“You either walk inside your story and own it
or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.”
“Applause, applause, applause.”
~Iona, Pretty in Pink
In eighth grade, I strolled into the Laura Ashley boutique at Crabtree Valley Mall and plucked up a flat-brimmed straw sailor hat with a black band. I envisioned pairing it with a long pencil skirt and flea market jewelry, a la Andie in Pretty in Pink. Oh, yes I did.
Instead of boldly rocking the bohemian chic look, I hung the hat on a hook above my bed until high school graduation. While I’d always been a hat person, when it came to the sailor hat, I simply couldn’t own it.
Cut to adulthood, spring 2012: When I moved into a 35-foot travel trailer, I didn’t own it–literally or metaphorically. The rig belonged to my aunt in Oregon, who’d generously loaned it while I surfed out life transition and met financial goals. I was very private about living in the trailer during this time.
Why so discreet? I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! I’d finally realized my longtime fantasy of living alone in a tiny rural cabin, where I could write quietly for a few years. As a bonus, this cabin conveniently had wheels! Long before the Tiny House craze kicked in, my fellow gypsy friend and I had pored over plans for RVs and trailers. Now the dream was manifest, so why was I so afraid to share it? Why couldn’t I own it?
Turns out, it’s hard to own what’s borrowed. That loaned trailer just didn’t feel like mine to share. What’s more, it’s hard to be trailer trash in high-rent Sonoma, where glimmering chateaux sit like jewels in well-groomed vineyards. You may know money and material goods don’t matter, but other people are not always as enlightened: just ask much-maligned Andie.
What I’ve learned (the hard way, natch) is this: While I may never show those people the value of my unorthodox lifestyle, I must live it no less fully. In modern parlance, haters gonna hate.
Last summer, my aunt—an angel in this story and in real life, too—bequeathed the trailer to me. If it seems a quirky inheritance, consider that I’ve also been granted the heirloom “penny potty”, a Lucite toilet seat embedded with valuable coins. What can I say? This is my bizarre and wonderful family. (And yes, the prized penny potty will soon be installed in my trailer. Come take a seat!)
Soon after I knew the trailer was mine, I could finally get comfortable and start to own it in other ways. Slowly, my attitude began to shift and I began to embrace the gypsy wagon as home. Know what this means?
It means that I can share it–with friends for festive dinner parties; with fellow travelers on long rambles; and with you, here and now.
Warning: It also means that sooner or later, you might be asked to join the renovation crew. Lucky you! So grab a drink and a paintbrush and stay tuned for gypsy updates…