Blog by Yessica Maher, los Angeles Native.

She explores life after marriage, starting a career in her late 30's, relationships, breaking cycles of abuse, online dating, self care, fertility and depression. 

It's all over the place, but so is living. 

A Panopticon Lesson on a Field Trip

I took a trip to Zuma Beach because it was suggested and I wanted to go.  I've had friends suggest ways to go out and meet people, but this trip wasn't about meeting people.  It was about getting out and exploring and doing something for me. I wanted to go and I was excited. I took the streets over 40 miles and I kept passing places that I had always wanted to see.  I was always interested but didn't have company or time.  Or I felt like I didn't have that freedom over what I wanted to do. Laying on the sand at Zuma, I watched surfers and birds.  I enjoyed the warmth of the sun.  I applied for jobs and secured an interview for tomorrow.  In that space where I was watching a young family build sandcastles I was thinking about my next trip and where I wanted to go, and that's when it occurred to me that this was my moment.  I didn't need to wait for next time or perfect conditions.  I would go and do what I had always wanted because this moment - this day was mine, and I was done giving up my time for the responsibility of what I was supposed to do based on someone else's rule book.

With joy and purpose, I headed south and stopped wherever the ocean was too beautiful to keep going.

A new favorite beach is Malibu Lagoon State Beach.  There was so much life everywhere.  There were birds and in one of the pictures I actually caught a fish jumping out of the water.  There were sea shells with live creatures still in them.  The lifeguard was so full of information and on his suggestion, my next long trip will start at Point Dume. He handed me a tide schedule and I plan on catching a grunion run this year.  I had been wanting to for over 20 years, and now I can stay out all night if I want to.

I stopped at the Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine on Sunset in Palisades.  It was beautiful and peaceful.  People drove into the parking lot with smiles and yoga mats.  There is a sign asking to turn off phone ringers.  It was beautiful and in some ways surreal.  It was interesting to see the Windmill and Houseboat near the shrines and statuary.  There was this beautiful cove of greenery.  I was so in love with how I felt that I took a selfie and forgot a more private picture for the blog, but I loved the way it felt, so I'm sharing it.

My day ended at Will Rogers Beach.  I sat in my car, watched the waves and ate my dinner.  I watched the runners and skaters and bike riders.  I smiled, and said a quiet thank you to a few men that cared about their bodies as much as I did in that moment.  Then I started practicing that not so obvious look that is a covert check out and far less creepy than my lack of impulse control. Before the sun went down behind the clouds, I took a nap.  It was a really good day.

There was a moment while I was laying on a blanket and watching the men in wetsuits as they straddled their boards, and realized I could go to all of the places I passed on the way to my destination.  I decided the present moment was mine to take and that was huge because I was giving myself permission by deciding I didn't need permission. It happened around noon at Zuma Beach, but the gravity of it didn't hit me until I was driving down Sunset on my way home and passing Vin Scully Avenue around 8 or 9.  For years I felt confined to the plans and agendas of other people. I had always felt like I needed company or permission.   I didn't have access to time that was my own for dreams or frivolity. Here I was, spending an amazing day proving to myself how remarkable this new freedom is, and then it hits me, we've been sharing custody since the start of October. It's the middle of April and I'm only now deciding I could go and do what I wanted to do.  It was a shock to finally see that my restraints are in my head as ideals of what I am supposed to be or how I'm supposed to spend my time.  I am my own warden.

 

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