Ah, defensive explanations of my life choices: I know you so well. This feels exactly like when I first started to tell people the topic I'd chosen for my undergraduate thesis. Once they recovered from the shock and horror that I was Making Poor Life Choices, they just pitied me and wondered why, oh why, they'd ever thought me capable of making those choices on my own in the first place. Here we are, two years later, and while my thesis was a terribly written document that I often question the validity of, I think I would be a markedly different person if I hadn't written it. So...take that?
Re: My Move To Albuquerque, I often hesitate to tell people that my GentlemanCaller lives there, because their reactions are so. freaking. belittling. As such, and in answer to Everyone I Work With (who are all well intentioned, let me state that for the record) I would like to start with a list of reasons I'm not moving to Albuquerque:
- I'm not moving because I'm pregnant.
- I'm not moving because I'm engaged or plan to be as such in the foreseeable future.
- I'm not moving to lose my identity in my BigStrongMAN's job/life/dreams only to wake up 35 years from now to realize, tragically, that I never pursued my own.
- I'm not moving because my identity is already so inexorably tied to that of my BigStrongMAN that I cannot conceptualize life apart from him any longer and dream of a day when I can effectively define myself by him.
- I'm not moving because I need to get laid.
I hope, really and truly, that most of these things come as common sense to those who love me. Of course I am not moving for any of those reasons BECAUSE ALL OF THOSE REASONS ARE DUMB AND/OR INAPPLICABLE TO MY LIFE.Dear People Who Love Me: I know I've struggled to pick "winners," if you will, when it comes to the men on whom I often lavish affection. That being said: please stop freaking out and assuming I've lost my autonomy because you've learned I'm dating someone. It is insulting.
Reasons I am moving to Albuquerque:
- I currently live 10 minutes away from both of my parents, in the town in which I grew up, which is only 2 hours away from the college I attended. I think my horizons need a little expanding.
- I have struggled, immensely, to make a life for myself which I like here. The difficulties I've had building a social network in the 'Noke are almost cripplingly depressing some days. Despite how much I truly love the few friends I've managed to secure, I think I need to try my hand in a bigger area where there's a possibility of meeting and making more friends.
- My position was cut by the school system, due to extreme budgetary issues. I moved back to Roanoke for this position more than for any other reason, and without it staying here seems weird.
- The other position I could seek within this system, while exciting on many fronts, is ultimately a terrible personality fit for me. When I am least happy in my current job is when I feel most isolated and least like a member of a team. This new position would be far more isolated than my current one, a fact which I know would be very hard for me to stomach on a daily basis.
- I used to dream of spending some time in my life in the WildWildWest - and I think Albuquerque's breathtaking mesas and yawning deserts fit that bill. It is totally different from anything with which I'm remotely familiar, and that excites me for the same reasons the thought of living in the DC-Metro area is skin-crawlingly-horrible to me. DC, for all it's perks, seems so familiar it makes me feel like crying. Albuquerque, though, is a completely different kind of adventure than I'm used to.
- Everything fell into place, once I started looking. Months ago, I was merely tossing the idea of moving to Albuquerque around. Honestly, I expected I'd spend a summer there then go off to somewhere like New York to face destitution on those hard streets. As soon as I mentioned to pertinent people, however, that I was merely considering a Southwestern re-location, even temporarily, things started clicking. I effortlessly found a roommate: another Wahoo and a brother from APO. I immediately clicked with a friend-of-a-friend who wants to bring me into her social group. I befriended a man who works for the University from which I'm seeking employment who decided, after our brief plane ride together, that he wants to help me get a job. Every tentative step I took in the direction of Albuquerque was met with Fanfare From The Universe - a sign if I ever saw one.
- I might get to have a lot of Deaf friends. My now-friend Lesley and her boyfriend are both ASL interpreters and most of their other friends are Deaf or at least sign. I'm incredibly excited about becoming closer friends with Lesley, and the possibility of getting to truly learn a language which challenged and intrigued me so much when I studied it in college.
- I'm really, really, unhappy with where my life is right now and, ultimately, feel like I need to move. I know moving doesn't solve anything a vast majority of the time, but I also know that I'll wonder obsessively until I try. That being said, I know one of my criteria for moving is that I need to move somewhere which seems to promise a social support system. After much hemming and hawing, the two cities which emerged as most likely to provide the both the move and the support I need were New York and Albuquerque.
- My decision to go to Albuquerque was, honestly, as much a decision not to go to NYC as it was anything else. New York houses two of the few people in this world who call me a "best friend," a fact exceptional enough that it doesn't escape my notice. I also don't believe, as many of those who love me do, that NYC would "chew me up and spit me out" or, even, be that harsh and unforgiving - in large part because I know it is home to people who love me. However, I also know that if I were to move to New York I would not particularly want to get a Real Job. I would want to nanny, to work at Starbucks, to join interesting writers circles and tag along to the slam poetry scene. I know this, because when I think about jobs in New York, I think "9-5. Ew." I also know that, at some point, I would start to feel my own directionlessness, and I have a pretty good idea that I wouldn't have undergone nearly as much learning and growing as I'd want to, and that would ultimately be a bad scene. For me, right now, moving to New York is like moving to Neverland: it's a place where you never have to grow up, ever. I am not positive that's what I need in my life right now.
- Yeah, Mike's in Albuquerque, and I hate that people judge me for that. I hate how often people point out that we might break up, mere seconds after my arrival in the state of New Mexico. I hate that people sigh and look like "there goes another good one" when they think I'm uprooting my whole life, practicality be damned, to be with a boy. I hate that my mother thinks I'm choosing some passing crush over career advancement in my home town. He's the reason I started looking at Albuquerque in the first place, sure, but he's not the reason I'm moving. I hate that if Mike lived in New York or Boston or San Francisco, no one would think twice about my move - because those are cities already imbued with senses of adventure in our collective cultural consciousness.
Am I moving to the city in which my GentlemanCaller lives? Sure. Am I moving there for him? Oh. Heck. No. I am moving for me, because I need to move, and because I am excited about this as the move for me, and because I want to. I struggle with how to convey this to people, with how to drive home the point that the GC was a mitigating factor, but not the deciding one.
I hear, from the depths of my MiddleSchoolBrain, a 14-year-old Carly telling me to not care what other people think. As a 14-year-old, I found that philosophy as frustrating as I find it a decade later. I care what people think, because I know they care for me.
Dear The World: I know you're only looking out for my best interests but please, please, please believe me when I say that I am too.