Let me tell you something that cliche’ Pinterest quotes and stylish travelers (whose biggest claim to fame is an overly active Instagram account) neglect to tell you. It takes a lot of courage to take ownership of your own life.
Before I moved I was absolutely terrified to leave…half of the time I didn’t even know why. I was afraid of change, I was afraid of distance and that I wouldn’t make friends. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to temper my tongue in an unfamiliar social climate and manage to get myself into actual trouble rather than the series of funny stories my biting sarcasm had earned me over the years. I was afraid of the heat and getting lost on the other side of the country with no one to call when I was hypothetically in the middle of nowhere with no sense of direction and a possible flat tire. I was so scared that shortly before I left I laid on the floor and starred at the ceiling and prayed that my God, and any other source of good energy that was paying attention would kick my nerve into high gear. See, you have to understand, I have never been a fearful person. I may have always been calculated, but for the most part I would look at my odds and say “screw it i’m doing it anyway.” This kind of fear was new to me. It took me some time to realize that my fears were more based off of what I do know about the world than what I don’t. And when I got here, a lot of my fears were confirmed; where I now live people are still outwardly misogynistic and racist, a huge problem for a human rights advocate and feminist. It also took me a while to learn that being afraid does not mean that you are not incredibly brave.
I had a lot going on at the time, a long distance relationship that was only made harder by the unpredictability of the military and major time differences, the purchasing of a house, a job that kept me running on average more than 40 hours a week, a move, and then another major move less than a year later, and planning a major life event. When I discussed moving across the country I was often times met with little support and a lot of reasons why I was making the wrong decision for my own life. I heard everything from you need to wait because…(insert reason), to “can’t you stay just a little bit longer?,” to “you don’t know what you are doing.” I even heard, “your fear is trying to tell you something, so listen.” And heck, I certainly won’t blame everyone else’s opinions for why I waited so long, I too had my own reasons for staying. But let me tell you something, fear does not translate to ‘no;’ often times it translates to, ‘good, you respect that which you are about to do.’ It took my best friend and roommate from college having a very real conversation with me, telling me she hated to see me go but that it was time for me to leave, before I really got up and got packing. She was right. There is not a day that goes by where I do not miss her and thank the stars for giving me a friend who encouraged me to go after the life I was afraid of.
But this experience taught me a lot about myself and a lot about other people. I have always been a pretty calculated person, with what I do, how I feel, how I see and respond to the world…this is partly what has made me as successful as I am at this age. But what I learned is that not even the most calculated person (granted I’m equally as emotional as I am calculated) can live their life completely logically. Logically, it made more sense for me not to move across the country, but by fighting where my life was calling me, listening to my own fears and the reservations of others, my mind and heart were constantly at odds. I had a new hurdle to overcome. Instead of just saying ‘ok here I go,’ for the first time in my life I had to deal with a real fear and make the decision to say, “ok here I go, I am going to do this afraid.” I figured what I want is on the other side of my fear, and since I cant go around it, and I wouldn’t turn back, I just had to go through it.
Where I sit today (with an oscillating fan, a coors light, and three dogs on my shaded porch) is a direct reflection of deciding not to let other peoples doubts or fears or reservations get in the way of what I wanted. It was time for me to go long before I left, and I have never felt as happy as the moment I got here. My life had been calling me to new challenges for a long time.
So from someone who uprooted and claimed their life in the midst of nay-sayers and personal chaos, have the courage to claim your own life, or change it, or whatever the heck it is you need to do. You are strong enough and smart enough claim your life, so do it. Honor your emotions, and that which you want to achieve, and do it.
Love & Light,
P.S- Two pieces of advice for anyone looking to uproot their life – Tell your loved ones before you go. I told my people before I left, but between the scatter that was my brain and the details of moving from one corner of the country to another, important people got missed and important people got hurt. I don’t regret anything I did or how I did it because I did what I needed to do and it has turned out to be the best decision I have ever made, but my move was really abrupt. I decided to leave, quit my job, and less than three weeks later I was driving across the country. Make sure you tell your loved ones, because even though you are claiming your life ( btw YOU GO GLEN COCOA) it is not the only life you affect. Secondly, never let a person with bad eyebrows tell you shit about life.