I’m at a house party and everyone is going around saying their name and what they do and when it comes to me it’s the first time in two years that I don’t get to say, “I’m Dave and I’m a full time travelin’ wanderin’ soul-searcher and I hitchhiked here from five hundred miles away this morning.” Now it’s, I just moved here and I’m looking for a place to live and a job. I no longer get to be the Most Interesting Man in the Room, which is great for my ego, but it’s interesting, I’m starting to realize that I’ve always sought that out in different ways, first it was breakdancing, the first thing that elevated me from torturously shy anonymity to confident presence. I thought it was my skills as a dancer that gave me worth and value as a human being. Then I was known for my skills as an artist, in high school, and then for yet other reasons at boarding school. As of four years ago it was my dreadlocks that set my apart. And then finally my entire lifestyle was a revolution of identity, I began to define myself not by a craft but by the entire way I was living, which I of course thought was the truest identity yet. But now that is gone, and once again, by defining myself by something outside of myself, when it’s gone, I lose my sense of identity in a way. It triggers all of the old adolescent insecurities. Why should people like me or want me around, what do I bring to a room of people now without my story to catch people’s attention, where does my worth come from? Good. Stripping away yet another layer, striving to know myself more deeply yet, letting go of externalities and learning to accept myself for exactly who I am and that alone.
The search for a place to live has been tough. I spend hours staring at Craigslist waiting for something to appear. I neglect emails and phone calls and writing blogs. There’s so much to speak to, but nothing to say. I just need a place to live. Whenever I stay in a city for too long, I start to feel homeless. This time I also feel homesick. The last time I actually lived somewhere, had a place that felt like my own, was in September of 2010. That’s over two years ago. So I sleep on Leigh, Aneliya, and Trevor’s couch and keep searching. I feel like I’m being way too picky. I want to be walking distance from downtown, not pay very much money, live with people who inspire me, and not be more than ten or so blocks from this house I’m staying in now. That’s sort of a tall order and I know it. And as for work, I feel even pickier. I design a resume for the first time in two years. Nothing on it is a paying job. It has graphics and bar charts. The thing is, after two years of spending 24 hours a day doing exactly what I will, I am unwilling to take any job doing anything that I wouldn’t still do even if I wasn’t getting paid. I tell this to some people over beers at Boulder Café one evening. They roll their eyes, like everybody I’ve said this to. “Well,” Trevor says after a moment. “It sounds like maybe you’re not ready to end your journey and settle down.”
Exactly. I am not ending my journey, and I am not settling down. The journey continues, only, I will be staying in one city for a little longer than usual (indefinitely). This is what I decided to do, and now I’m seeing this through. Even if some days it’s hard to remember why. I just almost fit in enough here not to be noticed. Boulder means the dreads don’t stand out. The ragged stack of left wrist bracelets hides under sleeves. My feet are still black—I think it’s permanent, because it doesn’t matter how much I scrub. But they’re in socks now. And I’ve been here too long already and still haven’t found a place to live, still haven’t found a job, still can’t understand how people could voluntarily spend their entire lives this way, spending so much time doing things they’d rather not do, compromising so many things that maybe shouldn’t be compromised. Remind me again why I’m doing this? How can a person live inside after being encased in forest and root and naked sandstone? Trade stars for roof, trade the wind through leaves for these walls, cold is sacred, our way of touching the vast emptiness of everything beyond ourselves, mortality and immortality, trade the cold for a stale warmth blowing through moldy metal vents, the fire for the stove, the ash on my face and the dust on my palms for lavender scented soap, chemicals, sunrise for tinted blinds and alarm clocks, I already feel the impulse to run.