Pale Rider came on the t.v. today. I love Clint Eastwood westerns. I’ve debated the notion of Mississippi over and over again in my mind. It is no easy problem. It is this reason why I attempt to write honestly in my journals, and this electronic version is smaller than my paper versions lining my bookshelf. I’ve recognized many opposing reasons for emotions and thoughts through the past. I write them as they come hoping to get things out of my system, investigate themes, explore new perspectives. My current dilemna is no less complex of a puzzle.
On the one hand, I loathe returning to Mississippi under the present condition because it reeks of failure, and failure is something that burns in my gut with a hot fire. For this reason I am inclined to stick it out here in Oregon. Also, I’ve been looking for decent work ever since I got to Oregon and this is my third time around in less than three years in going very late on my bills, pounding the streets in search for a job, and more. Two steps forward, five back and I am no closer to getting into college at UO than when I first got here other than the fact that I can now claim residency. Is part of this curiosity in going to Mississippi a retreat? Is it not a retreat at all, but a return to my family but yet I percieve it as a retreat and hence I object to doing so? Another aspect is that I nolonger fit in the culture of the South and I love the Pacific Northwest. There are several wilderness areas nearby, beautiful mountains, lush forests. In Mississippi there are I believe only one national forest, split into two parts on either side of Oxford, Mississippi. Eugene is a community like I’ve been searching for with everything I desire. I doubt Oxford can compare to Eugene in the natural beauty aspect, the liberal bent, the diversity of politics, the activism, the community, the deep seated fights on land use rules, the beautiful Silva Hall at the Hult Center, and all the splendid coffee shops and booksellers and all the intellectual community that it supports. Memphis is close to Oxford and if my memory serves correctly, Germantown is on the eastern side of Memphis and is a pretty groovy little suburb. The UO is a larger university than Ole Miss and from what I can percieve the emphasis on psychology at UO is more cross disciplined than Ole Miss with a heavier science emphasis (it is a BS at UO, a BA at Ole Miss). I was happy yesterday on Thanksgiving, and missing a Christmas or Thanksgiving or birthday with my family is old hat. I’ve not been with them for more than a few since the Marines in 89. As I told a friend today, it isn’t the family dinners and unwrapping presents under a tree that I miss. These are big things and are by themselves meaningless to me. It is the little things that I am missing out on, have missed out a lot on already. My sister is still little more than the girl that was my sister in high school. That was nearly 14 years ago. The little things like fishing early in the morning with my dad, helping him split the wood at the woodpile and bringing in stacks of it for the fire. Coming over to my nephews and helping him with biology or a book report. Taking him to a soccer game and cheering him from the stands. Going to McDonalds with him and eating a burger and talking about a cute girl in his class he has a crush on.
I’ve missed these things so far. Thanksgiving of 1997 seems like a long time ago. Okay, so I get a job, go to school at UO and take an airplane trip to go see them. That would be good, but it wouldn’t be great. I’d still be missing out on the little things. The sunset today was beautiful. My heart broke at the thought of leaving this place. But I’ve not made the greatest progress. I was 23 when I left the Marines… and I turn 32 in January. Great progress to be sure. At this rate, I’ll see my sister, nephews and dad regularly when he is in a nursing home and she is a grandmother.
I am no closer to a resolution than I was last night. The mixture of love, pride, roots, stubborness, despair,