For as happy, enthusiastic, and “pleasant” (Matt’s word for me) as I was on trail, I’ve become bitter, cranky, and apathetic. My body has adjusted to not walking 20miles everyday and now, instead of eating for energy, I just eat. A lot. And I don’t feel like exercising. My shorts are tight and my stomach jiggles. I no longer feel healthy and thriving, but instead feel dumpy, lumpy, grumpy, and just plain gross. (Matt thinks it’s hilarious I feel lumpy, so he has started calling me Lumps and Lumpy…) My heart is still on-trail, and yet I am not.
As jealous as I am of all of our friends who are still on trail making incredible miles and memories, I am jealous of those who made the decision to leave the trail- I wish I wasn’t disappointed and frustrated and yearning to be in a place I cannot be at this time; I wish I could be at peace with this. But I am not, not at all. My soul is hungry to return to where it feels most alive; my soul is craving the trail.
I’ve come to resent Matthew, and I’ve told him as much. I know it isn’t fair, but I can’t help myself. “We are only here because of you,” I’d think any time we had to pay for another hotel, car, gas, plane ticket, or restaurant meal. “I feel like shit because of you,” or “I’m fat and not happy because we are not there (looking at Facebook and Instagram pics of the trail) and we are not there because of you. We are here.” I felt guilty for thinking these things, so eventually I started saying them, while recognizing that it really isn’t his fault. And other than being stuck for a week in a hotel room in Bakersfield with Matt in pain, “here” hasn’t been terrible: we were able to fly across the country to see our families in NJ(we spent time with all of our siblings + their significant others, which is rare!), we celebrated his mom’s birthday, and witnessed my nephew’s baptism. We were able to spend an afternoon at the beach in NJ, climb the highest peak in Arizona, see my mom again in Arizona, spend an afternoon with my sister’s fam in Arizona, and visit our old life in San Diego, indulging in our favorite SoCal cuisine and catching up with good friends…no, “here” isn’t terrible, but it isn’t where my heart and soul are happy now; it isn’t the trail.
(I wrote most of the above prior to Matthew getting his jaw unwired. After the unwiring on Tuesday I was no longer bitter- I was excited and relieved, ready to get past our last hurdle, the dentist, and restart our journey on Saturday for the third and hopefully final time…)
On Tuesday evening, when we rolled into our old neighborhood in San Diego, I was shocked that nothing had changed- I saw the same people in the same places I had always seen them- how could that be? Jesse pointed out to me that we were only gone for just over two months. Two months? No, that can’t be right- our life here was a lifetime ago! I have seen and experienced so much that I find it impossible that nothing else has changed. I’m not the same person I was when I left here, and as I walked around our old streets I felt like I was a shadow of my old self. I may look the same (albeit a little puffier and less fit), and I may sound the same and act the same, but I am not the same. And I am not here, not really. I’m currently at mile 702, in limbo, waiting for our next move…
We just got another blow this morning- after enjoying breakfast with an old friend that I had recently reconnected with, Matt went to see our dentist. As expected, Matt had done a number on his teeth, and while most of what needs to be taken care of can be done tomorrow (as we had scheduled) or in the future after our hike, one tooth needs immediate work done by a specialist- the problem? With insurance clearance & scheduling, this might push our return to trail back another week. I’m again frustrated and upset and for the first time realizing that we might not be able to hike the entire trail before time and weather fuck us over.
I so badly wish I had the urge to give up on the trail entirely- how easy it would be to buy a plane ticket from San Diego to Southeast Asia, or to Central or South America, or Africa, or even friggin Europe! My dream, after all, is to travel the world, and it is what I had planned to do after we finished the trail (before blowing so much $$ that I didn’t budget for on our unexpected, extended hiatus- we shall see what happens now…) But that fuckin trail! I just can’t seem to kick the idea of finishing it- those last 2,034ish miles that are weighing on me and I can’t let go of- no, those last 2,034ish miles that are weighing on me and I don’t WANT to let go of- I need to walk them, and I don’t want to walk them alone.
So now, again, we wait, while I long for a place that I KNOW exists…