***Please note: I’m not trying to hate on any of the cities below. I know that any negativity I write about came from a place in time where I was personally. Anyone else living there could have a completely different perspective on it, as I even did for a big chunk of time. And as the title hints, these are cities I loved too.***
When I was about 8 months pregnant I was stalling in a line of cars at a Taco Bell by my old house in San Pedro. Off Gaffey. I hated Gaffey. It was almost always busy, the businesses were hard to get in and out of. It was run down. I felt so alone there moving through doorways. All my friends were in Long Beach. I went to the WIC to pick up my WIC vouchers once a month off of Gaffey.
While dreaming of tacos and add ons (my former vegan self could not get enough of TB while pregnant) I heard what can only be described as a gut wrenching crash of metal and ensuing shrieking. I was instantly disturbed, I knew something bad had happened. The lady in line ahead in a mini van started backing up, which I immediately understood. I backed up too, the car behind me let me out, and I let her out. I followed her out to Gaffey. A dog was down, blocking the right lane. A crowd grew around the dog, the lady in the van joined, as did I. It was a white poodly looking dog, his/her back leg had been rolled over. The dog was snapping at everyone who tried to get close to it. The lane behind us was backed up, the other lanes rushing by. They talked me away from the dog. You’re pregnant, they said, and I let them. I felt bad then for being afraid that the dog would bite me, and I feel bad about it now. We somehow got the dog in the lady’s van, she would take it to animal control. We had called them, they told us they had no idea when they could arrive.
The lady called me the next day. Animal control didn’t even blink. A damaged dog is a dead dog. They had put the dog down even though the lady had said that she could take him if he healed. She or I didn’t have the money to take him to a vet.
I saw dead animals all the time there. Blood, fur, and guts all over the road. This dog was a metaphor for how I felt towards the end, how I felt about living there. I felt like I might be the next to get pinned down, that something would crash into me, and that I might die. I despised my drive through the port of Los Angeles, a drive I made sometimes four times a day to work and meetings in Long Beach. I despised the cranes, the containers, the pyramid shaped piles of god only who knows what.
There were my friends and my meetings to find comfort in and only. This was magnificent and good. Even so, I felt that if I stayed that my life would stop. I had gotten sober, so many good things had happened to me, I had discovered Y O G A, I had this great and amazing circle of friends, but it was if Long Beach had given me all that it was supposed to.
It was time to move on.
I slept in the heat of a house with no air in the summer and I froze in the cold of a house that had no heater in the winter. My body ached every night as I slept on my side. I cried myself to sleep as I though about how I had to find homes for my cats, my first babies. I hoped Oregon would be different. I was grateful for my life. I was grateful for sobriety, yoga, my friends. I just was tired of scraping by. I wanted something different.
So I came here, had Holden, and am having a reprieve. I’ve gotten to do something I dreamed about in Long Beach: yoga teacher training. I’ve lived for about a year and a half not having to worry every second about how to pay bills. Living like that. You don’t know until you’ve gone through it.
I sat there last Thursday at Free Yoga on the Green at 3pm sharp. My friend from work said she was coming. I suddenly felt silly and impotent sitting there in the heat. What was I trying to do? Who was I trying to be? As I thought this a golden labradoodle bounded across the green space over to me. He sat right on my mat calmly like he knew me for forever. It was like god, the universe, the divine was saying to me, hey girl. I got ya. Keep going. Keep doing this thing.
My friend showed up and we practiced. I heard that a couple more will come this week. A soon to be mama at Mama Bear said she heard some of her neighbors talking about it. That right there made me amazingly happy. I feel so invested in it, along with the mom group. I want them to thrive. I think I have to refocus and let go, to know that they will be what they are meant to be.
Pictures of my step-dad’s baby, our back yard. Seriously he does so much with the small space. And of a 1 year old birthday party. This mama ate two cupcakes, yum. Yes I did share some with H. Of course.
There are so many crazy water features in Wilsonville. This is a long wading structure, H loved it.
I still miss Long Beach as much as I needed something different. It’s in my bones. It’s a part of me. 4th street, Redondo, people crossing the street without looking, the garbage, the oil islands, the way the trees looked during Free Yoga on the Bluff, the way the ocean sparkled, the Queen Mary, Marina Pacifica, Inner city, veggie burritos from Hole Mole, The Maya, Toledo, Mira Mar, all of it.
I needed to leave to love it again.
Namaste & Peace to you all.