like this picture from Mount Bonnell in Austin
More, though, I'm going to write about the psychological effects of the trip - because there were many. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had some anxiety about heading back after so long. My view today of my time living in Texas ... well, it is very different than it was when I wrote that post a little over a month ago. I have a renewed perspective because of the reaction, to me, of the people I visited down there - they showed extraordinary love and acceptance to someone they haven't seen in so long. My memories and feelings over so long had gravitated to the negative end of the spectrum (mostly with people I worked with - and that is the pathology of my mood disorder - job equates to negativity). But now they are much further to the positive. And that is heartening.
So I explained in Part 1 about my two years in Texas. I didn't give a lot of detail. I had some great co-workers and some great friends. I created a very nice life for myself in that two years and had a lot of great times down there. I really do have some wonderful memories and associated feelings with my time in Austin. And, frankly, after coming back I now remember more.
One short communication after I moved back to Canada, however, had left me with the feeling that I had been annoying and a pain in the ass and not someone they enjoyed working with. I'm not going to go into details - it was work-related, but most of the co-workers were not involved. It left a very big dent in my soul - one short communication, one large hole. Coming back to hugs and laughter and acceptance went a very long way to help heal that. This was posted in the window of the office when we walked up:
It made me feel much more at home - thanks, Karl K. And thanks for showing me the picture on the wall that I was in. I really DID work there.
There is one other thing that caused me to question how fond people were of me - and that is the average human capacity to stay in touch. Everyone is different. Everyone has a different amount of time to devote to staying in touch with friends who are far away. And after this trip I learned that just because someone doesn't stay in touch over Facebook or e-mail or even phone calls and postcards, doesn't mean that they don't still think of you and don't want to catch up.
Anyhow, I mentioned last time that I used to think that everyone in their mid-20s should move somewhere far away from home. I truly believed that because the experience for me was good. It was an adventure and I got to expand my understanding of the world and myself. However, I would now have to say that there are repercussions to such an action, and not everyone should do it. The repercussions for me ... 15 years later it's easier to see them and understand the pain they cause ... were not severe, but did cause some pain. And they are this: you leave your home, your family and your support system behind, leaving yourself very vulnerable and lonely. Then you develop another support system and friends and social life only to leave them, too, at which time you go back to a damaged support system. So the repercussions are that you leave bits of your soul in the care of people who don't see you anymore. And you lose touch with those bits. And it is painful. In some very real ways, I got to go visit with those little bits of my soul that stayed with my friends in Texas. And I was renewed.
The Alamo on a particularly HOT April afternoon.