Unexpected Closure

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Letting go

I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell my story, and why I felt such a need to tell it, for at least a year now. Nothing really seemed to work or feel right. At least until a certain concert I went to that inexplicably sparked something in my mind that caused the pieces to fall into place. Suddenly, I couldn’t stop writing. I’d been reminded of my roots, of the ways in which my voice is strongest, and it finally felt right, and safe, to say what I needed to.

In telling the story, I wasn’t sure what I hoped to accomplish. I just knew that it needed to come out, one way or another. A couple of nights ago, I finished the first draft of that story and I was surprised to feel not just nervous that people would actually be reading it soon, but also an overwhelming sense of peace. Peace and confidence and serenity that I haven’t felt in almost 5 years.

It will be 5 years since the assault happened next month. Every year I’ve done something on or around the university to take back my power of that day and try to prevent myself from succumbing to the painful memories that can sometimes surface. Last year, I forgot there was an anniversary at all, something I considered, and still do, a victory in and of itself.

This year it seems the anniversary will bring about a piece of work written in my blood and tears. It’s honestly probably the piece I’m most proud of to date. More importantly, writing it brought closure. I can’t tell you what it means to finally feel like I can close the door behind me on this chapter in my life when for years I didn’t think it would be possible to go more than a day without thinking about it, hurting from it.

But that’s what happened. When I came to the end of the word document that held everything I’d gone through…I felt closure. I felt like I can finally move on.

I’ve been wondering at times what the purpose in my coming to Texas was when I’m just going back home to Indy in March, but now I think I know. I needed this. I needed to get away from all of the monsters that held me hostage before, come to a new, untainted environment, and find my voice again.

And I did. I found it, and I’m proud of it, and I’m so incredibly happy that as some sort of miraculous bonus, I’ve finally found closure. I can finally go home feeling happier and lighter than I have in years, and I am so grateful and excited for this next chapter.

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Ready for the road home…

A Date with Dragons

After living in Texas since June 1, 2017, I’ve decided to go back to Indiana. It hasn’t been an easy choice at all. I love Austin a lot. I feel like I can breathe here and I’ve been really happy here and am proud of myself for making a life here. I’ve also had the chance to learn a lot about myself since I moved, and one thing that I learned is that my family and friends mean more to me than I realized.

I love it here, but I feel like I’m missing a limb, like a huge chunk of myself is just absent. It took me a little while to come to the realization that I can live with an Austin-shaped hole in my life (as long as I still get to visit!), but I can’t live with a family/friend-shaped hole.

It turns out though, that even while I feel like this is right decision in my gut, I’m still apprehensive. I left Indiana at a time when I was suffocating and could barely hold myself up. The few months I spent before I left at my brother’s house helped for sure, but the time before that, in the apartment by myself, I was followed constantly by a storm cloud that I thought would eventually drown me.
So, now I find myself going back and a small, irrational part of me is scared. I’m worried that the anxiety and crippling depression I left behind is waiting for me, a 70-foot dragon waiting at the state line just daring me to cross.

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It scares me. I’m worried I won’t be able to breathe there. I’m worried the depression will come back when I cross back into Indy’s borders, like shrugging on an old heavy coat. I’m afraid everything will be the same.

But I also know that this is something I need to do. That while I’m safe here in Austin, I need to face the demons and dragons I left behind to show that I really have grown. Because the fact is, things won’t be the same in Indy when I get back, simply because I’M not the same.

So, March 2018, I face the dragon.
(and who knows, maybe it’ll end up looking like this guy)
toothless

Community. 

When someone finds out I’m moving, they often ask me “why” or “what’s in Texas?” And I haven’t been able to give much of an answer outside of “it’s not Indiana” or “I’ve always wanted to live somewhere else.”

The closer the move gets too, I find myself checking and double checking my reasons for wanting to go so badly. It isn’t like being in a new state, in a new city, is going to solve my depression. It isn’t like it’ll be easy or that I know that many people there, or all of my Trump anxieties will disappear. So why do it? What am I hoping to find there that I haven’t been able to get here? 

The answer is community. A support system of some sort. Friends. Human connections that have evaded me in so many ways in the life I live in Indiana. 

The times in my life when I have been the happiest and the most fulfilled, besides when writing of course, were times when I belonged to a group or had a small network of friends. When I was part of a dance company. When I was a youth at IYG after I came out. When I accidentally stumbled upon two great people who eventually became close friends. When I’m surrounded by friends and family at my second family’s house. When I was unofficially adopted into a big loud family that loved me as much as I loved them. 

People come and go, I know that as well as anyone, and because I know it so well, I have a hard time trusting people. For instance, I have friends in TX, but already I’m afraid of burdening them, of wanting to hang out too much or saying the wrong thing or just not being good enough in general. I’m already anticipating the day when our friendship ends. I’m already anticipating the day I form a new group of friends I haven’t met yet that then will at some point also dissolve and leave me right back where I started. By myself. 

I’ve done everything in power over the past 3 years to make sure I can survive with only myself to count on. Now I know I can. But I also know that being that alone, that lonely, changes something in a person. We are solitary creatures by nature. We, I, need to feel like I have support and a sense of belonging to thrive. 

So that’s what I’m looking for. Maybe I’ll find it, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ve been alone too long already and broke the part of me that used to relate to people and therefore will have to live like this forever. I’m not gonna lie to you, I don’t know if that’s something I can do. But there’s no reason to worry about that yet. 

I have to go down there first.

I have to at least try.