This narrative must sound like a broken record, but….here goes!
Some time ago I wrote about wanting to let go of my resentments toward Bend, OR (A Comeback from Addiction ). When I left town and moved to Corvallis in December of 2011, I was steeped in all sorts of questionable and sketchy behavior. Today, more than six years later, I still find myself working through those resentments. This past weekend, while visiting with my friend and mentor, Mike Larsen, he boiled it down pretty bluntly as only he can in his own unique caring way: “dude just (*$&%ing) get over it!” I heard you man and I wish I didn’t have to complicate things as much as I do. Unfortunately it’s a default setting right now so deal with it! 😉
On my initial journey across the country, from Massachusetts to Bend in 1998, along with my adventure mates, Matt Whitcomb and Justin Beckwith, I remember a vivid moment while heading west on US 20, cresting a rise somewhere between the ghost towns of Brothers and Millican and seeing Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters, and Mt Jefferson for the first time. Immediately, upon the sight of the those majestic mountains, Central Oregon began to encompass an aura and magic to it. Plus, as nordic skiers, we got the opportunity to be around our Olympic heroes who also lived in Bend – Pat Weaver, Justin Wadsworth, Ben Husaby, and Beckie Scott. We had found our new playground; for me, for the next thirteen years. Largely, that magic and aura stuck with me until just a few months before I ran away to Corvallis. During those months the distinct transition of Bend’s allure and ambience turned to a depravity as my main goal had gone from adventuring and fitness to chasing down the nearest cocaine dealer downtown. Those last three months went on to create a resentment that I am still largely working on relieving myself of. It seems ridiculous to think that just three months affected all of my memories of being in Bend for over a decade.
Recently one of my best college friends, Ben, and his family, relocated from the east coast to Bend. Having them so close to me for the time being, geographically, is becoming more and more important as time goes on. When I visit them every so often it is refreshing to see the town through their optics and fresh eyes. They see Bend for what it is, an amazing place. Each time I visit it does get a little easier not to pick up on the overly-abundant visual cues that remind me of the delinquency and indecency that I associated myself with towards the end of my tenure there. Look, for me it’s very difficult to not drive down Newport Ave, Wall St. or Galveston Ave, without be cued off on a specific treacherous memory that exists at the various establishments on those stretches of road. Most people see those areas for their great architecture, lush views of the Deschutes River, and the plethora of first-rate shops and restaurants. It’s unfortunate that those views elude me for now; when I’m in downtown Bend I see the spots where I almost crashed my car, drunk as hell, or scored some blow off a dude at 2 a.m. on the street corner of Bond St. and Minnesota Ave. Even this past weekend, those recollections still persisted in my memory bank. Letting go of said memories is largely the key to me resolving my relationship with Bend, something that I’d like the future to hold for me. The fact is in NO other town in the world do I have a concentration of so many close friends and confidants. Three of my mentors live there! It’s actually pretty freakin rad to be reminded of that. At some point in time I absolutely see myself moving back there because, quite literally, Bend kicks ass.
I’d love to be able to remember the good stuff over the bad stuff, and the intrinsic work I’m doing is certainly helping. Training at Mt. Bachelor, tearing it up on the Tuesday night Sunnyside hammerfest ride, learning to trail run, the amazing memories of working in the area, and the most important part, the people and community, are among a few of the memories that I cherish. The good news is that I’ve got a few folks in my life that are constantly helping me through my issues of letting go, not only with Bend, but with life. I understand the simple fact that it’s a process and it will take time.
So for now, the journey to work through those resentments will continue. As luck would have I’ll be back in Bend in just a couple of weeks to once again, be around some amazing friends doing what we do best…kicking ass in Central Oregon!