Uproot

Flourish Vol. 38

Listen, I didn’t intend to go this long between newsletters, but life has a way of getting in the way. Between a nearly 1,000-mile move, covering back-to-back political conventions, and some unforeseen circumstances with my family, coming home hasn’t been the immediate reprieve from stress I was hoping for. But it has been wonderful, in a lot of quiet and beautiful ways, and so this newsletter will mostly be a ramble about what these past few weeks have looked like for me, experiencing life again in the place where I grew up.

Is it just me, or is August vanishing like ice cream left to melt in the sun? I love autumn, but I’m acutely aware that each passing day is bringing us closer to a fall and winter that feel ominous in an unfamiliar way. Since leaving California, I’m having to remind not to take the sun for granted, as it sets earlier and earlier each night. The last time I saw rain in California — my beloved state now vanquished with fire — was in the early days of the pandemic, but in the past week we’ve had a few storms here, turning the sky a steel gray and the pavement black, and already I’ve noticed the trees turning colors, from verdant greens to soft coppers and golds.

I’ve always loved Oregon summers, and in the warm air there’s a familiarity that envelopes me like a security blanket and sets me so quickly at ease, overwhelmed by a sense of peace in the stillness. The breeze that sounds like the ocean through the towering trees, the fiery sunsets like watercolors streaking into the night, the sprawling golden fields and diamond-studded nights skies in which the dippers are always visible; all things I took for granted as a kid, and devoured hungrily whenever I could steal away to them as an adult. Though there is little of the glamor omnipresent in my Los Angeles life, there is room to breathe and space to clear my head. There is the chance to get reacquainted with myself, to lean into the person I’ve always wanted to be.

Here, there are endless golden hours, old haunts, familiar faces, and of course, a flock of adorable creatures to keep me company. I feel less like I’ve uprooted and more like I’ve returned to my roots, that life has come full circle in a way I couldn’t have anticipated but probably was always fated to experience.

I’m not sure the finality of leaving LA has hit me quite yet, but when it does I’ll be happy to have the photos I took before leaving my apartment, which had become such a special part of my life in that city and my oasis from the world so many years (and, of course, fostered my transition into a plant lady.)

But I firmly believe that not all endings are sad ones; closing that door for the last time I knew in my bones that then was the right time to leave, I felt at peace with the life I’d lived there, and ready to embrace whatever comes next.

As we took these pictures, my friend told me she felt like she was taking my author photo, and you know what: that is the exact energy I’m trying to manifest the hell out of right now! Good things are coming.


Recommendations:

The irony that I’ve finally given into watching Selling Sunset after leaving LA is not lost on me, but it’s the perfect distraction from real life, and offers just the right amount of drama without feeling totally contrived. First off, team Chrishell all the way: she’s smart, sweet, and stands her ground — a woman after my own heart! But I will say, the way in which Christine is absolutely, unapologetically herself (yes, to a fault) is lowkey inspirational, too. I contain multitudes!

I may have teared up at Joe Biden’s closing speech at the DNC last night, and the convention’s virtual roll call was a god damn delight. And of course, Michelle Obama and Maggie Rogers and Jennifer Hudson were among the many highlights of the whole thing.

I am currently in mail-forwarding purgatory and terrified that Trump’s war on the USPS will only make things worse — and actually affect people who rely on the mail for medications and things they need to, ya know, live!! // As colleges move classes online, families rebel against the cost // Why the cost of camping gear can be a barrier to entry for diversity in the outdoors // On the nightmare that is dropshipping (related: I recently stumbled upon a show about people who buy mystery boxes of goods that get returned to Amazon in order to resell the items and it’s an entire sub-industry I was completely unaware of.) //

I am sending so many thoughts to California right now:

And a portrait of me, most days since March:

My music tastes have been sort of all over the board lately, but these are two songs that have made me particularly happy.

I was feeling a little down in the dumps this week and really struggling to write, but desperately willing myself to stay positive. Then, out of the blue, I got this message from a friend I hadn’t spoken to in a while, and it meant so much to me to hear, to realize that my perception of myself is not always the reality, and reminded me that I am so fortunate to have so many caring and compassionate people in my orbit in this life.

(For the record, they are getting along! A small miracle.)

Right now, I feel like I’m existing, absolutely reverberating, on the cusp of something, some precipice, whatever it may be. And I’m choosing to have faith in the future, though I have no idea what the rest of my life — or for that matter tomorrow, or the next hour — holds. And for the first time, I’m learning to be okay with it. Because from uncertainty there comes the opportunity — the necessity — to make choices, and I am so ready to make the decisions that will transform my reality into something my past self couldn’t have even imagined. It’s that hope that sustains me, and I hope you believe in the good things waiting just around the corner, too.

-Olivia