I get asked why I moved to California from New England what seems like weekly. I often go into a long spiel about how I traveled across the country 9 years ago with my friend Sara and we were staying where we could for free and we just happened to have a connection to Sebastopol. I then tell them that I fell in love with it and told myself I’d be back. And that is pretty much the truth, but there is so much more to it. I was unhappy in Rhode Island. My family was there and that part I loved, but every thing else just wasn’t what I wanted it to be. When I was there I had a hard time placing my finger on it, but I knew something wasn’t right. I felt out of place when I would go out into the world; I struggled to be myself around others because I wasn’t even sure who that self was. I tried for 6 years to find a place where I felt I fit in. And when I say I tried, I TRIED. I joined clubs, met people on Friendster (remember Friendster? It was so much cooler than Facebook or Myspace), worked in restaurants, took classes, went to the gym, volunteered, hung out with coworkers.
I did everything I could to find a group of people I clicked with but just continued to fail. (As I say this, I need to point out that individually, I met some incredible people. People who changed who I am for the better. They challenged me and forced me to see the parts of me that needed to grow. Tab, I’m looking at you. You too, Justin. Rob, don’t hide, you too. I will forever be grateful for your friendships.) But I also fell in love. I fell hard for someone that would never be available to me no matter how much he professed his love. After years of waiting for him to become available, I became miserable. I knew the only way to find myself was to get out from under that shadow and that life, and start a new one somewhere miles and miles (and miles) away. For a year I went back and forth between various cities in my mind, when finally I met someone who had just moved back to Rhode Island from San Francisco and the seed was planted.
The view from my bed in the first house I lived in in California
Sonoma County had always lingered in the back of my mind. Waking up on a vineyard to sun beams filtered through grape leaves was an image I had a hard time shaking. It was time to make the move. With horrible timing (my parents had just moved from my childhood home in Maine to a house, ahem….across the street from me), I set my sights to move within a few months. I was terrified. What if I was making a mistake? What if he really will leave her? What if I don’t like the person I’m trying to uncover?
So I did it anyway.
Somehow, I got here and everything fell into place. I found a house on a vineyard where just outside the window above my bed I could see nothing but vines and hills. I went to a party 3 weeks into my move and met Tim, my now husband*. With Tim came a community I spent 6 years trying to find in Providence. With Tim also came a future step-daughter, something I had never seen for my future, but through step-parenting has forced me to grow in a way that will only benefit me from here on out. By living here, parts of me have come out that never would have in Rhode Island. I’ve discovered a creative side that was squashed by feelings of inadequacy being surrounded daily by RISD (Rhode Island School of Design) and it’s students and alumni. I have a confidence I just couldn’t tap into before, and California and the people I have met here, have given me that space. Moving here was, for obvious reasons, the best decision I could have made.
So I have ended up somewhere completely different in this post than where I started out going, but that’s okay. What I had wanted to do was to introduce some of my old writings from the blog I kept while I was living in Rhode Island. I can’t link to it because there are things in there that I feel I want to keep private from some readers here (mainly because I talk about things like sex and I’m just not quite sure you want to read that, Mom and Dad. Or rather, I’m not sure I want you to read that!). But from time to time, I’d like to copy some of my entries onto Bodega Bliss. I’m proud of my writing over there and it is very much an insight into a 20-something struggling to find who she is. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, someone who was entirely wrong about what sadness looked like. Gah, those things I was crying about, they were nothing! Stop whining already, me!
So I’ll continue this story of who I was and how I got here in future posts.
To be continued.
* Um, I was kind-of, sort-of on a date when I went to the party where I met Tim. Needless to say, that didn’t work out. It could have something to do with the fact that the second I walked into the door, I saw my future husband in the kitchen and didn’t want him to get away, so I spent the rest of the night making my move. Best decision of my life.