’m letting go of will always be available to me. It may shift, change, and grow, but there is a beauty in that.

Moreover, as a I change, as I navigate through myself, my stories, my trauma, my joy, it might be hard, I might have to duct tape a few parts of myself back together, but I will still be beautiful and powerful. I will be more authentic, and I will stop people in their tracks, just as Gypsy stopped me.

There is an overwhelming comfort in knowing that I can always find my way back to my roots (to the familiar, to the safe and comfortable). And there is an even greater comfort in knowing that allowing those roots to spread wide and wild, change form and find new ground, even if they have to dive through some rocks to get there, is safe and everything will be totally okay.

It’s funny I know, that I could get all that from seeing my old van, but damn folks, she was there to deliver a message and I heard it loud and clear!

Let this serve as a reminder that I am imperfect, I am filled with fear on so many days, with doubts and unsuredness. I too shut down, burrow deep into safe holes and resist change. But the part of me that knows my own joy, passion, and light, the part of me that has done so much work toward empowerment stays the tiniest bit open. And this openness allows moments like this to unfold.

Be easy with yourselves and each other and know that there is magic in this world and it’s ever changing ways!

With love,

Annalise