I’m always most uncomfortable when I’m talking about myself. So of course, the first topic in this writing challenge I’ve chosen to take on would be a short autobiography. *shrugs* There’s more than one story behind every person, but this one that I’ve chosen for myself is the one that has shaped my life. Thanks for stopping by :).
Do you have a point in your life when you believe it all actually began? Not the typical “I was born” moment, but a time down the road when it all began to make sense?
My life feels like that.
My parents met, were married, and had me in Yokosuka, Japan. People are always surprised by that little tidbit, but I’m from a military family, so we moved around a lot until my dad retired when I was ten or so. I became a sister to two younger shitheads A.K.A. brothers within those years, and we settled in Bishop, Texas – a small little town that existed primarily to employ a chemical factory. I think it was called Celanese.
I have a lot of family in Texas which is why we ended up where we did for 15+ years. I’m not really sentimental about my home town. In fact, I’d actually go out of my way to avoid ever going back.
I honestly believe that area is cursed. Laugh all you want, but my husband believes it too – he’s from around there also. It digs its claws in and sucks the life out of you, and it’s damn near impossible to get the hell out.
I think it’s that way with most hometowns. It’s easy to get into a rhythm, to remain in the familiar until the years are behind you and you look back wondering how they got that far away. I’m happy for the people who are content to stay and find comfort in routine. But I’ve never been one of them.
I always have this impulsive need to move forward. It’s not that I’m never satisfied; I’m just happiest when I’m working toward something, when I have a goal. That, and I want to see the world and experience new places. To actually witness all the things I read about in novels and textbooks. I don’t want to be a person who talks about doing things. I want to actually do them.
I met the guy when I was 20 at a Halloween party. He was there to see my brother’s then-girlfriend whom he considered a sister. She introduced us, and we’ve talked every day since. We lived seven hours apart but made it work until he decided to move closer. He’s my best friend. We’ve struggled, I won’t lie, but we always stick it out. We’re always there for each other, and we’ll never give up. We love each other too much and are both too fucking stubborn for that.
Taylor proposed in September of 2009 and we were married in January 2010, a couple of weeks before my 23rd birthday. Everyone thought I was knocked up because why else would we get married so quickly? I never understood long, drawn out engagements. He’d asked; I said yes; let’s do this! Why wait an entire year or more? We’d been living in a great but tiny apartment in Corpus Christi. I worked at a bank and was finishing up my degree; he was pursuing concert photography. We had a nice little set up.
Everything changed when we went on our honeymoon.
Maine? Where the fuck is that? That’s the initial and usual reaction I got when we told people where we were going for two weeks. Colorado was too expensive and we wanted to go somewhere cold and possibly do some skiing. My mother emailed me a link to a bed and breakfast in Gorham, Maine, and that was that. We booked it and took off for what we thought was just a vacation.
Maine is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, even in February, which is when we went on our honeymoon. We’d done all the touristy stuff like snowmobiling, skiing, horseback riding in the mountains, even visiting L.L. Bean. A week into our stay, we met some people, some great people who are close friends to this day. If not for them, I don’t know where we’d be.
We went ice fishing and snow tubing with them, hitting it off in a way that should have seemed strange at the time. We joked about moving up, and they offered to open up their home to us while we settled if we ever decided to take that leap of faith.
I cried when we left. I felt like I was leaving home and didn’t know if I’d ever be back. I’d never felt that way about Texas, and my husband, while not as weepy, felt the same way. Once we were home and back into our normal routine, we saw Maine everywhere we looked. It was insane – we even saw it on a couple of license plates which was unheard of in South Texas. Not only that, but Texas seemed even more foreign to both of us. It wasn’t where we wanted to be.
Three months later, my husband called our friends and asked if they were serious about letting us stay with them until we got our bearings. We were ready to make a change but knew we’d need some help. Luckily, we have some fantastic friends and very supportive family that allowed everything to fall into place.
Now some of our family was a little… shocked, I guess you could say. Some of them even wondered how we’d get around in Maine, because it’s obviously too cold for that state to have roads, right? It’s like Antarctica, right? I mean, it’s that far north, isn’t it? Like we were moving to the planet Hoth or something.
We proudly wore our “crazy” title and ignored the lot who thought we were nuts. Instead, I chose to listen to the people who told me I’d better not change my mind and to get the fuck out of Texas.
My mom is from Nantucket, MA. She hated Texas more than me, and maybe that’s where I got it from. I’d been back and forth from Texas to New England, and I knew which I preferred. She told me to leave and not look back.
So we did. I quit my job and we started our trek across country, taking our time and enjoying the ride. We loaded up my little white Honda Accord and that’s when I felt like life began. When it all started to make sense.
We stopped in Louisiana where the humidity caused condensation to build up on every glass surface, staying at my husband’s friend’s house. He’d met this friend while he served in the Marines, doing a tour together in Iraq. His friend had passed away after coming home – I won’t get into the details of that, but it was his family we visited. They couldn’t have been more welcoming, and I hope we see them again someday soon.
We stopped in Georgia and enjoyed the hospitality, then made our way to Virginia to stay with my uncle for a few days. After that, we crossed over to Nantucket to surprise my grandmother. Then we were finally crossing the border over into Maine.
I remember pulling up to our friend’s beautiful house out in the woods of rural Maine. It was amazing to see it in the summertime – it looked like a completely different place. That’s what I love so much about Maine. Give it a few months, and it’ll look like you travelled across the world without having to go anywhere. The seasons are incredible.
Within a month we both had jobs and were renting a little cabin in the same town as our friends. It just worked out that way, as if it were meant to be. A year later, we bought the house down the street that had been for sale for the better part of that year. Again, meant to be. It was as if God had given us every sign He could, and all we had to do was listen and follow them.
That time of my life turned me into a believer that no matter how chaotic life may seem, it will always work out if you just listen to your instincts and follow the signs.
Now we have a wonderful home and a two-year-old son who was born in Portland. He loves to ride in our boat in summer, jump in big piles of leaves in autumn, and fall in the soft snow in winter. I couldn’t be happier that he’ll grow up in this place, and I hope he loves it as much as we do. Something tells me he’ll be a traveler and will need to see what else the world has to offer before deciding on calling any place home. I’m more than okay with that.
As for me, I’m home. I belong. I’m doing what I love, and I now know who I am. Moving to Maine is, so far, the story of my life. It’s what started a domino effect of change in me, made me grow up, and made me see that if you want something different, you have to something about it. It’s terrifying sometimes to step away from what’s familiar, but from what I’ve learned, it’s the most rewarding move you can make.