Here is what I know about leaving: It stings and it tears and it leaves you with tunnel vision to the forevers that are ending.
You would think that after moving as many times as I have that I would be used to it by now; that maybe this time it would be less painful than the ones before. I know from experience that everything always turns out okay, but I also know that it never gets easier, no matter how many times you do it.
Everything just feels like it’s slipping. I lived near Lake Michigan for a good portion of my life when I was younger, and the time we spent at the beach is locked so hard in my memory I don’t think I could ever lose it. I remember how the sand seemed to dissolve through the inevitable cracks of my hands when I tried to hold it. That’s sort of what this feels like. Life is the sand I’m trying to hold in my small hands, but can’t for the life of me keep from slipping out.
My sister does this annoying thing where she asks me how many times I’ve cried that day. She cares about me a lot––which is amazing!––and her persistence to be present in my life gets me every time. It’s an annoying question, though, because I have to admit each time to having cried more than once. A few nights ago, I was lying on the kitchen floor at 3AM at my friend’s birthday party and said, “I’ve reached a new low. It’s called ‘I’m crying and I can’t get off the floor.'” Laughter ensued because in the process of leaving, as I get exceedingly more pathetic, you almost have no choice but to laugh at it. I think at this point, everyone I know is aware that I am on the constant verge of crying and am merely suppressing the impulse of doing so for the sake of those around me.
The fact that I’m so sad and emotional about leaving makes people question if I’m telling the truth about not being nervous to go to college; about being completely ready for it. The thing is, I accepted two weeks ago that I was going to cry about this. Aware that I would love college, excited about starting that phase of my life, and in no way nervous about being on my own, I knew I was still going to cry about it. I’m sad because I’m uprooting myself from something so good and as much as the new place I’m going promises to be amazing, I have never been more happy with where I am.
When I was a self-loathing and people-hating fifteen year old, I was ready to go. High school graduation couldn’t come soon enough and I was ready to be out of here. So much has changed since then. I have a genuine love for all my friends and the people I’ve found myself surrounded by. Home is where my family is and they are the constant I need and rely on. Small town life will never not be funny to me and I love it so much because of that. Life is honestly the best it’s ever been and I can’t help but not want to let go of that. That is why I am sad about leaving.
As much as being sad is usually seen as a sign that something needs to be fixed, I think sadness has a very important role in our lives, and I’m finding that I’m happy that I’m sad. If I wasn’t sad about leaving, I wouldn’t have people that I cared about it. I wouldn’t have grown at all in these past two years. I wouldn’t have found a real sense of happiness in the midst of my senior year of high school. The fact that I’m sad about leaving means that I had an incredible and unforgettable time here, which just goes to show how much has gotten better since I was fifteen. And I am happy because of it. I am happy to I have so much to care about that I’m sad to leave it behind.
However, I am going. I have three days left here in Iowa until you’ll find me as an English major in Oklahoma, concerned about getting good grades, laughing with friends, and thinking of home often.
Today I’m happy that I’m sad. (And––let’s be honest––I’m probably crying as you read this.)
Stay Dynamite | Megan