I talk to people every single day, all day long. People from all walks of life, who have all kinds of stories. Some of which? I’m lucky enough to hear. Sometimes, who I am seeps into our conversations, and I mention something that means something to them and me. Other times, it comes out in small talk or because they notice my area code isn’t in the deep South.
Since moving, a common conversation I have is about place and what it takes to uproot a life. Transitioning. I’m often talking to professional road warriors–literally former warriors who know far too much about uprooting their lives in service to a bigger dream. Usually, I feel humbled and annoyed at myself for not being more grateful for what I have and not appreciating what I just did.
Recently, I talked to a couple people from home. My actual home, not the one where I live now. And they mentioned what a transition it must be–going from Colorado to Silicon Valley. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot, as I try to process where I am now and how to be happy here. Because here won’t be changing for a little while–can’t change, at least. I have to accept that.
The people I talk to–and my friends–sometimes say I have guts. Because I moved out here. I don’t know if they mean it, or if they’re trying to make me feel better–sensing my struggle to be happy here. Maybe both. But I feel the opposite of gutsy when it comes to this place. In fact, this place reminds me of why I’ve always rejected the brave label people have often affixed to my heart.
It’s another way of beating myself up, I suppose…discounting what I did. And in a way, I agree with them. It is gutsy to leave everything you’ve ever known behind to find a life you don’t know exists–one you simply hope for. The fact that it’s not what I imagined doesn’t invalidate that, except if I’m circling the self-worth drain.
It took a lot to get here. Part of me won’t ever take credit for that, but it’s true. Big emotional mountain pushing along with a true logistical nightmare and money hemorrhaging nightmare. I learned important lessons about myself and about the world, in an odd way. That a lot of people are kind. That some people take shortcuts and don’t show up. That others take advantage of situations. That, sometimes, you’ve accumulated too much crap, and it’s paralyzing you. That very little of it matters. That nearly everything can be replaced. That what matters is love and respect and friendship. And that I never give up–even at 4 am in Vegas on a fucking holiday weekend, when everyone around me tells me I’m stupid for even trying.
I am proud of that, by the way. And I learned a lot about myself along the way. Things I knew that got truly tested. Things I never suspected. I was surprised by how I stopped caring about all the crap and just wanted to move forward.
A lot of life is trying on things. Living with the guy who you love enough, who maybe doesn’t love you enough, and seeing if maybe you can create something real and beautiful. Taking a risk at a long-distance something after a major betrayal because you can’t imagine a life without him–only to realize what you had never really existed–so how could it have kept going? Doing the best you can with what you know and what you need–and trusting someone to save it…you..her…and realizing it’s not about you at all. But that you are responsible for the dents it makes. Nobly crusading for some cause you gave your life to–only to realize it’s an elitist sham that contradicts your whole worldview.
Been there, done that…still sometimes wincing…but grateful for the lessons. And usually not wincing too much these days.
When I look at my life of all these paper doll dress changes, I can’t help but be grateful for the wrongness of those fits. I came to this conclusion this week, actually. Not in some hateful, bitter way–but just in a simple acknowledgement and a sigh of relief. My ex fiance’s birthday is right before Halloween, and it’s also just after the anniversary of the day my mother got ill and also happens to be the day a good friend shot himself to death. That day–his birthday–changed my life–before I ever even knew he existed.
I am incredibly grateful to him and what that relationship was–who he was–who I imagined him to be. Without him, I wouldn’t have been healed enough to ever care for my mother or survive her death. And yes–there was a lot of bullshit and a lot of pain that he added to that ordeal. There’s a reason we haven’t spoken in quite a while and probably never will. But I realize now that he was exactly what I needed to get to the next chapter of my life–nothing more and nothing less. And it’s such a blessing it didn’t work out. I see him now, and no part of me withers at his name. No part of me aches for that life. All I see is what I chose to ignore, and I’m grateful it’s someone else’s life.
You go through life, bumping into things–trying to cope with what’s handed to you–and you never know what will matter. And things can feel so dire in those moments–everything is so important. But, years later, you realize it’s all just a step toward now. And it wasn’t meant for you.
A brave girl would embrace this city–create a life and make the best. Me–for better or worse–I’m slowly unearthing the life I had and reinterpreting that into one that makes sense for here. I spend too much time in my bedroom. I haven’t done much adventuring at all. I hang out with my cats and try not to get mad at my roommates. And work. Too much. A lot of it has been being nonstop sick. A lot of it is being buried by boxes over a month in, still. A lot of it has been not having my own car. But mostly, I just don’t want to. Maybe it’s me hibernating during grief season. But I want to make my actual home feel like a safe haven from the nonsense of the outside world. I don’t have my touchstones here, and before I invite anyone into this life, I want to know who I am and feel good about where I am–even if that may change in the future.
Knowing what isn’t right is just as important as finding the sweet spot because it allows you to make another choice. I know San Jose isn’t right for me. But, like so many things, you can’t tell that until you’re immersed in it. It’s like an allergic reaction, I suppose–and I can say with absolute confidence that I’m allergic to here.
I feel bad saying that because so many people love it here, and I truly wish I did. But I don’t. And I’m not very good at accepting things that feel bad to me. I’m okay with here for now because our apartment–despite its sometimes ill fit–does feel comfortable and familiar to me. But I realize so much of my ability to endure ill fits has to do with my home base. Right now, this messy chaos is soul leeching. I think it’ll get better, but only if I work hard to make it better.
But, as always, those things that make me hibernate–too much work, exhaustion, constant illness, and interpersonal BS…those things slow me down. Luckily, I know this and know what I need to do to address this.
That said–I think I’m learning that I don’t want or need to save the world. That those “big things” I’ve been chasing–those things that made me so uncomfortable in Denver–those things that made me feel like a failure–those things that pushed me to a bigger city and a louder life? Well, it’s not mine. It’s bullshit and baggage from trauma. It’s all part of the lie that I’m responsible for crap that had nothing to do with me. And, well, I need to let that go. I need to embrace the places where my point of view is respected and honored. Where love is abundant and unwavering. Where there is peace and quiet and room to breathe.
Maybe–just because you are born into some existence–just because you have potential to do this or that…maybe…just maybe that has nothing to do with you.
Maybe I don’t have to make her story okay. Or help everyone. Maybe it’s enough to just live and be happy with my quiet life that honors what I love and need.
I know exactly what I need and want to do. I don’t know exactly where or when it’ll happen. But I wouldn’t know any of this and be this sure without all these ill fits. And the girl who wanted everything is very judgmental about that. But I’m getting better at ignoring her snide bullshit.