She did a lot of crazy things that summer that no one would have expected of her. The younger version of her indecisive self wouldn’t have expected her to do these things either, but they are things that define her now.
First, she chopped off fifteen and a half inches of her long, luscious hair and donated it to be made into a wig. She didn’t even ask which organization it was going to when she handed it to the hairdresser. Then she hopped on a plane to Yucatan, Mexico with a group of twelve other college students whom she didn’t know and stayed there in a rural Mayan town for six weeks. While she was there, she swam with catfish on three different occasions. She walked barefoot on the ridged ground of a cave to release her negative energy to the Underworld. She touched the holy water that, according to a legend, would cause her to get married to the love of her life that she hadn’t met yet. Then she ran through the salty Mexican rain on the dirt roads of the small town. She ate banana horchata milkshakes that contained large chunks of “street ice”, but it never made her sick. When she was in the big city, she didn’t hesitate to ask the professional musicians playing outside a fancy restaurant if she could sing with them—and so she did. She wrote a song in Spanish for the first time. She took a taxi to a different town and visited a shaman. She interviewed 10 people in one day, all in Spanish—a language that suddenly struck her as natural only on that very day. She moonbathed under a full moon on the roof of a hotel restaurant and played “Hallelujah” on the guitar. She fed mossy turtles red flower petals. She thought for a second that since she was an old soul, she might have been a reincarnated turtle.
When she returned to Wyoming, she went on a walk and picked various wildflowers from the hill and made a bouquet. She tied a silk scarf bow around the vase. She went to yoga in the park, where she came to the realization that she was a seed blossoming into the red wildflower she had picked earlier that day. She walked out to the lake and sat on the dock, becoming part of the moving water as she watched its gentle waves. Then she ran in the rain again. She bought organic produce for smoothies and drank her way through a detox. She ate vegan chicken with some mid-twenties hipsters. She organized a day of togetherness, mindfulness, and peacefulness for meditation groups of three different cities. She created a sociopolitical party called the Green Tea Party to bring environmental awareness to her own community. She decided to change her musical style completely and so she made up bluesy covers of old rock n roll songs. Something had definitely changed, she thought, since emerging from the cave. Maybe she really had conquered negativity and was in a new dimension, like the ancient Mayans believed.
But the craziest thing she did that summer, or so they say, was decided not to return to the University of Wyoming and study Anthropology and Creative Writing for the next three to five years of her life. They said it was a crazy mistake that she would regret. However, she was sure that she was on the right path—albeit a crazy and free-spirited path (she had always wanted to be a free spirit, though.) Her favorite quote, after all, had always been: “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” She would have never expected her life to fall so true to this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, but it did– and only because she believed the bold signs of the Universe to stand out more than flashing speed limit signs on the highway. She wasn’t sure exactly where this path was leading her, of course, but she felt as if her everyday magical occurrences were synchronically taking her somewhere. She felt, contrary to her horrible leadership abilities in the past, that she’d obtained a sense of direction.
As she walks along the path to this day, she picks up medicinal leaves on the way and inspects their veins. She finally gave up saying “I don’t know” to people when they would ask her what she wanted to do with her life and instead responded with either “I want to be a musician, a writer, a yoga instructor, and an herbalist”, “I want to save planet Earth”, or “You mean, what do I want OUT of life?” For once in her life, she had finally made a decision of her own. She decided that she wanted to be herself.
~Camille M. Garcia