My Kind of Crazy

The moment you fly into one of the Texas airports and take a whiff of that fresh air, you know you can smell cowboys. You can smell the dirt that must have been on John Wayne’s boots and the scent of sun-browned grass of the hill country. You can smell the heat steaming off homemade tortillas and the football fervor that always seems to have hints of barbecue.

Not that I enjoy barbecue or was ever interested in any football team except the Cowboys. But I grew up watching John Wayne movies and eating fresh breakfast tacos on the way to school. I never owned a horse, but I know how to ride one. And I won’t always admit that I like driving through the hill country, but I do. Though I will never refer to myself as a Texan, there are still parts of Texas that feel like home. There are still people there who feel like family (and some who actually are).

I flew to Dallas to spend a couple days with a friend I’ve known since sixth grade and her husband. She helped me achieve my crazy for the month – teal hair. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, maybe not necessarily my entire head, but why not? It’s supposed to be crazy. They made fantastic pulled pork tacos and were generous enough to share the recipe.

 

Pulled Pork Tacos – Christina’s Recipe

  • Prepare pork rump for crock pot. Rub with salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano.
  • Put in crock pot. Add 2 bay leaves, 1 can of pablano peppers in adobo sauce, and cover with 1.5-2 cans of chicken broth (depending on size of crock pot).
  • Take 1 onion, 1-3 peppers or chiles of 3 different varieties (jalapeños, Anaheim, cirano, chiles), and minced garlic and roast in the oven at 350F until limp. Add to crock pot.
  • Cook on medium to low for at least 7 hours.
  • Pull the pork.
  • Serve on corn tortillas with optional slices of avocado and shredded cheese.

Then it was off to San Antonio to wrangle the clothes away from my storage unit of two years. My three suitcases were full, and I hung out with my favorite college roommate, wandered around Trinity’s campus, and had dinner with a grad school comrade. The visit ended with me attempting to swim my rental car back to the airport in torrential flash floods.

Of course the visit was too short after the fact. And I took a moment before my departure to greet that small fear that tends to settle in the pit of my stomach 1-3 weeks before I embark on any extended adventure. The fear of the unknown. The ache that there’s no telling when I’ll see my friends again. And sometimes that makes me want to stay exactly where I am, even if it’s not the best decision or the one that will make me happy in the long run. I’ve started describing it as someone attempting to give a cat a bath. I would be the cat in this situation.

“Oh but Jacki, you love traveling and how change helps you grow and become stronger. You love those moments when you feel you’re on top of the literal world and living fully.”

Yes, yes I do. But I am also a creature of habit, and I can’t always say those habits are good ones. I don’t doubt that I will be happy wherever I go, but it’s a similar feeling to stepping onto that bungee platform and having someone spur me into action with a countdown. It’s that moment right before you get used to falling through the air, feel a tug, and then your stomach drops again, along with the rest of you. Just how far can I stretch my comfort zones? What happens when I reach my limit? What happens if I don’t or never try?

My worst habit isn’t biting my nails or throwing my clothes on the floor. My worst habit is over-thinking and over-analyzing practically every situation. It’s terrible and a waste of energy. The thing is, I’m not sure how to stop myself unless I’m constantly busy. Whenever I catch myself going out of my mind with “what if scenarios,” I call myself a space unicorn. Yes, like the alien from MIB III. As amusing as he was, spending so much energy on possible outcomes of situations that may never come into existence is less about being prepared than it is just plain crazy. And though I like to do some crazy things, I’d rather not be that particular kind of crazy.

So here’s to doing crazy shit that might not always make sense to everyone else, whether that be dying my hair odd colors, running amok through a fountain, going to a foreign country without any proper research, dancing in pleather leggings, or climbing an unstable section of a world wonder. Here’s to doing things that make me uncomfortable and challenge my perceptions, whether that means giving out free hugs for a day, walking through the slums of capital cities, getting naked in public baths, deciding to do things on the spur of the moment, or meeting age-old friends from the internet.

Here’s to an unforgettably possible venture.

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