One of the best things about moving is the feeling of a fresh start. I moved three times as a kid- before 6th grade, in ninth grade and then again a year later. (I’ll try and dig up some photos from all these moves!)
At the time, each move felt transformative. The first move happened while I was going through puberty, so I went from the awkward, ugly, chubby kid in Texas to the new, interesting girl with boobs in Spokane. That year I had my first kiss, experienced my first snow, and started my love affair with the Pacific Northwest.
We moved again in December 2000, moving back from Washington to Texas. (My stepdad worked for the railroad, so to move up the ladder meant relocating.) I’m not sure the story of how or why, but instead of moving back to an area we were familiar with, we moved to Azle, a backwards small town that worshipped its football team like gods and could have been taken straight from the set of Varsity Blues.
Again this move landed in my favor in a messed-up high school way. Puberty was good to me and I was the new girl with big boobs, who joined the student council and played sports (a crucial element for popularity in Texas.) Within a week of starting school I had a boyfriend, who I didn’t like talk to, but we ate lunch together and went to Save the Last Dance and held hands, so it totally counts, right?
Our time in Texas was intense. In less than a year I met the first boy I fell in love with. I lost my virginity. I was sexually assaulted, at the summer camp I had gone to for most of my life. September 11th happened. My sister and I threw our first house party. We drove to Dallas and went to a Blink 182 concert. I was almost arrested by cops in Texas. And then we moved again.
My mom hated Texas and everything about it. The move from Spokane to Texas put incredible stress on her and my stepdad’s marriage, so IMO the move back to Spokane in 2002 was a last ditch effort to save the family. (It didn’t work and the next year was hell, but bygones.)
We packed up the house and drove across the country yet again. This drive is actually one of my favorite memories with my sister. We were both miserable- our lives had been uprooted twice in less than a year and while I can’t speak for her, judging from our choice of music during the ride, there’s a good chance we were both dealing with a serious bout of depression and anger. Yay untreated mental illness. But thank god for burned CDs full of Saves the Day, The Early November, Dashboard Confessional and all the other sad sap songs we cried our eyes out to driving west.
This move we didn’t have the luxury of starting over. We were plopped back into our old school that we had left a year before. This time I didn’t feel quite so special. Instead it felt like everyone’s lives had moved on, without me. New friendships had formed, there were new inside jokes, and I didn’t fit into their small circle anymore. My heart hurt for a number of reasons, but I think most of all, this place that I thought was home just wasn’t home anymore.
Every move since then has been as an adult and they’ve all been my own choice. From moving in the dorms while a student at UW to moving apartments, I relish the opportunity to pick up and start over. Packing everything up feels tidy. I get to make the value judgement of what to keep and throw away.
This move is especially fun. I’m moving in with my partner of two years into a shared apartment. I haven’t lived with a significant other since I was married, and this move feels so much more intentional. I’m excited to share space and mingle our belongings, especially our books.