The following is an unedited, stream-of-consciousness personal journal used to experiment with different subjects outside of assignments and to practice free-writing. It shouldn't (at all) be viewed as a portfolio of polished work.

To see examples of my professional writing, please visit ginabegin.contently.com. For photography, please visit eyeem.com/u/ginabegin or my Instagram channel @ginabegin.

My Place Here

Finding your sense of place after moving can be a confusing process. How do you deal? By @ginabegin


I don't know this place.

Its hills, its further mountains, its farthest glaciers. I don't know them. I want to.

I'm in an in-between place, a place where I'm not sure if I'm a permanent part. I question if I mean anything to anyone here, or if I'm just a tiny fragment in passing, an unclear memory someone will recall a few years from now while they struggle with my name.

"You remember — that girl! She came from Utah, or Florida, or somewhere—"

It doesn't matter too much at times. I was alone before I came here. Then again, it matters because I want it to matter. I want to care about a place. I want to be tied to it, to see people on the street and hug them. I want to be connected to the land of a place. I want to understand it, to have a give and take relationship with it, to be challenged and comforted by it.

I want to go away but be ready at the end to return to a place.

But then moments of memory stab into perspective and I remember: I remember waking up to my breath frozen on the car windshield, stuffing my clothes in my warm sleeping bag, then trying to dress while still wrapped inside. I remember filling gallons of empty water containers, each simultaneously providing what I used to wash and to drink, and feeling the water run over my scalp and drip off the ends of my hair while I scrubbed it clean, trying to keep the drips from falling onto my toes. I remember flicking my headlamp on and reading, alone, in a black area of a black somewhere, hoping it was safe. And I remember sometimes turning on my computer to watch a downloaded show just so I could hear people's voices before falling asleep.

The wildness is gone; there are responsibilities now. During the wild time, I told myself I'd never live like this again — paying rent, paying bills, paying another for my life.

And now I do. There's comfort in it, and there's a painful longing in it, too. When I remember the wildness, I want to be back in my car and be free.

I stay in this place because there are reasons more important than running. Besides, I already did enough of that. I know what nearly three years of it was like: lonely.

But is that loneliness any different than being in a place I don't know and that doesn't know me? Is it a worse loneliness than being in a place with people who could forget my name as easily as an item added as an afterthought to a grocery list?

I don't know. I don't allow myself to think of it much. I'm trying to take hold of this place and understand it. I hope in the process to find my place — where I belong — and create memories that keep me grounded. I want to look back and remember the people of this place, the way they hugged, and how the land comforted me.

6 comments:

  1. Your writing is powerful; you can turn on a person's emotions - whether to shoot all responsibilities to the wind and jump into the car to pursue the road to a mountain or to feel the desolation of a road traveled alone. You have such talent that has been uncaptured, which is freeing to a reader, yet captivates the imagination. Wish you'd write a book!

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    1. Thank you! I did write a book — it's just that I only put it up for a nonprofit organization to share with attendees at their conference since I wasn't able to come and talk. It's not publicly available, but one day I'll wrap up the full version — when there's time! :)

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  2. paying rent, paying bills, paying another for my life.... to familiar of a taste for my mouth, i should know am living it right now the worst part is i know to many people that are living the same way, with that same taste .. but i do not dare to escape alone .. i hero you for doing it .. and learn from it . thank you

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    1. Thank you, Roger. You can do it if you want; even if it's for a short time. It's such a powerful experience!

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  3. Great looking blog Gina - keep in touch with us on Twitter. Plus we always love to share photography. (New Instagram account: BritishColumbiaMagazine.) Use #ILoveBC. Cheers for now. Jenn @ BC Magazine.

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop over on my blog, Jenn! I'm happy to have found you all and glad we were able to chat a bit on Twitter. I'll certainly be keeping in touch. :)

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