I didn’t post on Monday this week because it seemed far more poignant to post today. Not because today is Friday, and not even because I had (and am fairly sure I passed) my first Statistics exam yesterday, but because today is the six year anniversary of me moving out of my parent’s house in Texas and coming to live with my now fiancee and her family, who took me in as their own.
A lot has happened in the last six years – a lot of discovery, loss, joy, pain, and growing has happened on the part of me and everyone around me. I feel more like “myself” than I ever have before, and I’ve accomplished so very much in such a little span of time.
When I moved out here, I never thought I could go to college. I didn’t think I was good enough even to pass the GED. But both my biological parents and my “adopted” parents (Lona’s) encouraged me, and I passed it. Then I tested into College and began taking classes. I maintained a 4.0 GPA for many semesters and made it into Phi Theta Kappa, the 2 year college national honor society, the equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa. I will wear their pin when I graduate – which is going to be sooner rather than later.
Once I pass Statistics, I will only have 2 classes left, not only to transfer to Cal State Fullerton (where dad went), but to officially get my AA in Anthropology: my first degree.
In all of this, I’ve grown a lot as a person, and learned to trust the things I’ve always felt were right. I don’t let other people pressure me into their points of view, and I have learned to listen to things fairly and evenly (though I admit I still have a problem with arguing even when I know I’m wrong), and have discussions.
I’ve grown to have actual emotional responses to things, rather than just crying or running away. I’ve learned to stand up for myself when I feel it’s important, and to back down when it isn’t. I’ve learned that I am an incredibly intelligent and talented individual, and I am still growing as a person, as a student, and as a spiritual being.
So many things I never would’ve learned if I wasn’t here – I learned that I love roller-coasters, but hate falling. I’ve learned that love itself is an incredibly powerful emotion and can do things and get you through things you never thought you could survive. I’ve learned that sixty years of life doesn’t make one person wise, and that twenty years of life doesn’t make a person dumb – everyone is unique. I’ve learned that people do things, both good and bad, when you least expect them. I’ve learned the difference between the pain of losing a family member long-distance and losing one you share a house with. I’ve learned how to say goodbye, and how to say hello. I’ve learned that I like the scent of cherry blossoms, and I prefer softer materials to denim if I can help it.
I’ve learned that when someone leaves, they don’t necessarily stay gone, and sometimes that which you can’t see readily can be as real as that which you can. I’ve learned that I possess talents I didn’t know about, and I’m still learning how to harness them. I’ve learned that love can turn a vicious alley cat into a snuggle kitty. I’ve learned that being half bobcat doesn’t go well with half housecat.
I’ve learned that cancer can kill faster than you’d think possible. I’ve learned to treasure every moment with every person, because you never know when you’ll speak the last “I love you.” I’ve learned that you can impact people’s lives without ever having met them in person. I’ve learned about balance, and decisions, and the value of silence and meditation. I’ve learned how to clean a kitchen and a bathroom without hurting myself. I’ve learned how to manage money (ok, so I’m still working on that one, but I’m better).
I’ve learned that cutting your own path means dealing with the rocks you uncover on the way, and that sometimes the experience of making the path smooth and easy is more than worth all the hard work that goes into it. I’ve learned that I don’t need to visit a museum every couple of weeks to maintain that connection within me. I’ve learned to listen to the silence, the trees, and the wind, and feel in my soul what they have to say.
I’ve learned that it takes more than a year for a traumatic connection to fade in your mind. I’ve learned that a year after the fact, I still drive by certain buildings and find myself crying. I’ve learned to let myself cry. And I have learned, most of all, to love wholly and completely, without reservation.
Lona, I owe all of this to you. You came to Texas, six years ago today, and brought me home. And while I do miss my parents (I wish I had more time to talk to you guys!), I know that being here is where I’m supposed to be. And I am more than content.
Thank you, babe, for the gift that is your friendship and love. Thank you, mommy, for accepting me for who and what I am, for your encouragement and your love and your never-ending help along my path. Thank you, mom, for encouraging and helping me through all this growing I’ve had to do since moving here, and thank you for believing in me. Thank you, daddy, for your support and your intelligence and tips for dealing with things I never realized I’d need to. Thank you, dad, for being there for me out here until you couldn’t be anymore – I will hold on to those memories forever, and I will never stop missing you. Thank you, aunt Bonnie, for teaching me to say goodbye – I still miss you, so much. Thank you, kitties, for showing love, acceptance, and patience with this confused puppy. Thank you, kitties I never even met while alive for teaching me that everything is a decision – and thank you for deciding to hang around.
Here’s to another six years of joy, pain, excitement, passion, adventure, and most of all, love. Life is an adventure – but until you start living it, you never know just how incredible it can be.