So the drama queen in me was feeling the need to re-claim her stage. This post is all about me!!!!
Why have I decided to go traveling? Many many reasons, some of which I will try to explain, but I'm sure the last of which will seem the most crazy and yet is probably the most responsible for my decision.
1) I was sitting describing to my councilor one day all the lovely places I dream of seeing at some point in my life. She asked why not now? I replied that I didn't have any one to go with and I didn't see any point in going alone. Bridie asked me what someone else has to do with me seeing the world, and I explained that sharing a sunset is always better than seeing one alone. She didn't buy it, and wanted me to describe why a sunset is less valuable, colourful, or breathtaking alone that with someone there beside me. I couldn't really answer, I have always had people around me to share in my every experience and when they weren't there I came home and re-enacted the whole thing for them any way. I guess I just prefer to share things but sharing an experience or not, shouldn't change the quality of the experience had in the first place.
My silence prompted her to ask some other important questions; "Do you have any children? A mortgage? A successful and full time career? Huge financial obligations? Any disability's? A long term lease? Huge amounts of property? Any legal obligations?" I sat silenced with a perplexed look on my face so she continued; "Do you think getting away is going to be easier when you have a family, a mortgage, a career, and financial obligations, then now when you seem as free as a bird and are still young? Are you getting any younger? If you cant convince yourself to go now will you be able to convince yourself when you have all of these excuses against you?" After a long pause she asked the big one; "What are you waiting for?" "Hmmmm I guess for the fear to go away," I replied!
2) Then it came time to think about my visa that was going to expire. I knew that there weren't any University courses that I wanted to attend worth £9000 debt per annum, and despite my efforts I hadn't found a job in the arts willing to sponsor my work visa. I did not see the point in working for a large corporation just for a visa when what I really wanted was to start working toward my career in Theatre. So I booked a pilgrimage to NY (that post still to come). My intent was to see if I was ready to move home, as my options were CA, Colorado, or NY. The long and the short of the trip was that although I love my city, it didn't feel like home, in fact I was rather homesick the entire time, and I was only gone 6 days. So I am not welcome to stay here in Scotland legally for much longer, I don't want to continue my education, I have no career in the arts, and am not really sure where home is meant to be. Talk about being a little lost in life. However they say there is no better way to find your true home, then to leave the one you've got.
In all the thinking I have done over the last year with various living situations, dating situations, and occupations, while attending counseling, with a visa expiration looming, after the completion of a pilgrimage, I began to think about the kind of woman I want to be, and more importantly the kind of memories I want to have. At first I couldn't tell you, I honestly had no clue, so this quote kept haunting me; "Some times you have to get lost to find yourself." Then I began to narrow it down and envision this amazing woman full of confidence and interesting stories to tell. Well those kind of people aren't just born, they are carefully molded through life's experiences and their travels along the way. I began to realize that a heart full of fear wasn't very conducive to interesting life travels, and stories of exotic experiences.
3) Then I saw this movie Stardust, its a fairy tale about a star (also a woman) that falls from the heavens and her heart continues to fall. Essentially she falls madly in love with a very nice, very good looking man who doesn't know it yet but is actually a prince. A famous star, falls in love with a prince... hmmm.... sound like my kind of movie? It definitely is. However it seemed to be much more than just a good movie to me, it was inspiration.
I was sitting one day dreaming about my very own fairy tale and wondering at what point my prince is meant to enter. Then I began to question if it's really very healthy to continue to allow myself to delve into such childlike fantasies all the time, or if I'm wishing for things that don't exist.
So I decided to approach it logically. Do modern fairy tales actually exist? Well first one needs to define, what is a fairy tale specifically? Sure we have our romantic comedies, and Hollywood spins its magic over lots of true love stories, but what makes a fairy tale different. So I Googled! I was surprised that there have been many studies on fairy tales, including one by Mr Tolkien himself. In his essay on fairy tales he catalogues each re-occurring aspect and diagrams all the pieces that tend to make a complete story.
Well most of it isn't relevant, however a few re-occurring themes caught my eye; Magic seems to happen when the characters are most in need because they are full of despair, near danger, or a tragedy. The main characters always experience some type of travel away from home, or their comfort zone and often alone. Frequently they have to trust a stranger, or elicit help from someone along the way. People are not always what they seem, and trust seems to be blindly given with out prejudgment. In many of the fairy tales the character does not return to the same home they once left, or if they do they are usually changed or have grown in some dramatic way. And finally fairy tales are always blessed with unusually happiness especially in the endings.
So essentially I thought maybe I should consider going on an adventure, traveling away from home, far out of my comfort zone, placing myself near danger, getting intentionally lost, learning to trust in the kindness of strangers, gaining friends in unlikely places, and growing or changing in some dramatic way. Perhaps then I will find myself, experience magic, discover what home means to me, become a confident woman full of crazy stories to tell, a heart full of love and trust rather than fear. Perhaps along the way I will meet a prince, or maybe I am destined to be the leading character in my own story, prince not required. (Think Alice in Wonderland)
Although it frightens me to death I have decided to travel Europe, all by myself. I am making preparations now, saving all my spare funds, and aim to depart in less than a year, for as long as I can afford to go.
