Los Angeles is a place that tears me in half because in Los Angeles I am whole and my Colorado blood doesn’t know what to make of that. Colorado is the place I was born and I hated it most of my life until I left, which is usually how things go with me. Except that I never had to leave LA to love it. I loved it in the before, I love it in the during, and it’s going to take a force of nature to pull me away permanently. But Colorado is a force of nature. 

The ridiculous thing about all this is I don’t have an actual decision to make. I am obligated to spend at least the next three years in LA finishing my PhD. And since only a handful of people have ever finished my program in five years, I’ve probably got at least four more years left there. But even in three years, if I finish that soon, I’ll be 28. Things might be so different then just like they’re so different now because three years ago I was 23 and living in Salt Lake City and hating it even though I now miss it and I was in a relationship I thought was forever and I sort of figured that relationship would dictate my future living situation, which clearly demonstrates why that relationship wasn’t a permanent one.
When I drive around Los Angeles, I feel like I’m driving around a place I’ve always lived. And when I drive around Colorado, I feel like that too, because I have always lived here, relatively speaking. Some days I wake up certain that I will spend the rest of my life here, raise my kids here just like I was raised here, and witness the same views I’ve always witnessed, huge sky, mountain range like waves crashing on the shore of the plains, Denver shooting up tentatively in the distance. I even started looking for houses to buy in the Highlands and Five Points a few weeks ago. [Un]Fortunately, pretty much everything is selling for above asking price right now so a Colorado house is not in my immediate future. A Los Angeles house would actually be more likely since I know I’ll continue to live there and since I’m spending so much money on rent when I could potentially be investing that money in a home. 
The point is, I’ve always known I’ve been torn between two places that feel equally like home in drastically different ways, but this tug of war is pulling at me harder now than it ever has before for reasons I can’t really seem to figure out. I am a fiercely loyal person. It’s why I have a hard time ending relationships that are bad for me and a hard time transitioning to brands or stores or mentors or friends that might better suit my needs. And it is impossible to feel equally loyal to two places at once. But never have I felt more loyal to Colorado than I do now. And maybe because of that, because I feel like I’m leaning too far in one direction, I have also never felt more loyal to the place I might lose because of Colorado. 
How do you live in two places at once? I guess I’m technically doing it right now, but it doesn’t feel like enough. I think the reason I have to stay committed to academia and my career is because otherwise my brain and heart shred themselves into bits looking for answers to questions I don’t even need to be asking. Let’s just say I also haven’t felt this strong of an urge to run away alone to the desert since the summer two years ago when I was transitioning between CO and CA, between love and not love, between commitment and freedom. I made all the wrong decisions then. Maybe this time I’ll figure out a way to make the right ones. 
Anyway, enough crisis talk. Here’s Colorado:
Pano of the place where I was born
Click to make it larger
Poetry Reading, Counterpath [inside & outside]

Play spaces

Mixed Taste [Polish Poetry & BBQ] 

Ken Caryl Valley 

4th of July

Red Rocks



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