I’m going to say some things that are going to break a few people’s hearts but I feel like if you don’t know this by now.. well, I can’t really help you.
Since I moved to California, a short 9 months ago, people always ask me the same thing,
“Meg, when are you coming back?”
The truth is guys, if my life goes as planned (which HA! When does that ever happen… but seriously.) I don’t plan on ever moving back to Kansas. I know that’s hard to hear, and moving on isn’t easy but for me, Kansas City represents a – very hard, confusing, sad but beautiful in it’s own way– time in my life, that I have no desire to go back to. Don’t get me wrong, I had a lot of good times at my little apartment off of the plaza, maybe a few too good times but I think I can say mostly.. I spent my time in Kansas City– holding my breath for something better.
And now, I can say with absolute certainty, I made the right choice, leaving when I did. I look back and see not much has changed since I left, the same people do the same things at the same places (which is fine) but also comforting to me that it’s no longer home for me.
And it makes me think of the first time I convinced someone of ever just up and moving to California with me.
It’s the reason Dylan and I were ever roommates in the first place.
We sat in the Bourgeious Pig in the dimly lit bar drinking coffee and talking about things abstractly like maybe and someday and not really believing it but still talking about it like it gave us some direction because we NEEDED some direction. California was the answer to my impending misery that I knew graduation was going to bring me. And I remember that was the first time we really talked about it like it was a real thing.
And then we kind of got lost in our senior year. And I really got lost. By the time I came up for air, it was the day after graduation, and all of a sudden, someday and maybe was now. I didn’t plan for some of the things that happened during my second semester. I didn’t plan to get even more attached to the place I knew I had to let go of. To certain people. But you can’t plan these things. Ce La Vie and all that shit.
I held California at an arms length. No way in hell was I ready to move yet. I couldn’t. I wouldn’t. I was staying in bed until someone removed the sheets and dragged me to the floor.
Right after we graduated, we sat on the front steps of her porch in Lawrence and talked about our plan. I skirted the issue that I was scared as shit for the rest of my life and the clear-cut answer here was to stay as close to Lawrence as possible because ripping off the bandaid of college would kill me.
So with the somedays and maybes of California as our blessing, we moved into a postage stamp apartment off of the plaza in KC. I painted us a chalkboard wall. We got pottery barn shelves. We watched greys anatomy on our couch and pretended our lives were a little more together than they actually really were. I spent my nights in a variety of peoples homes befriending their children and eating leftovers from their fridges. I got horrible food poisoning on Halloween and was forced to be DD. I was pulled over and the officer made me do a sobriety test in my Little Red Riding Hood outfit. Dylan dressed like a carrot.
A sad little confused family.
But hey, it worked.
I remember the night I decided to move. It was so deliciously crazy. I was so sick of being immobile. Of being stagnant. Of being half of myself. Of waiting on people in my life who weren’t ever coming back. I’d finally hit that wall. I was ready.
But I hesitated for 2 major reasons.
1- I was pretty sure my parents were going to kill me. Hey! Mom and Dad? I am going to go ahead and move to California and be a nanny for a family in Malibu. Ok? Soooo, see ya later ok? Mom? Why are you turning blue!?
And 2- Dylan.
See the thing is, we had an agreement. We were going together. We were in this sad little weird in-between awkward stage together! We had eachother’s backs. We had seen each other at our worst. I would say we had seen eachother at our best.. but let’s just say we knew the best was in front of us. So telling this person in my life, who had become my sister, my other half, that I was ditching her for my own thing– that was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
We didn’t talk for like 5 days. It felt like a year. But there wasn’t anything to say. I was leaving and it was selfish and painful and there weren’t enough words on the planet to explain myself. I knew I was doing the right thing but it didn’t change the fact that there was a feeling of abandonment just hanging in the air between us.
We had a final dinner at a place saturated in the color orange. It was delicious. The food.. not the color.
We were full.
The day I left I gave her an orange pillow. She gave me a scarf. And I cried the second she closed the door to go to work. I knew it was the last time I would live in Kansas City. This place was a tomb to the part of my life I wasn’t proud of. It wasn’t the person I liked or wanted to be, it was just me trying to be someone before I could become myself. I stared at my chalkboard wall willing myself to just fall into it until I was ready to resurface and maybe I wouldn’t hurt people with my actions.
But it was what it was, and I shut the door and brought the key to the leasing office and started up my car.
I stopped at the med school and said goodbye to my friend Julia, and gave her probably the best monologue of my life about being strong and doing things because it’s her life and heartbreak and god it was right out of a movie! In reality– I probably scared everyone else in the lobby but GET TO WORK, YOU’RE IN MED SCHOOL!
Then, I really, really left.
I can’t even remember the song I listened to as I did. I felt emotionally raw. I was hopeful. And terrified. But it felt right.
I stopped in Lawrence.
I parked right in front of the Wheel and bought a shirt. And I desperately wanted someone to be there that I knew.. but it was a Tuesday. And there was only a few people inside. But maybe that’s for the best. Right before I left, I stood in the doorway and took it all in, in one big sweeping breath, I soaked it all up. Because honestly, I didn’t know when I’d be back. And I feel like I wasn’t the first person to do that. Someone else somewhere in the past has done the same thing. That made me feel a little better.
I’m going to wear this shirt the second I get to California. To remind everyone that I’m not going to forget where I came from and what I left behind. And I’m going to take a picture to prove it.
And I did.
And then I drove to Colorado. I hate that drive. But I didn’t really this time. I think it might be the last time I ever make it. I called a few people. I listened to a lot of music. I went a little crazy like I always do. I stared at myself in the mirror and thought I looked pretty good for a crazy person. I thought about Dylan coming home that night and felt my stomach ache.
Friendships are interesting. Proximity is huge. But not necessarily necessary. I discovered right after graduation that I could live in the same city from someone and never hear from them and yet talk every week with a friend who moved thousands of miles away.
I learned that in moving to California too. Certain relationships instantly died. Maybe our friendship was one of convenience and when we lost our physical closeness, we lost our reason to keep in touch. Who knows? All I know is that certain people keep calling. And those are the people you keep in your life regardless of how far they are from you. A zillion things could happen, but when you talk, you pick up right where you left off. It’s effortless. It’s easy. It’s comforting. Especially when relationships here can get lonely. It’s nice to know that person on the other end of the phone will pick up. And still care. And tell you it will all be ok. And they don’t have to physically hold you to feel like they hold a piece of your heart. They got you, You know? No matter what.. they have you.
Now, I’m lucky. I have a few people like that in my life. But one person in particular, has been my no-matter-what-friend.
Which is why I’m so happy and excited to welcome my other half– to join me in the great state of California in just 2 weeks.
You did it Dylan!
I’m so proud of you.
To my very best friend and the next adventure in her life…