Would you ever move back?” a new friend questioned asked me the other day when she learned I wasn’t a Colorado native. It was a valid question: one I hadn’t been asked (or pondered) in years. Would I ever move back to the midwest after decades spent in the west? It made me take a deeper dive into why I came to Colorado in the first place and what I’ve learned in those 21 years since.
Colorado was initially a state I visited to see my siblings. They had moved to the Denver area from the midwest in the early 90s. Full of mouthwatering yet healthy food, beautiful scenery and a laid-back vibe, I was hard pressed to find anything wrong with it. Denver always felt like it fit. I fit, in a way didn’t feel like in the midwest.
Armed with heady dreams and a Toyota Corolla, I took the plunge and drove out to Denver shortly after I graduated from college.
It was a unique time full of possibilities, the possibilities one finds when she’s in her early 20s. I landed in a career path I didn’t see coming, found long-lasting friendships with a menagerie of people and fell in love with my husband. And like most transitions, it was brutally challenging. There were times I wanted to give up. Times I wasn’t sure if I was cut out to live in Colorado. I wanted to come home to what I knew. There is comfort in knowing, is there not? There were times I longed for an easier route to authenticity.
Authenticity. What does authenticity mean to you? The word gets bantered about a lot now, but back then, to me it meant to strip away what I thought I was, who others thought I was, and tap into who I was meant to become. I needed to cut through to the core: to be truly honest with myself and others. At all costs. The work it takes to be authentic is likely a lifelong process, but for me, the first step was making an appointment with a therapist. I needed to dig into the past, reconcile mistakes, transgressions, toxic relationships and build a new relationship with myself. Long story short, I needed to start making healthy choices and learn to love unconditionally.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” This quote by Oscar Wilde is a beacon of light in a world seemingly hell-bent on tearing itself apart. Connecting with myself in Colorado, made me love the state itself. Beautiful Colorado gave me the space to come alive, become true to my soul and for that, I will always be loyal to her. She has helped shape me into who I am; and who I am to become.
BFJ’s latest collection is inspired by finding my true identity in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. This earthy yet elegant collection is filled with turquoise, amethyst, labradorite and gold. Stones, rich in meaning and color, will hopefully allow you to become grounded while looking up at our expansive Western sky.
You need not move halfway across the United States to find yourself. That was my journey, necessary to take given the circumstances. But a question to you is, do you find you are being authentic to yourself? Are you consistently honest knowing there will be people, maybe even loved ones, who simply don’t understand your true nature? If not, are you willing to do the hard work to get to that place of freedom? To find yourself and your people? Lastly, once there, are you, are we, willing to continue the work and show up in a space of genuine humility?
You, not your place, will determine how far you can go, but living in Colorado certainly doesn’t hurt.