Lately, I have been guilty of seeing Chattanooga online rather than getting out and experiencing it. I have several photographer friends who are constantly out and about snapping away at Chattanooga’s beauty. One friend enjoys taking morning walks downtown and he captures interesting shots with his cell and posts them on his Facebook.
I had taken time one morning to go through several of his photos and it felt as though I were on the walk with him. He has such a good eye for capturing truth and even a soulful way of capturing life in a still object. Sometimes his captions on a photo gave his take on what he saw in the human spirit from something so simple that made it very thought provoking.
After spending so much time viewing someone’s personal walk in our city – I wondered what the heck I was sitting inside on a sun-shiny day for! It actually inspired me to push away from my computer and get out of my apartment to experience Chattanooga for myself.
Yes, I do get out some and I do meet with friends when we can coordinate our schedules but it just isn’t as often as I like. I love being outdoors and I love being with people. So why have I become such a hermit this year?
It’s been quite a few years now that I have had to get used to single-life. If you do not have a significant other where it is automatically assumed that you have someone to do these things with; it is hard to know ‘how’ to get out and about. It seems that I have had this problem all year that I have lived alone. Now that my adult son recently moved in with me, it hasn’t changed much because we pretty much do our own thing. He also is out of town each weekend, which still gives us both our independence.
When I tried dating for the months of August and September; if you have been following along you know that it wasn’t going very well. I just am not a dating type person. I am more of a ‘significant other’ person. But it takes time to get there. I did try to explore that with a good friend, but sometimes good friends need to just stay good friends. Especially if you have so many differences that it feels as though you are ‘trying to make it happen’. So ‘Catch’ remains my good friend and I still want to take my time in having a possible relationship with someone, I am not in a hurry to meet that special person.
I just can’t focus on that right now; I honestly am enjoying my work and learning how to be by myself. It does get overwhelming and I do know that I am meant to be with someone – but I have time to make sure it’s right.
When life gets hard, I get afraid. I get afraid that I can’t do it – but right now I am forced to do it – all on my own. And ya know what? I can do it. Someone in my life who knows me well once told me I am like a cat that always lands on her feet. Sure I get knocked down but somehow – as this friend also has said; I come out smelling like a rose.
People close to me know that I tend to have my fearful moments and I am not afraid to voice them, but then I buck up and face my fears and in no time I am confident again.
When I found lumps in my breast some weeks ago, I got a bit fearful. I think it was mainly because I didn’t think I could do anything about it – as far as getting it checked out. Jumping through all those hoops just to get a checkup with no insurance, was overwhelming for me. My fear had drained my energy.
Yoga helped, prayers helped and ‘not taking no for an answer’ helped. I finally was able to see a doctor for very little charge and I will have a diagnostic mammogram this week for no charge thanks to the Samaritan Center. I am sure the test results will come out okay, but it is always good to be sure – especially when it seems suspicious.
After submitting my latest profile piece and getting my lineup for October all set as well as doing an interview I decided to take the rest of the day to get out of the apartment and talk a walk where my photo-journalist friend walked.
I don’t have a problem with going downtown – which I am about five to seven minutes away from, and try a restaurant or - I know where the Y is and the Tivoli but as far as really knowing Chattanooga, I don’t. Anything that I would like to do is usually something I would want to do with someone and not do alone and this hinders me from ‘doing at all’ when it is so hard to coordinate with friends schedules who live farther out. Oh, I am sure many people do things in Chattanooga alone, but remember me from my Long Island days? I am just as lost in this world even in my hometown!
I honestly don’t know how to do simple things. It’s not that I am stupid; it is that no one has ever shown me and I haven’t been brave enough to do it on my own. Well, this is the time in my life to do it on my own. I had not walked the Walnut Street Bridge in a very long time. What hindered me was ‘where would I park’ and ‘how do I get there’ – things that held me back before from fear because no one had ever shown me how and I was too apprehensive to try it on my own. But with a GPS that helps to guide me around now and I am learning the grid of downtown more; I am not as afraid.
I set my GPS and came right to the Coolidge Park area. I went in the back of where Good Dog was and saw numbered parking. I parked and went over to the pay at the parking kiosk, swiped my card and it threw my transaction out. I swiped it again and it did it again and I read in the screen that it was after hours and parking was free. How nice of it to tell me that! I would have paid for parking unnecessarily. These are things others know about - that I don’t.
I wanted to try a restaurant that a friend had told me about – but they weren’t open for twenty minutes. I hate that. It makes me miss Long Island where I could go just about anywhere and it was always open. But then, if Chattanooga had the crowdedness of Long Island it would not be the perfect city it is and our secret bliss, would it? I decided to find a place to have a cold beverage before the restaurant opened.
I went into the North Chatt Cat and the name alone scared me. I was afraid I was walking into a stripper joint. During late afternoon, it was tame so whatever happens there was not happening at that time. I went out on the deck to sit down for a few minutes until the restaurant opened and I had planned to walk the bridge before driving home.
I enjoyed dinner nearby and went for my walk. I had not charged up the batteries to my camera so I just had my cell to grab photos of our beautiful Chattanooga. I found my way to the bridge and saw canopies lined along the center of the bridge with a sign that read “Wine Over Water October 6th”. I remember that event. I always wanted to go. They were setting up for the event the next night. The only wine tasting event I had been too was years ago that the Sports Barn held.
As I walked, I heard a saxophonist playing and I saw a couple walking the bridge – the girl had spikey green hair. Was I in New York? I actually like to see the differences in people. I am not one to draw back and say, “What are they thinking?” I like individuality. I remembered having green hair once. Of course it was by accident. I was sixteen and trying to go back to brunette from being a blonde. I used Nice and Easy Ash color and, it wasn’t so nice… or easy. It was green. But not a cute punk-y green, it was a forest green that screamed “teenager fails”.
We all have our “what was ‘I’ thinking moments… so I am certainly fine with people in this the world trying out things. I don’t particularly like seeing people with hardware in their face, but it’s not my face. I have my opinion and don’t have to agree with what everyone does, but I do agree with their right to do it. I am sure there is plenty that people don’t like about me either, I just want my freedom to express myself the way I like and I give others that same respect.
When I saw the sun across the water as it was about to retire for the day, I took in the beauty of “My Chattanooga”. This seems to be the name everyone calls our home. We all feel very personally connected to this wonderful place. We all feel it is our heart and we call it ‘ours’. It affects each of us differently. I snapped photos when I saw things that touched me – which was about 200 things. I also saw places that I have seen people post on Facebook or read about on-line – certain restaurants or stores, things available to us right here, right now and some of us just don’t get out and experience them.
I know my reason for the past decade of why I was not a part of Chattanooga, but now I have no excuse not to take it in. I am minutes away from this beautiful part of the city. But it doesn’t just have to be downtown – there are so many other areas to explore.
Yes, I got out of my four walls today by myself. Getting out to do things doesn’t come easy for me if I am not sharing it with someone or if I let the fear of not knowing where to go or how to park or what do – keep me inside. I lived as Rapunzel locked away in a castle for long enough. Now I am free to be ‘me’. I am free to explore and I don’t have to go too far – I can do it right here! There is so much to see and so much to do. I love – absolutely love Chattanooga and there no other place I’d rather be.