Hey GT. This may be a long post, but I’m mostly just hoping to air things out by writing it down. Talk of depression, anxiety, trauma after the cut.
So I wrote here yesterday about putting wheels into motion so that I can move up to Oregon at the end of this year. It’s time, and my gut has been telling me for the past couple of years that I need to move on from Texas and live in a place that’s going to give me a clean start and be more reflective of my values. I’ve felt completely stuck here in terms of personal growth and getting what I want out of life, and I’m coming to terms with that more now that I’ve been out of school for a couple of months.
I thought a lot of this had to do with my job, which is extremely stressful, toxic on an interpersonal level, and underpays me by a lot, so I was buckled down on looking for work. I’ve kept coming up empty and realized the other day that I’ve felt like I was missing the drive I usually have when I’m trying to accomplish something. I haven’t been as focused or motivated as I typically am in these kinds of situations, because it hit me that any job I could find in my area that’s a big kid post grad job would be tying me to the area. And I don’t want that. I don’t want another reason to waffle and feel like I should be here.
I’ve lived in Texas my whole life and have always felt like an outsider. I have hated the culture for as long as I can remember- guns, no regulation, enormous pickups that run you off the road if they get a chance, hunting, football, overtly “Republican Jesus”-y/Southern Baptist. Everyone I went to school with was a die hard christian- in high school I got ousted from a group of friends who found out my mom was an atheist and that we didn’t go to church. Girls were taught in health class that having premarital sex made you like a chewed up piece of bubblegum, and good men didn’t want to marry non-virgins because “no one wants an already chewed piece of gum in their mouth”.
This is the home of Robert Jeffress, the megachurch pastor who gives Trump a mulligan for fucking pornstars outside of his marriage but preaches hate against the LGBT+ community and refugees. A neighbor of mine had her windows on her car busted out and her tires slashed for having a Hillary sticker on her car around the election. I’m REALLY tired of feeling like I’m screaming into the void. I know the demographics are changing rapidly, and I have as much hope as the next person that that scum fucker Cruz will lose his seat to Beto O’Rourke, but ideally I’ll be cheering on Beto’s first term from Oregon. I’m exhausted and I want a change. Texas may be a swing state in the next couple of election cycles, and I hope for that, I really do. I just feel like I’m personally done with it.
Texas is the only home I’ve ever known, and I do have some really good friends here, but most of them are married or live in opposite corners of the metroplex from me, so I don’t see them incredibly often. I don’t have a super tight inner circle keeping me anchored here. The last time I had a real tribe was a few years ago, but it broke apart when my last serious boyfriend and I split up. My best friend lives in my apartment complex, but she’s a mega introvert whose social needs are lower than mine so we hang out maybe once or twice a month. She’s also in a long distance relationship and talking about moving to the east coast in the next year.
I’m not in a relationship, but a lot of my friends are married and settled, and I’m not there and not interested in it at this point in my life. It’s another cultural part of Texas that I hate- the religious and social pressure to marry young. I do want to meet a partner that’s a good match for me, but it’s been hard to meet people on the same page as me in small town Texas (values education, non religious, childfree, progressive politically). I think/hope I’ll have a somewhat better shot in Portland.
I’m mainly typing this out because my head has felt like a mess for the past couple of months, and this is the first thing I’ve really had significant clarity on since I graduated. I don’t know what my long term career is going to look like yet, I don’t know exactly what I want to study in grad school, but I know I want a fresh start, and I want it to be outside my home state.
I’m also fucking terrified...it’s a 50/50 mix of excitement and pure fear. My therapist says to me over and over again to work on reframing anxiety and fear as excitement, and anticipation for new opportunities. I get where she is coming from, but as someone with a history of chronic anxiety, the shit is HARD. My brain automatically wants to jump into fight or flight, and trying to anticipate every single possible thing I will need to do or that could feasibly go wrong between now and then (even though I can’t even apply for an apartment until October, maybe, at the absolute earliest, if I wanted to move in January). I talked through this decision to move with her on Friday, and she was highly encouraging, and told me that she knew I was ready to make this step. It’s up to me to believe that though, and I think that’s what’s coming up for me more than anything- working to combat those false beliefs that keep cropping up.
“What if I don’t make any friends?” - I am generally a very pleasant and supportive person who makes people laugh and feel at ease, according to people who spend a lot of time around me. I will have to stick my neck out to meet people and it will take time, but I can do that.
“What if I can’t find a job/can’t afford to get an apartment?” - I’m a college graduate, I got excellent grades/was on the Dean’s List, I participated in extra curriculars, I logged over 1500 volunteer hours at a nonprofit focused on mental health. I have a decade of experience in office management and admin work. I will find something.
“What if I get incredibly lonely and/or depressed?” See entry after “what if I don’t make friends?” Also, my therapist offered to do skype sessions with me, and I can find a new counselor when I get settled. I will take my medication regularly and incorporate my other coping skills that I’ve worked on- painting, journaling, making music, exercise, meditation.
I just want to feel new and like I have a clean slate to work from. There’s been a lot of hurt and disappointment here, and I know that’ll come up inevitably wherever I go, but I think there’s something to being able to physically move on from a place that holds a lot of painful memories. I’ve worked really hard on myself, I’ve unpacked a lot of trauma and mostly made peace with the worst parts of my past. I think it’s time to shut the book and set out for new horizons.
Thanks for reading. It’s a relief to get this off my chest.