10 August 2008

my utahversary.

One year ago today, my little green Honda rolled out of my dad's driveway towards the Salt Lake valley. My little car was packed full of everything I thought I would need for my new life in Utah. After one last breakfast at The Pine Cone, I drove out of Washington, through the barrenness of eastern Oregon into the lush farmland of Idaho and the mountainous desert of Utah. It was a blissful, determined drive-- cranking songs like "Wide Open Spaces," laying in the grass at rest stops, taking in every second of the changing landscape as I made my way southeast.

I didn't know
what to expect-- and I hadn't really thought to expect anything. For months-- almost my entire tenure at Callison-- I had been bent on getting out, filled with the vague uncompromisable hope of somewhere else. Going to graduate school, that was it. I couldn't have predicted the acute loneliness of those first days in Utah, aching for my family as I watched my first sunsets over the Oquirrhs, longing for friends as I tried to negotiate a new ward and my ever increasing spiritual isolation. I didn't think that that time would give way to the unexpected: A quiet evening on the couch when I determined vaguely to "take a break" from church that I knew would be permanent. The intense relief of making friends and getting a better job and finally feeling like I could keep my head above water in my classes would never come. A new sense of agency that forced me to rethink everything-- the control I have over my body, my relationships and my future. Those possibilities weren't clear as I unpacked my life into this little room. I just knew that everything, somehow, would get better. And it did.

It pains me a little to look at pictures from before. I get frustrated when I find myself explaining my lack of experience in the world to someone who didn't know me then-- I feel like some naive ingenue in a Henry James novel. I struggle with resentment, that I never would have allowed myself to imagine things being the way they are now, that this life I love so much was not even a possibility for me then. It is work for me to look at that girl from last year and to see her as someone who was taking a risk. I am slowly beginning to appreciate the courage it took to get in my car and begin the journey towards being someone I wanted to be.

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