"To be a human being is to be in a state of tension between your appetites and your dreams, and the social realities around you and your obligations to your fellow man."
I wasn't yet three years old when my family arrived in New Albany. Although I wasn't born there, it and the Louisville area are the only home I've ever known.
As a teenager, I couldn't wait to leave the area. I applied and was accepted to Chicago's DePaul University. At the last minute, however, I changed my mind. I remember that my mother was pretty upset, and she issued an understandable challenge given our family's financial situation. If I could persuade Bellarmine University to (re)award the scholarships that I had already declined, she would let me alter my plan. To both our amazement, I was successful.
Bellarmine was a good fit for me, and in retrospect, I think DePaul and Chicago would not have been. A couple of years after graduation, I continued my education at the University of Louisville, and my Master of Public Administration degree led me to work primarily in the human services sector. By the time those eight years had passed between high school and graduate school commencement, I not only had bought two houses in my New Albany hometown, I had a goal to work to actively help those who lived in the area. I was invested.
I can't believe that fifteen years have passed since then. My career has led me to meet some truly amazing individuals who comprise the bulk of the people in my life I refer to as friends. In fact, a humbling number of them have bought one or more pieces of my artwork and helped support my wandering over the past year and/or cheered me on instead of telling me I had lost my mind.
Although I have found great fulfillment in my life and career, I have also always felt that I missed out on something by never living anywhere else. Maybe it was the number "40" entering my life, or maybe it was just finally time, but I felt that my wandering over the past year was something I had to do. I didn't want to be someone who said they were going to do something "someday," but discovered that someday never came.
Once I set my mind to making the events of the past year happen, my determination drove me past hurdles and doubts. Many times, we spend more time thinking about why we can't do something than how to change that reality. I'm admittedly a little proud that I found the courage to set those uncertainties aside, stare the obstacles down, and make changes.
The places I have temporarily called "home" over the past year have provided me with many valuable experiences and inspirations. Staying in a place for a couple of weeks or even a month definitely provides a different perspective than a few days on vacation, but it's still a far cry from truly settling in and making a life there.
Now is the time to take that next step.
After leaving Saint-Martin, Aaron and I flew to Tucson. We had been to the area previously and enjoyed it. The prospect of living in a place with some of the mildest winters possible, beaucoup Mexican fare, a visually inspiring desert landscape, and a population around the size of our Louisville hometown lured us to consider it as a more long-term option. Aaron scored a job more quickly than we expected, and we hurriedly flew home and have spent the past several days driving our few remaining belongings from my mother's house in Johnson County, Indiana to the Arizona city also known as the Old Pueblo.
I am tremendously fortunate to be in a position to casually look for local employment while I continue my contract work and creative pursuits. It will be interesting to see how we adjust to living in this city, but so far, people have been quite friendly and welcoming. So for now, and maybe even for good, you can refer to me as "Teressa the Tucsonan."
If I know you and you're reading this, chances are, I miss you. I hope to see you on my future visits back to Derby City when I should have more time for socializing, and invite you to look me up if you ever find yourself in this corner of the Sonoran Desert.
Living in an apartment instead of out of a backpack or vehicle, I'm looking forward to having the space and focus to create more and larger works of art. I have a lot of inspiration from this past year, and I can't wait to keep working through it all. Stay tuned as I continue to document my adventures as a new resident of this community, and stay in touch as I continue to keep you all in my heart.