I am moving from Northern Alabama to Northern Virginia. I leave Alabama on Sunday, with two cats in the car, and dreams of a bright future. Am I looking forward to moving, yes and no. Moving is a real pain in the ass. Packing your life in boxes and deciding what is important enough to drag along for the ride is rough. Little things have importance, but then you look beyond the stuff and think about what really matters. I have several paintings done by my grandfather when he was in the throes of Parkinsons. The paintings are wobbly landscapes with scattered trees and deep waters. I will forever cherish them. They are all I have left of him. Yet, I also have a tattoo of a stuffed animal he and my grandmother gave me when I was two. So, he will always be with me. So many things don't really matter, stuff doesn't matter, it is just things we drag along behind us because we can't let it go. Why weigh ourselves down with stuff we don't need?
Every piece of stuff we let go of lightens our load. Moving can seem a little like letting part of you die. When we die we leave everything behind. We leave our loved ones behind, all of the stuff we have collected throughout the years, the things that we thought mattered, but doesn't. We start over, in an unknown place, meeting new people and making new friends, which is what happens if you believe in the afterlife. We walk a path unknown to us and hope it leads to happiness.
Moving is also a chance to start a new life, reinvent yourself. At least that is what people keep telling me.
People ask so many questions about moving, like: are you ready? Are you all packed? Are you looking forward to it? Are you ready to be with so and so again? Yet, you know what they don't ask? Are you okay? Do you need anything? If you need anything let me know (and then if they say they need something, follow through). These are the important questions. These are the ones we should ask anyway, whether someone is moving or not.
When I ask someone how they are or if they need anything I mean it. I will follow through with a promise of help. I will provide an ear to listen, and I will refrain from giving advice unless it is wanted. I will just be there to sit in silence and watch a movie if that is what's needed. I am one of those people who has been disappointed so many times, that I don't want to disappoint. I want people to feel like they have someone to count on, I want to be that person people can count on, I want people to know they aren't alone. I guess that is the point of it.
I don't want people to feel alone.
When I moved from Southern California to Northern Alabama I told people that I had two weeks for them to come see me. I told everyone that they could come over any time, because due to packing and cleaning and house preparations I wasn't sure I would have time to meet outside of the house. Some of my friends had viable excuses for not having time to come over. Others made plans then cancelled. Still others didn't even try. It was a lonely time, feeling as if you spent 30 years building a life somewhere only to have one, just one friend, make time to see you before you left. It makes one feel as if they don't matter in the scheme of things. It makes you realize that people, too often, let life get in the way. Life isn't something we just do, it is everything we do, everything we are, everything we can be. We control what we do in our lives, not the other way around.
Now I prepare to leave Northern Alabama. A life I only had two and a half years to make. It has been fun, meeting people, acting, teaching, working in an art studio, learning that Alabama isn't full of rednecks and incest. Alabama is full of interesting people, and variety, and social and racial issues. It has been a learning experience, and I hope that Northern Virginia provides the same exceptional opportunities to learn about life, people, and anything. I'm open.
Moving is hard, it feels like a part of you is constantly in chaos, and maybe part of you is. It feels like you are losing part of yourself, especially if it was unexpected. It is scary. And unless you are moving to escape something, it is always difficult. Honestly, even if you are moving to escape something it is difficult. Moving is an unknown, even if you are moving to be near family, you never know the reception you will receive.
So, here I go. Preparing to leave the home I just finished making my own, two cats in tow, one partner ready to be a couple again, and a life waiting for me to get started.