Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.


To tighten the verbiage in my proposal I needed to start writing more of the actual book.  Themes were getting twisted up in one another and I needed to be sure my message was clear.  However, this week I was thwarted from writing much of anything.  I was supposed to flush out my concept of life’s hamster wheel, women racing to keep up with society’s standards. But I couldn’t focus on the words in front of me as the machine in my own mind kept spinning.  My brain was a Ferris wheel gone berserk, past actions and words whirling madly to off key carnival music.  The ‘stop’ button was not to be found and I let myself be carried away over and over again, making myself nauseous by the wheel’s gyration.

I thought that by being open to the world I had landed on solid ground.  But in a strive for perfection I had missed my mark, making more mistakes than I had get-out-of-jail free cards for.

I wished I could let them all go, like a sane human being.  But I held onto them, over thinking, over analyzing, practicing my own art of self-mutilation. Who needed knives when we had memories to cut into us?

It doesn’t matter what all my mistakes were…because as humans we all make them.

“I got too drunk”

“I said the wrong thing”

“I behaved poorly”

“I didn’t listen”

“I hurt someone else” ‘

“I didn’t prepare”

“I didn’t think”

“I couldn’t be myself…”

Perhaps, yes, I did do too many shots of Jaeger the other night.  Although getting wasted to the point of pass out is typically a sport I reserve for family reunions, it managed to happen in San Francisco public.  Perhaps I did say the wrong thing to a potential client, telling them my book writing was far more important than their upcoming fashion line.  And perhaps I did impulsively reveal too much of myself in this very blog, confusing and frightening many without warning.

I was so caught up in remorse of my recent ineptitude that I even started to berate myself at the polling booth on the November 2nd elections.  “I didn’t research all the propositions enough.  What if my lack of research moves the city over to the wrong decision…..”

It was time to stop the madness. I was becoming a self-absorbed creature unaware of the world around me; unaware of others, unaware of conflict and unaware of love, regardless of its inevitable idiosyncrasies.

My cousin had once given me an orange string from a Sadhu in India to wear around my wrist as a reminder to love freely.  My friends had found the thread a dodgy hippy adornment not worthy of the fashion circle we traveled in.  But by wearing it, I was constantly reminded to love without judgment, expectation, and attachment.  While on the road I had learned to do this for others.  My hippy string was my compass.  Now I needed to do it for myself.

Everyone has their own trick to escape from their personal quagmire and find safety in their skin.  Mine, for those that have been following my blog, is obvious.  It’s hitting the road.

And so in a crazed rush, I left my Pac Height apartment once again, leaving piles of dishes and clothes behind me.  I packed random items into an overnight bag and headed north with no real destination in mind.

Along highway 1 I parked my car and decided to hike.  Somewhere in a labyrinth of trails, I ran blindly, getting lost in the hills to the sea.  There is something about natural beauty that humbles us.  The expanse of the blue ocean, the downy mounds of earth, and the chipper squirrels that raced across my feet made me smile.  I, and my mind’s musings were rendered completely insignificant.

For those that are blessed enough to live near Highway 1 know how its beauty can mesmerize the soul.  Everything I have done wrong, and everything I have done right was meaningless.  I would offer more to the world if I were a rock along Point Reye’s seashore.

Somehow, knowing we are insignificant is freeing. Judgment, expectation, and attachment vanished. After getting lost three times on my hike I finally found my way back to civilization.  In a tiny café with northern Californian birdwatchers and Harley drivers, I let go and started to write again.  My mistakes were still there….but they were just a small part of me, encouraging me to move forward.

My Ferris wheel has stopped.  Eventually I’ll be able to return home.

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