8. Mr. Initiation / by Leslie Seaton


I started writing this at the beginning of the year, but I set it aside for a while…because that is what I do with creative work. Although, if I am being more charitable towards myself, I could also say for the past six weeks, I’ve been distracted with an unexpected move that wound up taking me from Seattle to Port Townsend, a smaller town about two hours away.

This weekend, I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time and she asked, “So, like, who are you going to be in Port Townsend?”

I knew what she meant. I have, in many ways, an incredible amount of freedom in my weird life, and now I’m starting completely over, know no one. It’s a sort of a blank slate to do/be whatever I want.

Prior to the last year, the bad year, though, I most likely would have come to a place like this and just replicated all those accessible happinesses.  I probably will still, to some extent. It’s spring and there are new-to-me wildflowers trying to flirt their way into tiny bouquets.

But I feel some part of myself holding back from rushing to fill up that blank slate and my calendar with my usual shenanigans because what about that bigger vision? What about those other things I’ve wanted but not actually made myself truly work toward getting because of self-doubt, fear of making a wrong move, a dumb move? What about switching my loyalties? What about not turning my new empty house against myself?

The song in the previous post, "Deadline," had been my soundtrack during the initial writing of this, with that one line so often circling around my head. Then, nearly coinciding with the day I made the decision to move, Young Father’s new album came out.

I am not normally an album person; my ADD and I would prefer you set it on shuffle, thanks. But I crawled into this record and it became the soundtrack to my drives back and forth between the city and my new town. All its messy, jangly, masculine energy revived the thoughts started by the men I learned about on my winter road trip, and a new line from the song "Rain or Shine" came in to replace the one from "Deadline:"

I could do more/I could care less.

Normally, the construction of “I could care less” as it’s used in current language to communicate “I could NOT care less” drives me nuts. But in this case, for how I want to interpret this lyric, it’s being used correctly.

I’m in a new place and I’m entering a new decade this year. The novelty of this move has – so far – drowned out the menacing rumbling of the last, bad year. One more hole in the net and I slipped through.

I suspect, though, after last year, that small domestic pleasures will eventually run their course here, too. It's not to say that chasing after something more is some guarantee I will avoid the net of badness in the future. That's just another form of zealotry and I'm hoping to not make that same mistake again.

But I feel like it is a guaranteed losing bet to not ask more from myself, and instead always listen so intently to some internal voice of fear and caution. 

There are bigger happinesses to pursue, and I’m going to have to ignore the part of me that doesn’t want to hurtle myself off a mountain (metaphorically; I don't plan to care THAT much less) to get them. That Young Fathers’ line, with its neat and tidy to-do list consisting of two clear actions, seems like a good place to start.