This summer, I have been doing a lot of thinking. Thinking, reflecting, pondering, and everything in between. Things have slowed down after an action-packed first year of college and between work schedules at my two jobs, all I have is free time. Everything calmed down, I reverted back to some of my more laid back tendencies, and I took a much needed break from the ongoing storm of events that is college. I got to thinking about how different things are right now in 2014 versus last year at the beginning of August. When I moved back to my hometown of Yakima after living on my own for the first time, the adjustment was incredibly hard on me, physically and emotionally. I honestly didn't expect that at all.
See, for years, I swore up and down that as soon as I graduated, I was getting out and never looking back. If you grew up in a small town community like me, you probably understand this desire. Everyone I went to high school with seems to be doing the same exact thing as the next person--studying at an in-state college, most of them still living at home. Now, I'm not at all trying to bash on these people; everyone has their own path to follow and it's not my place to judge why someone makes different choices than me. Personally, I hope all of my old friends and acquaintances get out, at least for a little bit, to explore and experience the world beyond the Northwest. (I certainly plan on experiencing something other than Happy Valley, because let's face it--Provo ain't much better.) But I understand now when I didn't before why so many choose to stay.
High school sucked for me. It pretty much sucks for everyone. But I projected those feelings onto the city of Yakima as a whole. In my mind, Yakima was the problem. It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I found something worth staying for. I joined a society that has become my family; they have been there for me through the biggest trials of my life thusfar. My best friend found me in a bad place at the end of my junior year and helped me to find my self-worth again three years after having been sexually assaulted. He stuck it out through stuff no one should be expected to go through, from my own family drama to my parents hating him to me falling in love with him. And even when I pushed him away, he still fought for me. He still voted for me.
He introduced me to the most amazing group of individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I never believed I would have so many people I could truly call my friends, let alone lifelong friends. But that's exactly what the Dance Syndicate has given me. It has been my home, literally and figuratively, for the last two years. When I was expelled my senior year of high school, they were the only ones who were there for me. When everyone else faded away and walked out of my life, I turned around and there they were. With open arms and ears, and loving hearts. If it weren't for them, I seriously don't know where I'd be. I don't even want to think about how far I could have sank into my depression after having everything I knew ripped away from me if it hadn't been for that support system.
That is just the tip of the iceberg. I could write an entire blogpost just about the Dance Syndicate and everything they've given me and taught me over the last two years (and I probably will soon!). So can you see now why it was so hard for me to want to leave, when suddenly I had something in Yakima worth staying for? I had no guarantee I would ever find something quite like this anywhere else, and I really don't think I ever will. I have a purpose here. I have lifelong friends here. I was comfortable. I was finally home. For the first time in 18 years. And then I was supposed to leave them behind? Just like that?
I almost didn't. I almost stayed. I thought maybe I'd just work for a year to save up money and then move to LA like I was supposed to. But deep down, I knew I couldn't do that. If I came up with an excuse, if I put it all off, I'd never be able to move on or let go. I would get too comfortable and end up like most people who are faced with the same life decision. The decision to stay where it's familiar and where you feel at home is not a bad one; I just knew it wasn't for me. I've known since I was 14 that I wasn't going to become the person I want to be in Yakima. She's out there waiting, and I have to search beyond the nest if I'm going to find her.
All that being said, it didn't make the move any easier. Ask any of my dorm-mates: I pined for home; I spent hours on the phone with everyone back in Yakima; I often wouldn't leave my room; I counted down the days until Thanksgiving. My heart was still in Washington. But I've come to understand now that all those emotions and mixed feelings are perfectly normal. Slowly but surely, you learn to adapt. Little by little, you let go. Until you realize you haven't called home in a week and that's okay. Then you notice you've started to refer to your college town as home and the summer goodbyes are just as difficult to say as the ones that were 18 years in the making.
That first week home, I seriously contemplated packing up and moving back to Provo. Moving to a brand new place is so incredibly difficult. Who could have imagined returning to a life you left behind and trying to jump back into things would be even harder? I feel as though I was dropped into this limbo space where I'm not at school, but I'm not really home either, because I missed so much and we all know it's temporary. Of course everyone has loved having me back and I've made some great memories this summer. I've been so grateful to spend time with people who mean the world to me. Yet, I often feel alone. When I'm at work surrounded by a hundred other servers, or out dancing on Friday nights, or curling up with my mom to watch a movie. It all feels a world away. Like I'm not really here. And I'm scared going back to school is going to feel the same way.
I don't want to feel like this anymore. This feeling of isolation. Of silence in my soul. It's impossible to describe. But as I sit here writing all this at four in the morning in an empty house, feeling completely lost without my parents (they're out of town) or anyone else around me, I'm holding back tears. With all this uncertainty in my life right now, as far where I belong or what I should do next, I know one thing for sure: I don't ever want to be alone. I need people. I need support. I can't do this on my own.
If you know me even a little bit, you know how extremely hard that is for me to admit. I like to pretend I'm completely self-sufficient and independent and I don't need anyone's help, but it's not true. This dream I have of being an awesome businesswoman with an amazing career and nothing holding me back has suddenly been shattered. Not that I can't have all of that and companionship, too. It's just, my head has been telling me for years, "I don't need a man or family to be happy--all that fluff is just a plus and if it comes along, swell. But if not, oh well. I'm not going to go chasing it down with the risk of never attaining it. That would hurt more: to desire something you can't have versus choosing to live without it." And now suddenly, my heart is saying, "I want love. I want marriage. I want a family."
Blech. Just admitting all that makes me feel gross inside. I have issues.
I am not at all suggesting I'm ready for that stuff. I'm only 19. I won't be ready for awhile. But I do know things are starting to shift in my life. I'm growing up, and I guess that means it's time to start thinking about these things.
I've had a life policy for the last few years to just to do my best to survive: care a little less, avoid trouble, and know that nothing really matters in the end, so maybe have a little fun along the way. I've been trying to dance through life. Dance makes everything better. That's something the Dance Syndicate taught me. But then I realized...it takes two to dance. You can't do it alone. You have to trust your partner; you have to rely on them. And in the end, that's what makes the dance so enjoyable.
I don't know what to expect this year at BYU. I don't really know how or where I fit in right now. I don't know where I'll be in a year. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly I want out of this life; I have an idea, but I still have so much to learn. I do know, whatever it is, I'll get there. With the help of others, I can do it. I'm planning on it. I'm planning for uncertainty. I'm planning for growth. I'm planning for adventure.
I plan on dancing through life.