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Head Above Water

My 6 word memoir: One foot out the door again

I bought my ticket to Australia last week. On December 29, 2012 I will leave Hawai'i, my 16th home, to travel to a country where I know NO ONE. Drum roll. This part of the plan just hit me yesterday. I've spent the last 5 years traveling the world, networking with people from all over so that I would have a hand up for my next move. But, instead of taking advantage of my vast connections throughout the USA, I have decided to go to the one place where I have no resources whatsoever. Come on Annabelle.
Don't get me wrong, I am ecstatic about moving. Not only have I always wanted to go to Australia, but I am moving to a place that already speaks my language, and has a culture familiar to Hawaii's. On top of that, everyone I have ever met from Australia is outgoing, friendly, and extremely attractive in that we-make-English-sound-so-much-better kind of way. I am simply noting that there is a small chance my heart may get trampled, where I may then embark on a walkabout, lose all of my clothes, and slip slowly into a heavy case of manic depression. I'm trying to keep a brighter outlook though. Zac seems to have finally succumbed to my voodoo, and I could not be more pleased with the boyfriend beside me. That being said, I just don't know if I've ever been so nervous before.

Since I was a young girl, moving has always excited me. It means a fresh start, a new landscape, and friends I can't wait to fall in deep "like" with. But, the older and more experienced me keeps reminding me that it also means having to start from square one again. It means spreading myself even thinner to those new friends I will make. It means missing everyone from the last place I lived, and not having an "in" anywhere I go. It means lots of nights during the first few months making dinner for myself, sitting at the bar alone, and having no one to talk to who knows the first thing about my life beforehand.

When I was 18 I moved to Hawai'i with a boy named Dan Walker. In retrospect, the two of us are extremely grateful for what that experience gave us. But if we are being honest here, it was also one of the hardest things I have ever gone through. Moving there with him employed a dependency neither one of us foresaw. The stress of not knowing anyone and having to find new jobs in a place we didn't know took a major toll on our relationship, and eventually put an end to what was once the best thing our lives. Back then, I remember feeling so lonely for the 6 months following the split that I didn't know what else to do, except sit at home every night watching movies and eating rice bowls. Loneliness is the thing I fear most in this world, and this trip means new potential for that.

Sandra, my mother, would tell me not to live in fear right now. She would tell me to run at this with open arms and without reservations, because at the end of our lives, we measure life by the risks we took. I'm trying to heed her advice, but I worry people are going to wonder what I'm doing there. I'm afraid my answer isn't as foolproof as I'd like it to be. The truth is, I am moving there because it's the only thing that interests me right now. I don't want to dive into grad school, or learn a new language. I don't want to stay in Hawai'i or go back to Colorado. I don't want to settle for what I have already seen, or join AmeriCorps. I'm making it sound like I chose this from a process of elimination, and I can't really say that isn't true. This isn't the first time I've bet on the unknown. I just don't want to set myself up to hit the ground as hard as I did before.

I'm trying to find a way to be more prepared for this, which is useless since I know nothing about the future, or about Australia. The only thing I know anything about is Zac, and that's frightening as fuck. I don't want to pressure him into feeling responsible for my happiness when I'm down there. A few weeks ago we were talking on my back patio about what this would mean… me coming to Ausland. I could see this fear in his eyes as he told me he doesn't want to disappoint me. It was then that I realized he was feeling the same pressure that I felt with Dan. Dan had moved to Hawai'i to be with me. When our relationship ended, I felt this overwhelming guilt for inviting him to move his entire life just to spend more time together. It took me months to realize that the choice was his, and that he wouldn't have come if it wasn't something he wanted to do in the first place. So, out on the porch, I told Zac just that. This is my decision. I am not his responsibility, and I am not going down there under any false pretenses of a promise. I don't even want a promise. All I want, is to try. Because this is the best relationship I have ever had, and I want to ride it while the ride is good. If it ends, I want to know that it's because of more than just geography.

Besides, Zac doesn't have a clue as to what he is doing with his life either. When we tell each other that, we don't feel like disappointments. We don't feel like children, or bums. I feel really safe in his uncertainty, and I guess I'm just trying to find a way to feel safe in my own.

Posted by Further 00:20 Archived in USA Tagged ghosts courage uncertainty loneliness

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