5 March 2009
The 1st photo is of this last Thanksgiving (Andrew is the one in my favorite blue shirt on the left.) The Second shot is us in our formal attire at a charity ball.
Andrew do you feel your ears burning???? That would because I have been singing around the house "wake up wake up my dear, its well past noon, the 1 O'Clock gun has gone off, breakfast long gone, and lunch will be soon, wake up wake up my dear, if you were here I would throw something at you, in the most caring and loving way. Tra La Tra LA" Or perhaps because I am typing a blog entry about you and now the whole Internet will know your still sleeping.
Hmmmm. Bless! What to do with a Boyfriend who is a night owl and really cant bring himself to see the light of dawn? Mostly we go on evening dates, mostly to the cinema with our fancy unlimited movie cards, so our dates are mostly free. Our relationship is definitely a jeans and t-shirt, casual, free, relaxed kind of environment. Id say its a "No Stress" arrangement, but I'm far to dramatic for that. He knows and accepts my high maintenance and maybe I can even venture to say he loves me for it, although its generally preferred after mid day.
So I know that many of you will be wondering who is this man that I am calling boyfriend? Andrew James Fleming, the full title I only use when he is in trouble although occasionally that can be substituted for Arse Monkey if the situation applies.
I met him working the summer before last on the tour buses. He was working on a management internship and was meant to be my boss for 6 weeks, although none of us listened to him, (come to think of it we don't listen to our regular boss either, hmmmm) I'm not really sure what possessed me to be so bold, as I'm normally very shy but I walked right up to him and said "I don't know you. Who are you, and what are you doing working on the Tours? Oh I'm sorry I'm Clarice by the way." I think I surprised him a little but what ever, it worked. We started talking, flirting and generally hit it off. I tried to give him my number and he refused, primarily because he was clueless to my flirtations, but I was again unusually persistent.
He liked musicals so I asked him to come see something with me at the Fringe Performance festival. Awwwww and that's how the 1st date was born, awkward and all. It was a terrible performance, I chatted incessantly about all the wrong things over dinner, and generally we were nervous. However we were nervous together and that's what counts.
Well things went on this way for 2 or 3 more dates, but it wasn't moving smoothly. I'm sure my enthusiastic, energetic, demanding, high maintenance self was overwhelming for the poor guy. However his laid back, non-responsive, casual, relaxed, if not slightly lazy attitude towards every thing was driving my anal-retentive side insane. So we agreed to be friends. Well that was an interesting learning experience. Despite efforts on both parts, we kept flirting, and finding ourselves in date like situations.
I have memories of road trips, camping weekends, Boxing day with his family, late night movies, and fudge Sundays at my place, many dinners for two, or movie dates. We have done interesting activities such as midnight walks through creepy graveyard's, and slightly inebriated swimming excursions in the large gold fountain in the Princess Street Gardens around 2 am in November. He tried to teach me to ski, and I nag him constantly about the little details he usually forgets. So although Andrew quickly became one of my closest friends we often had to explain ourselves to others, re-iterating constantly that "There was nothing GOING ON between us!!!!" Honestly and genuinely there wasn't. I dated a few other guys, Andrew flirted with many other women (flirting is one of his subconscious talents, that I'm working on helping him to make it a more conscious thought) We were very close, and loved to hang out, but tried very hard to keep the intimacy at bay so our friendship could survive.
It didn't work. One random night I had a cold, just finished putting Menthol vapor rub on my chest, a stuffy nose, and probably looked like death warmed over, and Andrew starts flirting with me again. Don't know if it was my weakened state, or his irresistible smile but I caved in big time. We both kind of ignored that night and let our friendship balance dangerously on the edge of romantic and platonic mutual affection.
This lasted about 3 weeks before I called him and demanded to talk, then confessed to having feelings for him. Dunnn Dunnn Dunnn! Oh dear, my best friend, what a scandal!!!!! Then despite the tiny sparkle of a smile appearing in his eyes, the annoying man asked me to take a weekend to sleep on it. "Just to be sure, we were risking a lot after all. " Well Andrew is the only person I know who could actually sleep for an entire weekend. I felt like it was 3 days of absolute hell, but I did as I was told and I thought long and hard.
I thought about how he makes me laugh, the way his smile melts me from inside, how we know each other so completely, the adventures we have had, the ones I still dream of exploring, and the arguments we have survived. Technically we only had 1 argument as a couple but countless screaming matches as friends. So it couldn't get any worse really. I guess in the end I felt that one should always give love a chance. (or as to not make any thing seem that serious or permanent "Strong liking" I believe that's the stupid contemporary term for a long term relationship that isn't serious. Although personally I think that's a ridiculous concept all together. How can any one not be serious about any thing long term? Perhaps its the drama queen in me but every thing I do is a serious pressing matter!!!)
So we have officially been an item for 2 months and 5 days now, (but who's counting).