Two Tents

The move is imminent. I’ve pretty much got some of the major stuff covered, like a job, a place to live, and a pre-move visit to my parents.

One thing I don’t have figured out is how to get there. I was thinking about a full-service move, but it’s crazy to think about how a giant truck is going to come and move my piddly pile of shit. The timing is hard to nail down, too. Coordinating when they will arrive, when I will arrive, and how a giant truck will negotiate downtown Portland traffic and parking is just a logistical tangle.

I thought about a Pod or other storage container, but there seem to be problems at both ends with the logistics of those things too, like receiving them on time, parking them, and getting them cleared out in a timely manner. My current apartments won’t allow them to be on site for more than 48 hours. I mean, what’s the point of getting a storage unit if you can’t store it anywhere?

I don’t have help. So what I’m thinking now is I will rent a U-haul truck, fill it up with my crap, drive it all out there, fly back, pick up the dog and cat and any remaining debris, and clear out of Dodge permanently. This will require some planning, as I will be living in two places for the span of a week or two, and will have to drive a total of 3,000 miles in the same window. Two tents. Too tense.

But we got this, right?


My sanity is being kept afloat on a knife’s edge by a couple of key things: exercise and quiet time. I’m hitting the gym with my ex-pro BMX racer trainer three times a week right now, and am currently paying the price by being unable to turn my head to the left.

I’ve run three times this week for short distances, and every time I feel the fog dissipate. My head clears, my shoulders straighten and my chin lifts. I’ve got this.

When I don’t run or bike or write, I don’t got this.

There is a surprising serenity that blooms in my heart in the evenings when I’ve exercised (exorcised) that day. I sit on the floor in my carpeted space, in the quiet, and play with my cat while the dog snores away on the couch at ear level. I think about things that have to do with the move, but I don’t worry about them. I mentally make lists of things I should do the next day, but I know these things will happen and I’m not afraid.

Exercise is the key to finding self and grounding self. What I’ve found myself thinking about most recently on runs and at the gym is the (healthy) creation and release of tension. I think this is the fundamental coping mechanism that most people on the planet need to combat feelings of sadness and to work through thorny problems. The more we create and release tension on our own, under our own power and by our own mandate, the more we are able to do so under circumstances beyond our control.

Do it any way you can. Walk a block. Walk a half a block. Lift a brick, lift a cat, lift a dog, lift a loved one. Straddle a bike. Bike to the corner. Bike over a speed bump. Do it repeatedly for laughs. Run pell mell from this tree to the next. Does it make you giggly? Do it again, from the next stop sign to the kids skateboarding on the sidewalk. Do it with a friend. Do it alone and revel in the magnificence of your own body. Every thing you do to actively care for your body is a creation of tension, and a release. Do it again. Do it over and over.

The bad kind of tension is the kind you can’t release, at least not immediately. It’s the kind of tension that follows you home and niggles in your brain relentlessly. It’s the kind of tension that results from work responsibilities, from relationship problems you can’t fix, from circumstances outside of your control. A few of my current ones are my split from M, my move to a new city in about three weeks, the worries generated by my aging and fearful parents.

You NEED the exercise kind of release to cope with the rest of it. Maybe it’s not exercise for you, something more gentle would work, too. Give someone a hug (tension…release). Maybe it’s playing with your cat or doing something that makes your dog happy, like throwing the ball or playing tug-o-war. Maybe it’s creating art. Maybe it’s working out a math problem or writing a blog post. Maybe it’s mastering something new and difficult, like a musical piece. Whatever it is, do it. Make yourself happy. Use your strength, your brainpower, your absolute godlike qualities as a human being to do the things that create and release the tension.

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