it's weird to think about moving. i'm doing it in four days and i'm not at all ready. i'm not moving away to maryland like one of my best friends (who will be leaving on a jet plane three days after my move). no, i'm just going to the other side of the lake -- a little further from church, slightly further from family, a smidge further from school. no big deal. and yet, this move has enabled so many different thoughts and feelings to surface that i had suppressed, most of them unknowingly. it's one of those things that just kinda floats around in the back of your mind, fuzzy and grey, not really making much of an appearance. and then one day... BOOM. there it is. that pesky thought -- or string of thoughts -- that just wont go away. that's been my life for about a week now.
it started a couple of months ago with the start of the move. my soon-to-be-roommate asked if i wanted to move in with her to save money and i agreed instantly. we didn't know each other very well but what i knew about her i liked. i could tell it would be a good situation for us both. we come from different backgrounds, have different goals and daily lives. but we click. and that was enough for me. i trust her. she trusts me. its all gravy.
i feel as though i might already be digressing...
i try not to be jealous of people. i try to love my life entirely as it is because i grow in my struggles, my shortcomings, my complete failures. but sometimes, like right now, i do get jealous. i'm jealous of my buddy moving to maryland. yeah, its scary, but its exciting too. she gets to start all over again. gets to. she gets to meet new people, make new friends, establish new bonds. she gets to explore a new city she'll be calling home for at least a year, maybe longer. she's going to be doing something she loves professionally (she got a job in the choir for the national basilica.. yep, jealous of that too) and growing by leaps and bounds completely on her own.
me... oh i'm moving across the lake. with my neighbor.
i sometimes feel confined to not only this city (don't get me wrong.. i love the city) but to this life. i feel trapped in a body, a personality, a name that isn't me. i literally feel like breaking out of a mold and flying away to some far away place. im not trying to be melodramatic -- though i sometimes even feel i might be -- but rather just expressing exactly the way ive felt all weekend. ive fantasized about moving away to chicago or denver or boston. (okay, maybe not boston.) ive dreamt about making a new home for myself in a cozy little room in some big city and working my tail off to provide for myself. ive seen myself meeting new people, visiting art museums, and mapping out the city.
yesterday (monday, which i guess was technically two days ago now) i drove out to ft worth to attend a Mass of Thanksgiving being celebrated by a newly ordained priest of the CFRs. afterward i was going out with my friend who is moving. as i merged onto 366 from 75 i thought mostly about how late i was running and how full the church would be. but as i rounded the corner from 366 onto 35 toward 30, i looked up at my beautiful city and felt uneasy. it was familiar. too familiar.
i thought right at that moment that i wanted out of dallas. never have i ever said i wanted out of dallas. in fact, even when i talk about moving to another city i always follow it up with how i could never leave dallas forever. but right then, and in every moment since then, ive felt like i could just leave dallas. and maybe not come back. but maybe. who knows. right now i just want out.
ever pensive, i reflected on all of these newly surfaced feelings and tried to associate them with some kind of concrete reason for this discontentment. and this is what i've got:
i've lived in dallas all my life. i've visited two countries and 15 states. my longest trip was to wyd in canada in 2002. ive not been out of the city for more than three days (in a row) since that time. i've met a lot of people and established a lot of relationships. i love a lot of people here. unfortunately, ive made a lot of mistakes - some big, some small. ive soured a lot of good friendships and made a lot of less-than-stellar impressions.
i feel like every day im fighting to hang onto what good thoughts people might hold about me and rid my life of the bad ones. i feel like every day is another day to get better not for myself but for the people ive lost. every day is a day i remember - in a face, a place, or a word - all of the things i wish i could take back but cant. when i drive down certain streets, my heartbeat hastens. when certain songs pulse through my car, i can feel my heart in my gut and instantly think of a face, a place, a word. and it's never more than five miles away.
writing this makes me think that perhaps i sound like i'm trying to run from all of these things. and maybe i am. but my feeling towards all of it is this: being here in this place, at this time in my life, makes me feel uncomfortable. i feel uneasy in my own skin. i feel confined to this person people have perceived me to be. i feel trapped in this life i have created for myself, even unconsciously.
and maybe that's the real issue: i'm finally conscious. i'm finally aware of the state of my soul, of my body, of my place in the world. and i'm not happy with what has been done until now. yet, even armed with this awareness, this knowledge, this conviction, i feel powerless to change everything.
i want to go and experience new people, new places, new things. i want to get to know myself. i want to go out someplace and learn to love myself for what i am and can be. i want to truly understand my shortcomings and start on the long road to overcoming them. i want to discover what i really have to bring to the table.
can i do this all at home? sure. but its damn hard.
