Walls of the Deepest Blue

Main Entry: departure
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: deviation from normal, expected
Synonyms: aberration, branching off, branching out, change, declination, deflection, difference, digression, divergence, diversion, in thing, innovation, last word, latest thing, new wrinkle, novelty, rambling, shift, straying, turning, variance, variation, veering, wandering
Antonyms: abidance, continuation, keeping, stay
Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition
Copyright © 2011 by the Philip Lief Group.

I’ve made a decision. The planets aligned, the doors opened and it’s just simply time. I’m moving to Cleveland. Yes, Cleveland. Reason being is that I can take up stakes and go a few doors east because I eat, sleep and breathe Chicago. I’ve done so since I was old enough to hold my father’s hand through the city streets when he took me to work with him at five years old. I learned then how to move at a city pace;  to stand right and walk left, how to hunch my shoulders and put on a hard look to keep the crazies away while on public transit.

But you know what? I don’t want to walk around hunched and frowned. Or, what I should say, is that I want to take a break from it. I don’t have an end date or a grand plan, what it amounts to is that it’s all not here and I’ve been swirling around in the same fruitless eddy for years. For those that ask incredulously, “CLEVELAND?! WHY?!” I find myself saying the same things: that it’s the first adult decision I’ve made that has nothing to do with a relationship (read: guy) and it feels so much more that I’m going toward something and not running away from another. It feels right.

But yet, I’m still moving two states away. I’m leaving my family which includes five beautiful and sweet nieces and nephews, behind. Several friends including a best friend, several new friends including someone who loves Morrissey as much as I do and another who is one of those people that a person meets and within one quick conversation, were kindred. The goodbyes haven’t started yet so while I’m starting to amass boxes for packing, that’s about as real as it’s gotten so far.

What has gotten me, really gotten me in all this, has been the outpouring of support. There are only two people in my life (aside from my suspiciously quiet mother and sisters) who have given me any kind of grief over this decision. Everyone for the most part, has been amazingly supportive and I don’t know why that affects me so much. Did I expect them to yell at me? Disapprove? Tell me I was making a huge mistake? None of them have. A few have asked, basically, if I’m sure and many would feel better if I had a concrete plan (read: job) but then we start talking about it and it becomes clear how positive I feel and suddenly they’re on board with me.

An entry I just wrote for a Note on Facebook says it better than the above ramblings so I’m just going to copy and paste it for you here, sorry for the repeated thoughts:

*****

It’s high time I answer this in one fell swoop considering I field it every day since the announcement (not just to you on Facebook, but in life).

Allow me to answer the most frequent questions:

  • No, it is not because of a breakup/guy/failure/fear of relationship
  • No, I don’t have a job lined up there yet but I have several leads and connections
  • I will be living with friends in their spare bedroom until I get my own feet under me
  • I don’t know how long I’ll be there
  • I’m leaving October 2 or 3, depending on a potential road trip partner’s schedule
  • Yes, I’ve been there lots and know the lay of the land
  • Yes, I’m excited
  • No, I’m not scared
  • Yes, I am really going

The last time I moved in this way was for college, to Arizona. I was 21 and I had the full support (in all aspects) of my parents. While it was a major move with no hope of a six-hour Megabus ride home, it was the most pivotal thing I’d ever done (arguably, to date). It was the ultimate reset button to my brain, body and soul. I grew leaps and bounds from that experience and almost none of it had to do with the University. I’d been content to travel since then, I didn’t feel the need to make a major life move, until recently.

Sitting at a friend’s kitchen table having a very late night conversation, recounting the past year’s successes (a few) and failures (more) I explained that I’d felt that nothing was clicking. Not that it was wrong per se, just more that it wasn’t clicking. Something was off and I didn’t know what it was. At some point, she conveyed the following life-changing truism: “You know, you don’t have to stay there [Chicago]”, followed by the offer of temporary housing.

It was as if I’d been slapped.

Suddenly whatever veil had been in front of me was gone and there it was. The fact. I didn’t have to stay in Chicago. How liberating! I could pick up and do something different! Why hadn’t I thought of that? Within six hours after that conversation, I’d made the decision. Moving was the best option.

Now let me be clear: it is not running away. It is moving towards. If this option would have been presented to me a year ago, three years ago, five years ago, it would never have taken. Nothing was in place for me to go. At this point though, as I’ve said to several of you, it’s like every door is opening. I have to move out of my apartment. I’d like to find a job that isn’t waiting tables and may have *gasp* benefits. I love my friends and family here, but I know that if I leave them they will still be here when I return. I’m excited to begin spending steady time with friends I’d only really ever get to see twice or three times a year thanks to the scooter scene and occasional visits. I love Chicago, it’s the only city I’ve really ever known, but it’s time to explore something different. It’s simply time.

The support shown about this has been overwhelming. There were several people I expected to resist and a few really have while some are strangely silent, but overall everyone that has heard these thoughts have been amazing. I don’t know why it surprises me so much to have that level of support, but it continually does. In another time, it would have given me pause. Could I leave such good people? I’d hesitate. But in this case, every hand on the back or excited clap pushes me forward. I know it’s the right thing and I haven’t been able to say that about very many decisions in years. It also makes me seriously reconsider the 391 people on my friends list. There is nothing like a major life happening to show you who your friends are. And aren’t.

There’s a song by a band called Deathcab For Cutie (who I like really only in part, they’re pretty emo) that has a song called “When Your Heart Is An Empty Room” and I’ve sort of adopted it for this experience. Yesterday I was getting my hair cut by my new favorite stylist and as I told her about Cleveland, the album that song is on – “Plans” began to play. Right as she was about to turn on the blow dryer and drown every thought and sound out of the room, the song finished. I had goosebumps all over.

It’s time.

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