Hotel California

eat my scabs; how to change your life
Add caption

When I was 20 I lived in Hotel California.  It was a dingy apartment complex that felt like I could check out anytime I liked but I could never leave.

It was dim, as if the sun forgot to shine.  My life was being played out in this fuzzy, dusky Hotel and I felt like a stranger in my own skin.

"Was this my life?"

I'd left for a trip and when I came, my "friend" was camped out in my bedroom!  He'd moved in.  His clothes in my drawers, his incense burning on my bedside table and three full length mirrors attached to the ceiling above my bed.  Without a word,  I walked out leaving most things behind.

I walked out and into another dim apartment down the hall.  I could check out but I could never leave.

There were 2 roommates, 2 guy roommates.   The sink was piled with dishes, it smelled of dude, video games, bad t.v. and there was always a spare "roommate" greasing up the couch.

His name was Kevin.  He was a friend of a friend who didn't have a place to stay.  That couch became his permanent sleeping arrangement. His legs were short and his torso uncommonly long, which made him walk in a strange way-- Dick Van Dyke penguin legs.  I would watch him shuffle from the sofa to the sink full of smelling, rotting, half-eaten bowls of Marshmallow Mates then back to the sofa.  Kevin grew a pot garden in the coat closet and somehow managed to gain the affections of two beautiful girls.  Too many tears and fights broke out because of this guy with Dick Van Dyke penguin legs and a closet pot garden.

I rode a red scooter and worked at a gas station.  I ate gas station donuts, sold cigarettes and snickers bars.  I even witnessed a first time driver intend to gas up their car but instead pointed the pump into the air like a pistol and fired, spewing gasoline through the air spilling onto the cars and people around her.  It was a disaster.

Just like my life felt.
Just like my Hotel California.

Like I was dogie-paddling and soon to drown in an endless sinking, dark, bucket of poo.

My choices had taken me to a place where i lived with stinky roommates, flighty friends and gas station donuts for breakfast.  I felt stuck.  I felt alone.  I felt I was in the wrong place.

So, I made a plan.  I bought the biggest, heftiest black plastic garbage sack.  I sacked up all my belongings.  I purged.  CD's, clothes, furniture...I asked myself, "Do I need this?  Do I want it in my new life?"

Most things I didn't want.  

This was my right of passage, my acknowledgement that I could swim in that choppy sea beyond the Hotel California, the unknown.  I could trust myself.  I could change my life.

The next day, with a scooter, a backpack and a duffle bag, I left.

I reached out for a new kind of life.  I made new friends.  I made new choices.

I spent a year changing my course, navigating the choppy sea.  Leaving behind what I had known.   At the end of the that year I boarded a plane with my backpack and duffle bag.  I flew across the Pacific Ocean.  To a place where I was a stranger, where I ate fish for breakfast, washed my clothes by hand and showered out of a bucket.  I was scared to death but this was the fruit of my fuller, more honest, happier changed life.

The thing about change is that no one will do it for you.  You have to get your own black garbage sack and purge the things you don't want in your new life.