over the weekend a friend -- a friend unaware of my thoughts about this -- remarked that i was truly living the "college life". yeah it had everything to do with the magazines strewn across the living room floor, the laundry on every desk, table, and chair and the extra strength febreeze that im convinced will cure any odor issue ever... oh yeah, and the chips, salsa and pop-tarts we picked up for breakfast... but it made me feel better (and worse) about my situation.
im often jealous of my friends away at school. i know im the reason im still in dallas but i envy them anyway. i envy not their partying, their hangovers, their frizz. i envy their challenging classes, relationship-building, and self-exploration. when they come home, theyre different. and its with these people that i feel the most anxiety and peace. yes, anxiety AND peace. im anxious because i feel like im sitting with a more grown up version of the person i used to know. i feel at peace because it always feels right to be with them and because i can really be myself -- just as i am now -- with them. theyre growing and changing so much that my growing and changing is normal. its expected that we'll all be different. it's commonplace to be searching and unsure and yet confident in the uneasiness. it's something completely different than what i have with everyone else around me.
if there are people my age (outside of school) with whom i associate, they are likely settling into adulthood. most of them have jobs they won't leave for another ten years, are married, or have kids... or any combination of the above. those outside of my age group -- and this population makes up the majority of my associations -- are typically a good deal older, the youngest probably being about 12 years my senior. i love them but i dont know how to be around them anymore. in fact, i question now if i ever did.
i've always treasured my adult friends. from my choir buddy and partner-in-crime to my baby-sitting moms, they've been there for me when i didn't know how to turn to my family or friends my age. nothing major but always appreciated. they gave me advice, showed me support, made me laugh. they made me want to be something better than i was but were never mean or degrading about it. they were patient, loving, kind. looking back on it, i know im where i am now because of their loving support and guidance. but looking back on it now, i also see where our relationships weren't always what i imagined them to be.
for the past few years ive "worked on myself", attempting always to root myself in Christ and show the world His love. to me, this meant the charm and quick wit of the tall blonde from the midwest. it meant the accepting smile and dry humor of the brunette who told me stories of her time in chicago. it meant the self-respect, the love, and the smarts of the one in between. all of this time i have thought long and hard about why i love these people so much. i always knew what traits i loved about them and wished to emulate those things myself but it wasn't until recently (maybe a few months ago) that i really understood that the common trait in each of them was self-awareness. they had all grown up into themselves.
duh, laura. they're older than you.
but really, before i didnt really understand what it meant to come into yourself. now that i understand, im itching to do it. and i just dont feel like i have the room to do it here. im scared to "spread my wings and fly". every time i turn around i see this face or that face and i cant help but focus on my past. i cant help but to recoil into that little girl everyone knows. i dont feel confident in being 21 and becoming a woman.
and now that i say that, i've been reminded of something else. i don't feel comfortable exploring myself as a female in these surroundings. dont be scandalized; i'm not being gross. here's what i mean: since.. well i dont know when exactly, i guess when i got fat in middle school... i've been a bit of a tomboy. i went through phases of wearing makeup and not wearing makeup, doing my hair with irons and ribbons and not touching my hair at all. through it all, though, ive been a jeans and tshirt girl. in fact, im pretty sure my closet still resembles that of doug funnie. jeans, chucks (chuck taylors), and a tshirt -- usually long sleeved in either black, brown or grey -- has been my wardrobe for over five years now. yes, (almost) my complete wardrobe. to this day i still have trouble finding clothes to go out in. i just dont have girly things. and i dont feel comfortable buying girly things because im scared to be awkward in front of these people i know and whose opinions matter to me. im scared to be 12 in my 21 yr old body. and speaking of 12, my sister is 12 now and is more girly than me. she dances, never stops messing with her hair, and has everything girly. she's nothing like me and i envy that. im jealous of her rhinestone-studded shoes, jean skirts, and girly shirts. i wish i could pull off a cute headband or funky sneakers with a mini. and maybe i can. but im nervous to try it... at least im nervous to try it here.
i wanna break out of this place, even as expansive as it is. i want to be in denver, chicago, miami (someone help me name a third cool city...) trying on clothes, experimenting with makeup, and getting to know myself.
i want to wake up every day happy to be in a new place... or even scared. i want to study my maps and discover all the cute and fun and interesting places in a city that isn't dallas. i want to know and love myself and not feel confined.
on memorial day i received whats called a "first blessing" from fr francis mary, cfr. it was beautiful and perfect and just what i needed. in that blessing came a great peace and of that blessing came a great anxiety. thankfully, that anxiety is a healthy one. its a desire to grow, know, love. its a desire i pray never dies.
pray for me friends, if you are able, that i find a way to grow and know and love, even in this place of (perhaps perceived) confinement. i wish not to waste a single moment. and thanks for reading. i just needed to get that off my chest.