On the Road (Again)

On the Road (Again)

I've let my hair and the windows down, again, and hit the road to nowhere specific.

I had to.

I spent the last 2.5 years back home in Oklahoma City tryin' my damndest to "make a home" for myself there.  Before that, I'd been gone from Oklahoma (my home state) for nearly two decades, following my career to cities and jobs on all three North American Coasts: Houston, TX (The 3rd Coast), Miami Beach, FL (The East Coast) and Venice Beach / Laguna Beach, CA (The West Coast).

Going from coastal living back to the red dirt in the late summer of 2020 wasn't so much a culture shock for me as it was for others.  I found as much as I wanted to find my home and my "community" -  my ideas and my skillset weren't so easily translated back home.  I'd apply for job after job, and most of the time wouldn't even get a call back.  And, if by some miracle I did land an interview, I didn't get any offers.

So, I pivoted and tried starting my own business to varying degrees of success.  Being a first time entrepreneur, I learned a lot and met some really cool folks, but ultimately, didn't have the capital or investors needed to make it past that crucial first year.  I spent all the money I personally had funding the endeavor - so when it shuttered, I felt at a loss. I was faced with a long, cold, quiet fall and winter of 2022 and the question of - "What now?"  

Luckily, that forced me into this silence, where my art finally had enough room to breathe and speak to me from the dusty corners of my office where I'd abandoned it:  "I'm still here - and I've been waiting, patiently."  

Many of ya'll know, "The Outlaw Oracle" has been a little flicker in my brain for nearly a decade.  Back when it first came to me in 2014, I was living and working in Santa Monica, CA and crittering off to my guest room studio on the weekends after a 70 hour work week, to try and eek out some sort of creative self-expression.  It was a brief window of time each week when I would give a little to my own inner artistic urges and needs. 

I was unhappy as hell back then, but you'd never know it.  From the outside, I looked very successful, was working on incredible projects with really cool people and was being compensated well for it.  But, I felt so incredibly alone (even in the middle of all those people in LA), unfulfilled and was pining for something that felt more meaningful in my life.  So, way back in 2014, I started making time for creating art, privately, whenever I could. 

I wouldn't dare call myself an "artist" back then (after all, I wasn't formerly trained).  And, most of the time, I wouldn't even show even my friends what I was working on.  But, I started making time for art - and I found that it filled me up, amidst all the emptiness that came from life in the fast lane.

So, when the Pandemic changed everything for everyone, I chose to reprioritize my whole life.  Shift out of life in the fast lane, move back home to Oklahoma and be closer to family + hopefully, find a way to have more true meaning and joy in my life. 

Determined to "make it work" in Oklahoma, I spent the first several months applying for jobs and networking like crazy - translating my #hustle and #grind corporate marketing mentality into these personal business pursuits - and I didn't make much time for my art.  I set up a space for art to happen, but I didn't prioritize it.  So, at the end of 2020 and into 2021, maybe for 2 hours a week, I'd quietly journal or draw - but, I didn't spend the weekends feverishly drawing, painting, writing, singing, the way I had in California.  After all, that seemed frivolous, when I was busy trying to build a business and figure out how to support myself back home.  I didn't have a salary coming in.  I was living off savings and cashing in my 401K entirely to try and get myself established back home.  I figured,  I'd "get to it" after I had "established myself" with some sort of regular income and stability.

That stability didn't come. But, thankfully, when I felt I had exhausted all options, trying to stay in OK and "make it work" somehow - I decided to revisit my artwork - and I finally give it the attention it deserved. 

Last Fall (2022), I decided to take my art as seriously as I took any other client or brand I'd worked on for 20 years.  If I could come up with marketing campaigns for someone else's products, I could damn sure do the same thing for myself.  And, so, I gave myself a few months to focus and embarked on finishing what I'd started with "The Outlaw Oracle". 

When I was just weeks away from finishing the published deck, I was notified that inflation had caused shipping costs to rise.  Being entirely out of cash, personally, I could have let that deter me.  But, instead, I listened to my publisher friend Yana Saint Levie, and launched a Kickstarter to finally get the oracle deck published and shipped.  To my surprise, the funds were raised in less than 12 hours.  It seemed, at every turn, a way was made to bring this piece of my heart into the world.  And that momentum continues. 

