there's a funny thing that happens when you see a friend from back home for the first time in a year since you left: it feels like no time has passed at all, and yet you feel like a completely different person.
somewhere in the middle of getting drunk by the pool in one hundred degree weather and a tattoo convention, i had the epiphany that i'm just not that angry anymore. (cue this little interlude by paramore.) i'm not sure when it happened, but if i had to guess it was sometime in between coming back from LA, galavanting off into the joshua tree wilderness, and having to fight for the right to just freaking be me again this spring. was it the day i stopped thinking about texting someone who didn't care one tiny ounce about me? was it the day i told all of my girlfriends i was sorry because they had all been so right for so long? was it the day i sat by a creek holding a PBR in freezing cold water staring at a beautiful man getting a sunburn? was it the day that i realized i could make it through this arizona summer without losing my mind completely? i have no idea. but here's the thing: it happened and i don't even think i had any idea at the time.
chris and i have been friends for somewhere around ten years, he was a huuuuge supporter of me getting out of town and figuring my life out in all of the awesome ways, and he has been around for more conversations about weird crap that felt like the world was ending when it definitely was not. (plus sometimes he tattoos me.) its no wonder we were able to pick up like a year had not passed. that kind of familiar face and comfort and general easiness had been slightly lost on me this year... and it was awesome to spend a weekend watching him paint in a convention center full of freaks all trying to out-freak each other.
anna and i have been friends for less than two years, but when two maine girls end up in arizona within a year of each other, you kind of bond no matter what. she gets me. we get each other. we can talk about dudes, or we can talk about makeup, or we can talk about the harder parts of life like being away from home (since we have the same one). my girl friends here in AZ are each over an hour away from me, but sometimes its like a kick to the face when i'm reminded they're indeed here. spending the weekend with her was much needed and a good introduction to PHX, even though i didn't get a chance to see much of the city. she loaned me things like sunblock and didn't judge me when i admitted silly things that other people would scoff at.
these are the kinds of friends i am becoming increasingly aware that i have and ever more grateful for. these and a few others in my life are reminders that the feeling of needing drama in my relationships in order to feel like something significant is happening are gone. it makes me feel old, but it also makes me feel wise(r). (i'm not ready to say that i make all the right choices and don't invite in any kind of weirdness or drama ever, because come on, we all do it. chris and i had a long talk one morning this past weekend about how everyone's lives are just f-ed up in some way, and if we would all just admit that and move on it wouldn't be so difficult.)
i met a few cool new people and wandered around the convention feeling incredibly under-tattooed to be in a crowd like that, which is usually kind of the opposite. in that crowd i stood out for looking pretty averagely normal. that was fun to experience again, its been a long time since pre-dyed hair and pre-tattoos.
i think the thing about life these days for me that makes me want to feel better is that i'm learning how to accept that not everything is a damn competition. how we dress, how we work, how we love. i still look at other women or other blogs or other whatever and think about what my life is like in contrast to theirs, how theirs must be better or more interesting, but i think feeling less angry about everything and everyone and my interactions with or without them means i must be happier. i think its normal to want to peek in like a voyeur at what someone else is up to to see if you measure up. i'm still sometimes surprised when i realize i'm not really missing much out there, that i'm doing okay here and that some things just really aren't as amazing as i picture them to be in my head. real life, ya'll. we're just living it. ain't no thang.
so here's the deal. i just saw friends that i hadn't seen in a year. in just a couple of weeks i'll be going back to maine for a long weekend to see the rest. how much different is that going to feel?! and what will it feel like coming back here to arizona knowing i won't see them again for likely even longer next time? and how okay am i looking ahead with my eye on the prize into the next year or two or five without any clue who will still be around or who will come/go... well, two months ago i never thought i'd be able to stand on my head. today i added in another move that makes it even more difficult, and even though i fell over twice before i got it right, i got it right. and the metaphors are everywhere lately.
i can be as metaphoric or poetic or cliche as i want about things, but the bottom line is this: yes, i've changed a lot in the past year. yes, its taken some shit to get me this far. yes, i still wake up and want to change some things and honestly i will wait as long as i have to to see if they will change on their own first, but i've become much more proactive. i've become a lot more honest even though some things haunt me. and i've gotten a lot stronger. i'm really not that scared anymore. and i'm certainly not as angry. my body talks to me differently now, and i listen. i try to voice things i never would have voiced before. and sometimes, sometimes i have to stop myself from apologizing.
so to my soul sister in LA that i haven't seen in what feels like ages, i miss you.
to my parents and brother and family and grandmothers and friends and old coworkers, i miss you.
to my sisterfriend that i haven't seen in just a couple of weeks, i miss you.
to the one traveling and somehow still magically saying a few things here and there, i miss you.
but i'm not sorry... and whether its been ten days or three months or a year, we'll see each other soon. i'm excited to see all of the ways you have changed, too.... and for all of the change, there are so many things i hope have stayed exactly the same. xo