Head Space // Patagonia
Warm shades of pink cupped the dark blue underbelly of early morning clouds in the Chilean Pategonia. It was our first morning waking form yellow tents pitched in the brush outside the warm, infinitely more comfortable refugio where we dined. Early morning fog sheathed the mountains hiding their colors and contrasts by lack of light; a bulk black curved figure in the space where rolling hills belonged. As the pink grew a deeper shade of neon, and the glacier blue waters of the lake nearby began to proudly show its colors, the sky lit on fire. Orange rays painted the Paine Grande as we loaded up our backpacks with pre-made sandwiches and Milky Ways (the ultimate fuel). Hiking boots I tried on for the first time the morning I left for my trip were tied tight, and we were layered three times over, ready for any type of Patagonian weather. The first big day of hiking promised 15+ miles and over 8 hours of up and around trekking, which scared me not for the length of time or the terrain, but the time spent in my own head. My tiny legs deceivingly sped faster than most; the New Yorker ingrained in my spirit.
The brain is bizarre, in more ways than one. It constantly strikes me how your mind wanders to recesses you didn't tell it to go to, places you’ve suppressed and masked, changing the subject, ignoring. Even as I pushed my body to its limits, climbing to levels as tall as my entire body, surrounded by wonders and evidence of tectonic plates crashing millions of years ago, I was self indulgent.
Why did my relationships end the way they did? What went wrong, how could I create a happy ending from something that just wasn’t there? How do people at work feel about me? Are my stupid mistakes as loud as they are to me, what is wrong with me that I can’t fix them? And what even is my purpose on Earth?
Hours of spiraling deeper and deeper, carried away with myself, trying to analyze things that you might never figure out is exhausting. And eventually, I got fed up. I forced myself to think of positive things in my life, and this was an opportunity. It was a test to prove to myself that through any dark time, I could turn it around. I tried thinking of blank white slips of paper to clear and start from scratch so to speak. I forced myself to live in this goddamn moment. To take in the sounds and smells, the fresh air and enjoy my own company. I had the ability to turn things around. I listed the positive things I bring to people, how I wanted to build off them and do them more. This was a test of resilience. I tuned into the sniffles from altitude changes and deep huffs of breath to allow a chest to catch up, I became aware.
The funny thing is, I was in a pretty good head space before I left for my trip. Time alone with yourself is scary. When was the last time you were alone in your own thoughts with no distractions for hours on end? Meditating on everything. Worrying about things beyond your control and grasping at the straws that aren’t within your reach no matter how long you extend your limbs. And when the case presents itself, will you be proud in the end, how you dealt with it?
I stood on the top of a mountain (literally) and looked out to sharp mountain peeks, shades of green and still reflective blue waters, deeper and brighter than I’ve ever seen before. And while my body cooled as I stood overlooking it all, I can only look back on the trip with a strange pride. More than being in a place that was physically challenging, it forced me into a mental trip I wasn’t prepared for. By no means am I cured of all the cursed threads that weave around and tighten my thoughts, but it was enough to teach me I could pull myself up. Enjoy this very moment in time. Because all that’s left are photos I can slide thorough with a press of a right facing arrow on my keyboard.