When I Grow Up

Stick close because this is going to go quickly.
I'm not going to spell everything out for you babies, because I am really busy and because you're not that dumb.

As you know, I am going off into the desert this weekend, to the Colorado River, right on the border of Arizona and California. As you also know, it is totally against the nature that I have had since I moved here.
Since I moved here, I have been resolutely opposed to spontaneity, to driving, to strangers, and to anything new unless I was guaranteed that if I didn't like the new thing, I would have someone with whom to make fun of it. Upon moving here, new things = bad. Hell, going outside = bad.

Needless to say, for me to go away from a weekend, it takes the emotional equivolent of a Federal Mandate.
But that wasn't how things were when I lived in Illinois. I spent a lot of weekends out of the town where I lived, regardless of which town it was. When I was in Springfield, Steve and I often went down to Carbondale.
When I was in Bloomington, I often went down to Springfield, or up to Chicago.
Now that I live in Tucson, I have gone to Tempe a few times and I cried all the way there, every time. I’ve also been to Mexico twice and the second time; my mom had to drive back because I was having a nervous breakdown.

Really suddenly, like in the last 24 hours, not only am I NOT nervous to get in my car and drive to California, I am so excited that I wish it was tomorrow already and I was going to bed so that I could wake up and get in the car and go.

I feel the same sense of security that I felt when I still lived in Illinois. And dudes, if you are thinking about moving across the country on your own, let me caution you strongly against it. You have no idea how wretchedly alone you are going to feel and for how long that feeling is going to color everything you do with yourself, post-move. If you do move across the country by yourself, I am also going to advise to not freeze your credit cards. Run those bitches up because you actually CAN buy peace of mind if Visa is holding your sweaty, nervous hand.

I mean, I couldn't because I killed the cards before I moved but you can buy it and don't go shopping in the bargain basement, either. You'll be left freaking out about what might happen and then you'll end up like me, cradled in the loving arms of your couch and holding onto your remote for dear life.
But over the last day or so, I've realized how unaturally calm and secure I am about going away from the weekend, all by myself. I feel like there are people who will be waiting for me to get there, wherever it is that I’m going, and that when I get there, I will naturally fall into belonging.

This weird restoration of ability and motivation and excitement is, I’m sure totally due to the fact that FUCKING FINALLY, after three years in-country, I am starting to feel at home.

A lot of what I have professed to miss about Rakers has not to do with him, but with his huge group of friends. We could show up anywhere and have a place to stay, beers to drink, and people who wanted to talk to us. It was so easy to be comfortable when I knew that wherever I went, I wouldn’t be all alone. Everything was familiar, everything was readily available, and every choice was obvious. It was an easy life but for whatever reason, I was truly compelled to quit it.

I chose to find alone, I did that on purpose and it totally sucked ass. But. I have learned, or was forced to learn that I can stand very strongly on my own. I can even be happy doing it. Which, god - happy?
On my own?
Who knew?
Certainly not I, that's fo' shizzle.
I’ve found that I am very good at taking care of myself in everyway – I can deal with money, I can deal with cars, I can deal with a puppy, and I can be very happy sitting at home on the couch with a book and my remote.

That’s all fine and stuff but now that I found myself, or whatever bullshit psycho-babble you want to put on my moving out here, I have found that not so much do I miss Steve, the Guy… I miss the feeling of acceptance and belonging that I felt when I was with him
Good ahead and get your “duhs”, your “no shits”, and your slow, sardonic clapping over with.
Go ahead.
I’ll wait.
Feel better?

Okay then. On with what I promise will be the last non-comedy essay for awhile. I swear to tell you about the apartment that’s for rent at the half-way house down the street in my next essay, promise.

No more obvious has my "revelation" (shut-up, I'm a late bloomer and that's okay) been than this morning when I picked up the phone and called the place where my friend is staying in California. I was not worrying about anything, of trusting that I’ve got everything taken care of and that when I get there, I will be welcomed. Not a single ounce of nerves.
What is this brave new world?
Is it possible that at one time, a long time ago, I was on the right track but riding along it in the wrong way?

When I called, I talked to this woman and she reminded me so strongly of all the cool people that I knew through Steve - all the people who were in small towns across Illinois and who didn't mind when we were going to show up or what we wanted to go do after we got there.

People who are totally not like me but who make me feel like maybe I am too Type-A and that I could easily pull that shit back a notch without causing a horrible, jagged rip in the space-time continuum.

There were kids in the background and her voice was sturdy but her words were laid back and unconcerned… I don’t think there are words that would actually describe the sense of liberation, from my couch of course, that I felt when I hung up the phone this morning.

The liberation?
It might not last.
I might slip into the flip-side of how I felt when I would go out of town while I was in Illinois, which is to get in my car at about 1 AM and drive home because I’ve been humiliated or because there’s been a blow-out of a fight and the least mature thing is to leave the fucker stranded in the Southern Illinois coal country. I’m not ruling any of that stuff out because to do so would be to assume that I am actually self-assured, mature and compassionate.

But I do think that I am finally feeling that which I have wanted to be feeling which is…
I guess I’m saying that three years of self-imposed reflection maybe has left me as the self-assured, mature and compassionate person that I wanted to be when I grew up.

arizonasarah at 11:57 a.m.

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