It’s a good idea to examine the places that we have lived and consider what we’ve walked away with and what we have learned from local flora, fauna, people and culture.
It’s also good—if we’ve lived no other place than where we grew up—to examine what colored lens we might wear by a result of this, so that we may take on a broader, more worldly view. And if we’ve lived in various places, it might be good to check whether or not we carry a superior attitude towards others that live in the same geographical place.
I’m not sure who said it, but an unexamined life is one not worth living. so here I examine the places I’ve lived, and share some of what I walked away with learning.
What have you learned from where you live and have lived?
I’ve “lived,” in other cities, places, than just Kalamazoo, Michigan. I like to think I don’t possess a “provincial,” outlook on the world around me. (Not that living in the same state, city, all one’s life, doesn’t have its advantages and charms.) Living means at least spending five or six months in one place. I feel that spending a year or more is even more influential.
What I’ve learned from the places I’ve lived:
1) Louisville, Kentucky:
Brush your teeth, bathe. A roof over our head costs money. What it feels like to be hungry. What it looks like to use Jim Beam bottles for target practice (only saw it done—did not do it).
How it feels to trot on a horse. Life is not a bowl of cherries. Death is our greatest teacher. We die. We must live to our fullest. Each day matters. Don’t take anyone or anything for granted.
Death has no age limit, and in the end, only kindness matters.
2) San Diego, California:
Physical exercise and eating healthy is essential. Cosmetology school is fun. I am not a Beauty School drop-out, and learned through “beauty school,” I can get good grades and I like to read! Mexico is more than a place on a map. I like to act. I love to sing, and should be heard. I love to dance and it is sacred to my heart. Conserve water and energy.
Homelessness is real.
There is a community in which I belong, LGBTQ, that actually supports me. There is such a thing as “Go-Go bars.” I’m a Master (of Fine Arts). Poverty is more than just the amount of food one has, how big or little a roof is over your head. Being rich does not bring happiness.
Misogyny is real.
In hindsight: I should’ve worn SPF all those years! I love rollerskating on the boardwalk (and miss it). How it feels to gallop on a horse, on the beach, in Mexico. Sunsets are an important part of the West Coast lifestyle. I miss trees. Tress talk to me. Saw so many countries and states, but seeing great things is better when spent with someone deeply decent and kind.
3) Cocoa Beach/Merritt Island, Florida:
I love to choreograph as much as I love to write. Suicide is not the answer, nor is killing our abuser. Self-love is the answer.
Yoga saves lives. I know why a caged bird sings. I choose to fly. One’s sexuality is one’s own sexuality and should never be manipulated, or used to benefit others, even our partners. The end of a huge chapter of my life, and the beginning of the next. Alligators are real and will eat your kayak if you glide over their backs during mating season.
Adjunct Professors get paid too little. Choreographing is my heroine. We do not have to suffer. Lifelong friends are often found in the midst of darkness.
There’s still time to follow my dreams.
4) Kalamazoo, Michigan:
Supporting local is sustainable. Organic local foods is better for you.
Honey is magic. Ginger is magic. I am a Vata/Pitta dosha. Music festivals, apple picking, Renaissance Fairs, blueberry picking, strawberry picking, making one’s own butter, are all fun. Sometimes I feel like I’m back in high school (not a good feeling) Michigan is the poorest state I’ve lived, and also the richest.
I found true love in Kalamazoo (upon meeting years prior in Prague, Czech Republic.) Snow is often comforting. Michigan possesses a spiritual vortex. Traveling abroad to India alone is one of the best and bravest things I’ve ever done for myself.
I am owl. I am Deer. I am Snake. I am Red Tailed Hawk.
I love to play dress-up.
I have a voice. I will use it. Follow your gut, it never leads you astray. Aren’t cliques a form of violence? Being a business owner can drain one of all of our resources. It’s okay, I’ve been poor before. Serving others is part of my dharma.
Creating sacred space for myself and others is needed.
There’s plenty room for more growth, and the LGBTQ community here, tends to erase the *B,* for political campaigns. Are we falling backwards? It’s time to bring Detroit back. Pulling this mindset forward. Love is Louder.
5) Prague, Czech Republic:
(I lived in Prague for six months at one stretch, and every month of July 2009-2013.)
I hear myself so clearly when I don’t understand the language around me.
Relax. There is no hurry, just be. Don’t be so uptight. U.S. mentality is often equivalent to that of a teenagers. Living in an old world leads to goddess energy, embrace the Divine Feminine with all of one’s heart!
Rivers are my favorite body of water. I need trees. I could be an expat and might be one day. Home is everywhere, not confined by a geographical place. Prague is my sister, too. Time spent in cathedrals are some of my favorite moments. Be more conscious of your smile. Smile when you really mean it. Smiling can be a form of hiding or even lying. Americans are good at smiling. We are all family, interconnected.
Sign Language can be universal. I love the Czech’s honesty.
I miss Prague, she owns a huge chunk of my heart.
We truly are interconnected.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Wikimedia Commons