In Late-January of 2023 when I received my first copies of The Outlaw Oracle and began shuffling through the cards, I knew I'd found my life's work.  Over 20 years of corporate marketing and event production, and I doubt if anyone would care or remember much of any of it - but, this: The Outlaw Oracle - this felt meaningful. 

I've never had the opportunity to be a mother or to bring a child into the world, but this felt very much like a birth - it felt like my baby.  Something I created and offered to the world from my heart.  It felt like something I could be proud of.  And, incredibly, it began to magnetize me to other likeminded souls.

I've been invited to showcase my art at Festivals and Art Shows, with Pop-Ups and Collaborations.  And, I'd be crazy to pass any of it up.     

These past four months have felt like an opening to a totally different way of life: one in which I can call myself an "artist" without shame and actually have something to show for it: a physical, tangible product.  A world in which doing what I love supports me and connects me to the kinds of folks who value what I bring to the table. 

If you have a copy of the deck, you know from the guidebook that the photos were taken on my road trips from Texas to Florida and Oklahoma to California.  You will have already read about "Soul Tracking" and the ways I feel that spirit speaks to me by giving me clues and puzzle pieces to snap together, day-to-day.

And, so, it was only natural - that when I felt like I'd exhausted all my ideas, all my resources and all my best intentions trying to "stay put" in Oklahoma City these past 2.5 years - and was met with such enthusiasm and opportunity out on the road with The Outlaw Oracle - that I had to heed the call.

I decided to pack it on up and hit the road once more.  This time, with no destination and no end game.  Just a constellation of stops on the map, with a precious group of rare and beautiful souls who are welcoming me into their lives, encouraging me to keep creating, and riding with me along the way. 

All I have with me are one box of decks, two bags, countless ideas and an openness and excitement for the unknown.  

I've been on the road for over 3 weeks now and as difficult as it was to pack it all up and say goodbye to my "home" - once I left, I felt the tension in my shoulders melt.  The weight of the expectations I'd put on myself in Oklahoma dissipated. The familiarity of freedom returned.  I can breathe again out here.  I trust myself to find my way.

I will always call Oklahoma home and I will always return to my roots there, but I had to give myself permission to fly once more.  I had to give myself permission to just go out on the road and be.  No expectations. No preconceptions.  Just me - a hollow bone - having an intimate discussion with Spirit, channeling what I see/hear of God out here in the world, and sharing the language of The Outlaw Oracle with kindred spirits, like you.

Here, in this private corner of the internet, this select group of rebel spirits and wild hearted souls actually give a shit about what I have to say - and join in with lively and thought-provoking conversations. 

It is you, my friends, who add emotion and meaning to this untethered life of mine.  This is our space - these are our conversations - and I'm grateful for what we share, here.  

What I don't know:

Where I'm headed exactly, how long I'll be there, or if I'll ever "find my home" or "make it work" somewhere.  Maybe "making it work" is something more mundane and less monumental that I'd been looking for, anyway.  Lately, "making it work" it feels like when I wake up and see the morning sun, or pull a few cards for myself and they pluck a few strings in my heart, or I find myself swimming in a sky full of stars at the end of a long, but soul-filling day.  It is then, I feel more than, just "I'm making it work" - I feel like, "I've made it."  And, that's enough, for now.  

What I do know (for sure): 

Our hearts are our homes (and we carry those with us).  True Love is unconditional and eternal - and travels longer distances than we could ever imagine.  It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks of our choices or our journeys - as long as we are at peace with them.  It's none of our business what other folks have to say about us.  Their opinions of us and our choices are more of a reflection of their own inner world, than anything - and if we were to hear about it and give it any stock, it might just confuse us and would for damn sure be a waste of time. 

As long as we stay connected to our Creator - following the signs and asking for guidance along the way (and make moves from that knowing) - we're gonna be okay. 

And, so: with that, I'm off to the wild blue yonder - knowing I am sourced, fueled and funded by an infinite supply from the Creator (and so are you).  

Follow along with me on this journey to nowhere, here - or on Facebook + Instagram.  (And, please share with me pieces of your own journeys, as well!)

Featured Image by Melissa Payne Photography at Mary Beth Babcock's Legendary Buck Atom's Cosmic Curios on Route 66 in Tulsa, OK. 

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