to me that is. Today marks the 14th Anniversary of moving to Texas. On July 25, 2000, I got on a plane in Detroit Michigan, where it was a balmy 74 degrees and headed southbound to Austin Texas. Upon landing, I specifically remember the temperature being 113. Welcome to Texas!
The decision to move to Texas was a complicated one. I knew I wanted to go to Austin to live with my best friend, but my Grandma was in the final stages of a very long debilitating illness. I spoke to my Grandma about moving on what would be the last time I would see her, and she looked at me and said “Go. It’s going to be ok.” My mom and I were in shock- Grammy hadn’t said much for days. She had been partaking in a particularly strong morphine cocktail at that point. I couldn’t bring myself to leave until she had passed. The next day, July 17th, we got the call.
The wheels were in motion. I don’t remember much of the following week. Funeral, packing, booking flights. I know these things all happened, but I have no memory of the specifics.
Life in Michigan for the past year wasn’t great. I had ended a really bad, no good relationship with someone much older than me. The details don’t matter much now, but let’s just say I learned lessons that will stick with me for the rest of my life. In any relationship, there should be kindness, honestly, and a desire for each person to grow. Words should not be used as weapons, nor fists. Leaving that guy was the best thing I could do. HOWEVER… that meant I had to go stay with my parents.
For those of you that know me in real life, my relationship with my parents at that point was strained. Strained isn’t the right word. Let’s just say it was pretty Effed Up. In retrospect, my parents had a point about the ex, and I was stubborn and stupid. They helped me move out and get the hell out of that situation, and forever will I be thankful for my dad hauling my crap down stairs and my 5’3 mom looking at HIM and saying “you need to leave.”
I knew that living at my parents house wasn’t sustainable, but I didn’t really have a job that I liked (I was working at a restaurant, and another retail place at this point), I had a small stash of money, and a best friend who lived in Austin.
For the first time, my best friend suggested “why don’t you come down here?” This would not be the last time she offered me respite, but it was the most important.
A week after my Grammy passed, I packed up what little shit I owned and I was on a plane.
When I landed at Austin/Bergstrom, Caren was waiting for me in the baggage area. I knew this was a new start. A fresh beginning.
When we got in the car, she played this song- until the day I die, this song will always hold a special place in my heart:
The past 14 years have been an adventure. I’ve made some magnificent mistakes, celebrated some amazing successes. I’ve loved, lost and built over. And over. And over. I’ve fallen on my ass more times than I care to admit. Each time however, I got up and started again. I’ve had scary health things. I’ve lost jobs. Gotten jobs. Left Jobs. Started new companies. I’ve built a delicious circle of friends that expands and contracts over time. I’ve held babies, cried for the unborn ones, and dreamed of what my life could be.
So here I am, 14 years later, sitting in my little house, still in Texas, although not in Austin. I am listening to my big yellow lab snoring, preparing for a day of Pinky & the Brain-like world domination. It’s going to be over 100 degrees today, and as I started cursing wildly at the weather man this morning, I laughed and said “At least it won’t be 113.”
A few thank you’s:
To Caren. My sister from another mother, my rock, my best friend. Amazing.
To John: To my doltish Jackass who has always been a shoulder to cry on, and who told me to throw away the ugly yoga pants. You have kept me going.
To Macklin: Thank you for helping me get my first apartment on my own. 14 years later, you lead me to a path of independence. I thank you.
To Danielle & Chrissie- My Austin Sisters. You let me hide out at your house when I need it. You have taught me the ways of a good mimosa. You make me relish girls weekend and just being me. You have shown me kindness and love and that girls can be batshit crazy about football without it being weird.
To Kim: Thank you for helping me build a life up here. Appreciate it sister!
To Heather: I will always be your PR rep.
To Anne: Oh Anne. You might not be in Texas, but your heart is bigger than Texas and you supported my decision to get my ASS BACK TO TEXAS in 2008.
To the countless others that I can’t name because this would be the longest blog post in the history of mankind. Each person I’ve met over the 14 years has added richness to my life. We might not always get along, but we all add something to this crazy experience we call life.