Fear, Fuck You

July 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

I make interesting decisions when I’m angry. not like “oh teen angst, I’m so angry at the world” but in a genuine, fire in my fucking belly kind of angry. The last time I was this angry was when I decided to move to DC, which in retrospect, I actually think was a pretty damn good idea. sure, everything crashed and burned in the end, but I learned a lot about myself and about the world I’m living in, so I think it was worth it. 

Upon re-reading my older entry about fear, the anger that’s been growing in my belly for a while completely boiled over. Why so angry, Alexa? I’ll tell you. 

– I’m sick and fucking tired of working my ass off and feeling like I never get anything in return. 

– I’m sick and fucking tired of being afraid to leave my house at night or go to a bar alone or go to a foreign country simply because I was born with female body parts and a short frame. 

– I’m sick and fucking tired of hearing about everyone else’s trips when all I do is work and go to school. There ain’t nothing exciting about that. 

The world is so threatening to women all the time, it never ends. Well you know what? FUCK. THAT. I’m a goddamn human being and I deserve to experience every good thing in life just like a man does. 

I’m constantly subjected to hearing my friends’ stories about their travels abroad and Facebook keeps me updated on all the new trips everyone is taking, all the wonderful vacations people seem to find time for. Know when the last time was that I took a vacation longer than four days including travel time?

.

.

.

.

.

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Yeah, me neither. Because I’ve never taken a vacation as an adult. I’m 25 years old and I haven’t taken a vacation since I turned 19. [Actually, I just remembered I took a week to drive out to Colorado with Alec when I was 20 or 21, but considering that was …. something like 56 hours driving in a car without seeing any sights or stopping anywhere more exciting than a subway or a gas station, I don’t really see it as much of a vacation. at least on a plane you can read a book.]

It’s still fucking stupid to say out loud. TAKE A VACATION, ALEXA. now that my dog (and part of my heart and soul) is dead, I have more freedom to travel. I was afraid to leave before because she was getting so old and I would never have forgiven myself had she died while I was away. She died so peacefully, and in my arms, I have to be thankful for that. 

Now I have a young dog who will survive without me just fine for a month, which is how long I intend to be gone. I also have the perfect opportunity to take a big trip because my internship is only 9 months long, leaving me a lot of wiggle room between the end of my internship and the beginning of what I hope will be a salaried job at a museum. 

I’ve made a lot of excuses for not traveling in the past, and I think some of them were pretty valid, but you know me — when I get angry, pretty much everything can to go to hell. No more excuses. It’s the right time to go and I can’t keep living in fear. I can’t keep living like that and goddammit I won’t. 

I don’t give myself a lot of credit because I’ve been in situations in the past that have convinced me that I can’t protect myself. Fuck that. 

Oh, did I mention I’m going alone? Because I am. 

I’ve been on a million trips alone. Admittedly, they’ve been in the States and they’ve been for a mere 48-72 hours, but I’ve proven to myself that I can at the very least manage on my own in new, unknown places. I can figure it out. I don’t panic. I travel smart. I stay safe. I can do this on a larger scale. 

I want a trip for *me.* I want to wake up everyday and know that I can do whatever the fuck I want to. I want to know that if I spend the next week in the Louvre, I’m not boring anyone or holding anyone back. I want the freedom to change plans at will, according to *my* will. I’m a grown-ass woman. I’ve earned this. 

Do not be fooled. This isn’t some “disco-hopping-across-Europe” trip. I’m in it for the museums, people. The likelihood that I’ll even leave my hostel bed after sundown is slim (safety first, people! short, slow-running, single women traveling alone shouldn’t be going out at night). I don’t give a shit about coming home with “Oh my god, I was so drunk” crazy stories that everyone seems to think are the highlights of any trip anywhere, whether it be just down to NOLA or across the pond. I want to see ART, motha fucka. MUSEUMS. ARCHITECTURE. CULTURE. I want to SEE the world through crisp, clear eyes. The only thing I’m interested in drinking in is the wonder of the human imagination and the beauty of life captured in something as simple as pigment on panel. 

My dream trip would be to start in the Netherlands then work my way down to Morocco, spending at least a week in Paris on the way, but that seems a bit ambitious for a month-long trip. Realistically, I may just start in Paris, head up to the Netherlands, boomerang over to London and go home. I’d love to make it down to Spain (THE PRADO!!!), but I need to be realistic and I don’t want to feel rushed. The purpose of the trip is to SEE and to do that, I have to slow down. I’ve got a long list of places I’d like to visit, but I think my best bet is to focus my trip. The best advice about anything in life: Keep it simple. I’ll be able to travel again. I don’t have to pack everything into this one trip. Keep it simple. Smell the roses. See the world. 

I plan on taking my camera, but I also want to take a sketchbook, keeping it simple with pen and ink that won’t smudge after days of being carried in my backpack. The best way to truly see anything is to draw it, and lord knows I don’t draw nearly enough. I’m going to try to get in the habit of drawing on a daily basis in Dallas, so hopefully it’ll carry over through the jet lag and overwhelming feeling of being alone very far from home. 

I pack light, I’m street savvy to the point of paranoia (getting robbed in broad daylight at 11am in a public place really changes your mind about what and where you think is safe), and I’m a smart fucking kid. I travel really well, I never panic when things go wrong, and if I start reading Game of Thrones (or some other super-addicting, engrossing book series) right before I go, the plane ride should be a breeze. 

Fuck the roaring voice inside me who says I can’t do this because I’m a girl, which means I’m walking around with a target on my back. Fuck my rich friends who have been traveling their whole lives on mommy and daddy’s dollar. Fuck the schools who have rejected me twice for PhD programs that I should be halfway through by now. Fuck money, maybe I should apply for a Fulbright. Fuck the next year when I’ll have to continue my frugal lifestyle in order to afford this trip. Fuck the long list of excuses running through my head. Fuck the self-doubt that constantly clouds my thoughts of the future. 

Fuck fear. This is my life we’re talking about, and what’s life without a little risk?

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