Most of you have heard, deducted from social media posts or have asked me directly about Louisville. Well here is the scoop from me to you with all the words I can gather about this experience.
I think my true lust for “escaping” Evansville started about 2 years ago on my road trip to LA for a dear friend’s wedding. I took the whole month of June off in 2016 which now seems very ironic as I find myself ending this journey in the same month this year. I traveled to LA with a friend I mostly knew from social media and had met in person twice. She was headed out West for an internship and casually posted that she’d love someone to ride with her. I love "almost" strangers & I was interested in seeing some more of the world so it was a no- brainer for me.
We stopped in Lincoln, Nebraska I met a white guy at a sports bar that night, go figure, that I talked to for about 2 months after that happened to know me from his cousin that worked at a news station IN EVANSVILLE. That was such a small world moment, but also felt like such an accomplishment in my world to somehow be known outside of the only bubble that I had lived in my whole life.
We stopped in Corrales, New Mexico. This was pre- passport life for me. I was so enthralled being so close to leaving the country. Our Airbnb was the most beautiful stucco house on acres of land with cactus with occasional coyate sightings. Our hosts were so woo woo it made my heart burst. All natural EVERYTHING.
So this is all before I made it to the actual destination in Redondo Beach area. It was chaotic, it was beautiful, it made me believe in love again. Even through the heartbreak I was having during a a huge blow out during my #steadmanchronicles. I stayed a few days after the wedding and met up with a former Evansvillian to party. WEHO, also known as West Hollywood, blew my mind. People did what they wanted, without hurting anyone else. They didn’t really care what your job was, they didn’t really feel the need to insert their opinions on you AND they didn’t ask what high school you went to. Strangers were so nice! One woman that I met in a post office took me to all the surrounding beaches the next day, just because.
This was my first taste of what felt like FREEDOM to me.
Following this I flew out to see my gay husband in Seattle. I had met Carlarans doing “city stuff” in Evansville. At the then Babel (now High Score Saloon). I had casually said hi, as it’s always nice to see another person of color out in Evansville. He pretty much stuffed a piece of sushi from his plate in my mouth all while saying “Try this”. It was love at first bite.
It had been about a year since he’d left for greater opportunities out West, so we had so much to catch up on. We jumped in all the trouble like he never left. Bar to bar, restaurant to restaurant no stone left unturned. I realized in watching my friend around town that he was most certainly GAY. Sounds weird to say, but back home he was out and we all knew. It’s just this new environment gave him the liberty to express that in any way he felt versus having to “tone it down” in Indiana. This was one of the times I realized that, I too, may be stiffled.
When I flew back in to Louisville, I could not bear the thought of going home. I cried, I extended my stay in Louisville just to have a taste of anything more city related. I just did not want to go back. I remember how hot my tears felt on my face as the wind of reality smacked me in the face on the ride home in a little red convertible.
I got home. I lived life again. Everything was business as usual.
For those who don’t know, I had a magazine at the time in addition to my spa business. I did so much to make the most of Evansville, so if I ever left I could say without out a doubt “It’s you not me”.
2017 hit and Laurel Whole Plant Organics was having its first Holistic Retreat for it’s estheticians and I was off to California again. This time to a much milder part, Sausalito. My breath was taken on multiple occasions from all the gorgeous views. This trip wasn’t any less mesmerizing. I met beautiful holistic practitioners. I partied with some random people from Holland. I loved soaking up air that was so clearly drenched in sea water. Again, it felt like all judgment had left me and the people around me.
I flew back in to Louisville this time with different eyes. Could this be my big city?
With a few trips, a love affair and hosting a skin care class at one of the city’s cutest shops...I was determined this would be the place I would start all over again. It had new places opening up every time I turned around, it was central to everything AND maybe I could find someone to date without kids.
I couldn’t just leave my business so I logically decided for 3 months I would try to transition. Low and behold, word of mouth helped me find a place to stay for that duration happening right when my lease in Evansville was up. Even better the owner of the new place also owned a newly opened downtown Louisville bar.
I hit the ground running making contacts, finding a networking queen which I mostly chalk up to good karma. I filled my trips with seeing all the things, meeting all the people. I found a job that I love and really felt a part of a team, that for once I didn’t have to create or dictate.
Not long after the first month, I began to run into people that I had met or talked to someone who knew someone and started to realize there was a huge lack of diversity.
Mind you, these were major reasons I was looking to relocate.
Every week I would drive to Louisville and back again to Evansville to make sure I was working this job and servicing clients. The first few weeks I had all the fun. As I approached closer to the 3rd month I was completely depleted. I remember getting off the road, heading straight into my Beauty Room for a client and as they got comfortable I sat on the bench and cried. I had absolutely nothing to give them. This was when I knew I needed to make a choice. I couldn’t though and kept going.
Here I am now 20 days after my 3 month timeline is up. I’ve decided that more than anything I crave stability. I want adventure, but not without roots. I love the newness of cities, meeting new people really absorbing the culture and city's offerings. I will never stop craving that. What Louisville did help me realize is that I can have that...from Evansville.
I still have some loose ends to tie up and will be continuing to make quite a few trips. I am looking to make even deeper roots in Evansville, IN and restore my sense of peace within the city. I don’t quite know what this means yet. Louisville has been an extraordinary experience for me. The city, the people that I’ve met and the things that I learned are invaluable. They just ended up not being what I truly needed to continue to up root my story completely.
Although on a certain level I feel like I’ve failed to launch...I have learned so much about myself, my needs, my wants, my non negotiables and that roots and wings can co exist. There is no balance in it though only ebb and flow.