Since I only see my family once a year, and the holidays are afoot, I made the executive decision to brave the mall today to try and find a holiday outfit that would give the illusion I was indeed an “adult” and appease my Grandparent’s worries about their son’s wayfarer daughter who doesn’t know where her diploma is and is definitely still single. Now I’ve been known to make “questionable” fashion choices at times. I put questionable in quotation marks because I don’t think my selections are problematic at all – I just follow my heart and my heart happens to like things Cosby sweaters and tee-shirts with dinosaurs on them. When I told my friend Kelsey I was thinking about going shopping earlier this week, I didn’t even solicit her help; instead she offered it instantaneously. She even made sure to mention that she didn’t need anything, but that she’d go with me for support; like it was like an AA meeting and not about me just finding a semi-respectful holiday frock. This is how bad I am at shopping, I need a sponsor.
First of all, I couldn’t even get to the shopping part because I couldn’t get over the mall itself. It had been erected in the time I had been gone from Salt Lake and I hadn’t realized that they called it ‘City Creek Mall’ because a whole goddamn creek ran through the middle of it. “I think there’s even fish in there!” exclaimed Kelsey. She would immediately regret sharing that nugget of information because I think I responded by shrieking “OHMAHGOD CAN WE FISH IN HERE?!?!!!” (Even though I’ve actually never fished and I don’t think I really agree with the idea of it.) “No Tanya,” she said with the patience of someone who has known me for seventeen years, “I don’t think you can fish in it.”
The second thing I couldn’t get over was that the mall was half-inside and half-outside with some kind of RETRACTABLE ROOF. Was I at the mall or was I James T. Kirk aboard the Starship Enterprise? And dogs, you could bring your DOGS into the mall. Kelsey assured me that some of the retailers even had signs that allowed your four-legged friends to come in and shop with you, but I’m sure the novelty of that wears off when your dog takes a giant dump on the floor of Michael Kors. I wonder how they feel about cats on leashes.
We meandered around H & M, a store I greatly admire for their cheap prices, and even cheaper clothes. Kelsey and I split up and I tried not to look frightened and alone like a toddler abandoned in Disneyland. “It’s okay Tanya,” I gave myself a mental pep talk; “You can do this. You are an adult and you are a capable human being.” When Kelsey located me only mere moments later, I was holding a pair of Star Wars leggings in one hand and a sweater that said ‘Meoooow’ across the front in the other. I don’t know if it was the multiple o’s in ‘Meow,’ or that Kelsey’s Midi-chlorian count was low, but she did not approve and I whined as she made me put them back.
I am proud to announce that I eventually accomplished my mission and not only did I purchase two sweaters that did not have a cat or say something stupid across the front like “Baller,” but I also now own more than one pair of jeans. I’d like to own even more but jean shopping is worse than getting a pap smear from an old male Doctor; so I avoid doing more than once a year.
Anyway – I’m ready now, to head home for the holidays.
It means something different now than it used to, when I used to go home – there was such a disconnect. I didn’t have friends who still lived there, no ties, not much that I looked forward to doing besides going to my favorite wing place and eating a tavern sized serving (that’s 30 wings) by myself. However, all that changed in 2011. I never thought I would move back to Connecticut, I figured I’d sooner become heterosexual or a unicorn, but I guess strange things happen every day. I spent nearly two years in a place I was always so eager to get away from; but in that time I learned a lot about myself and a lot about life in general.
I learned that I can create a sense of community and be truly happy wherever and whenever I go. I found a job that I cared about, friends that I adored, a humble abode, and life was good; more than good most of the time. Connecticut: I came, I saw, I conquered – and when it was the end of the road I just innately knew it and I packed up and moved back to Utah with haste.
The other day I looked in disgrace at my hair, which was boasting several solid inches of roots and I said aloud: “What happened? I just got my hair done right after I moved here!” I started counting on my fingers and then I realized it had been 6 months, 17 days, and I am sure a calculable amount of both hours and minutes since I had moved back to the Beehive State. “Shit,” I swore to myself, “Where did all that time go?”
It’s been a hell of a ride the last couple of months, even though I was moving back to a place I knew – beginning again can be foreboding. It takes courage and strength and a whole lot of guts to get up and go forth. And it’s been far from perfect – I may have left a cedar trunk and my bed frame in Connecticut, but the rest of my metaphorical baggage and bullshit came with me. But I can really and honestly say at this point in time, that I’m not sure I have ever been happier than I am in this very second. There’s not a reason, or a person, or a thing responsible for this; I simply am. Happiness is a funny thing; you fight for it and you strive for it and then sometimes – happiness just happens.
Now not every day can be full of sunshine and rainbows and glory; some days and times are harder than their predecessors. This is a fact of life that we cannot avoid, push down, or conceal. It’s when we learn to sit, be comfortable, and conversate with the not-so-pleasant parts of life that we will become okay. You don’t need to rue or seize every day, but at least own it for what it is. Good days can be followed by bad, and life is still good even when it isn’t. You’re always where you’re supposed to be whether it’s Utah, Connecticut, or halfway through a bottle of wine that you fully intend on finishing by yourself.
I am ready for home. I don’t care if my Grandma isn’t impressed with my outfit choice or still thinks it’s weird I’m twenty-eight and don’t have a boyfriend (that’s a whole other can of worms.) I don’t care that instead of patients I have patrons, and that instead of reading the DSM-V I’m reading Buzzfeed and trashy celebrity smut. I am happy, my soul is singing and while that doesn’t offer me a salary or benefits; I think I’m the luckiest person.
Oh and Kelsey? You know I’m totally going back for those Star Wars leggings, right?
Happy Holidays everyone. May you be safe, may you be happy and healthy, and may you have ease of mind!