Weekend Walkabout

by Amelia Kanan

“I’m going up north.”

“With who?”

“Just me.”

“Amelia. Are you jealous that Mike, Bill and I came up to San Francisco this weekend so you had to make your own trip north?”

I laughed but then was annoyed that he didn’t believe the fact that I had already planned my weekend. I have officially been living at home, with my parents since February. I had three trips planned and they all got canceled. I never went camping this summer. The last place I went was that road trip to West Virginia, with my cousin but that doesn’t really count. I NEEDED to get away.

“No! I need a break.”

He laughed. “You’ve been unemployed for a year!”

This is true. But, in my defense, I have been working my ass off in this year, trying to get work. It’s definitely paid off but of course, it all hit at once. I’m working at a gallery as the coordinator, I’m writing/photographing for two new publications, I’m teaching photography and film to middle schoolers, I just got a proposal to shoot/edit video for another publication and a developer hired me to photograph their sites’ construction processes. I’m not complaining and am so excited for all these projects but it can be a little overwhelming and when I get overwhelmed…I run. In Los Angeles, I was used to going away almost every weekend, even if it was for just one night or a day. It was easy there, with the mountains, different beaches, the desert, “my” vineyards, and all the different towns and cities. Sometimes I would be by myself and sometimes I wouldn’t.

“Where are you going to stay.”

“My Uncle and Aunt’s cottage by Lake Huron.”

“You’re going to get so scared.”

He was wrong. I didn’t. Well, maybe for a second when I heard an animal near my fire last night. But, I told myself it was a bunny and I was ok. I did get a little lonely though but instead of calling anyone, I listened to some old voice mails:

“This is bullshit Amelia. I miss you and you’re not here and you never answer your fucking phone.”

“Hey hey! Just calling to see if you wanted to Face Time with the kids and I. Call us back if you’re around. We miss you!”

“Yo, girrrrl. I’m going to sing you a country song. Well, I guess I didn’t know the words but I hope you liked the mouth instrumental. Hollar back.”

“Hi, Millia. Miss you. Call us.” (She was 3 years old, so it was a little hard to translate.)

“I need you. Call me back right now.”

“(Sigh) I’m just walking to work and was thinking of how much I miss your face and laugh.”

“Hey babe. I’m dog sitting and here’s the thing: I’m in love with him and I don’t want to give him back so I was thinking I could high tail, come to Detroit and we could devise a plan. Call me back to figure this out.”

These all made me smile and think a few things. #1 I’m horrible at calling people back. #2 I am so incredibly lucky and #3 I have so much love in my life. Then I got to reflecting, about all these people, all these different relationships. I’ve really struggled with all the love around me. Allowing myself to be loved. For some reason, I never thought I was the problem. I thought “I love so easily and put myself out there to be loved” but, lately, I’ve realized how untrue that was. For over ten years, all those people in those voicemails have told me that I am the one squashing love, in the face. And as much as I hate to admit it, all those people were right.

I was afraid of the vulnerability. Depending on someone. Trusting that the other person actually loves me, even my flaws. Fear has never stopped me from doing things, so why have I allowed it to control the most important part of life? Well, I’m over it. I’m tired of the unhealthy behavior that’s attached to it. Getting my snuggles and emotional love from the ones but putting the kibosh on allowing it to lead into something real and whole. But, I can truly tell you that I am ready. I have finally learned how to love myself and I am able to now receive it. I’ll admit that it all makes my stomach churn but not in the way it used to. It’s more for the excitement of what’s to come. I can’t wait to know who this person is because they obviously are going to have to be amazing. Funny. Smart. Strong. And, of course, really attractive. I’m kidding. Well, kind of…