I am moving to North Carolina.
Steve and I have been doing long-distance since we met last May. He made it entirely up to me as to when I should move. He made me feel so incredibly welcome to move in as soon as possible, and also incredibly OK if I wanted to wait a few months or even a year. So it really came down to what I wanted. Well, not what I wanted – there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted to move in with Steve. It was really just a question of when.
For a while, I was really struggling with this decision. I think partly because I felt like I had finally made it. In some aspect. Really just one. It was on my list of things to accomplish. It was something I always wanted: to live in an apartment, by myself. It seems slightly ridiculous when I think about the fact that I’m living month-to-month, I’m in terrible debt, and I’m still, at 32, working as a freaking waitress. Which is fine, it’s totally fine, but it’s not the life I want for myself. I want to be doing what I want to be doing to live a full life, and that does not include waiting on people for tips.
But still, I held onto this notion that I had made it. This is the first apartment that has been just mine. And not someone’s garage, or back house, or bungalow. No. A real apartment. And such an amazing one. I still can’t get over how much I love my apartment. It’s the big windows with lots of sunlight always shining in, it’s the awesome rooftop (and swing) with the beautiful view of the ocean, it’s the gorgeous and safe street I live on, it’s the beach one block in one direction and 2nd street three blocks in the opposite direction (so walkability to basically everything I want or need). I am truly happy in this apartment… as happy as you can be by a thing.
I love California and the people and the weather. I will greatly miss the weather. Steve tries to convince me that the weather is nice in North Carolina, but he doesn’t understand. Once you live in LA for a long time, you feel every cold wind, every humid air, every dark cloud. Absolutely nothing beats LA weather (even though it’s been rainy and gross the past week while Charlotte has been in the 70’s and sunny – a sure sign that I need to be there).
I love my independence and I love being on my own. I’m on a path that feels good and right, and I’m madly in love with the absolute love of my life. Yes, he’s on the other side of the country, but it’s still wonderful, and I wouldn’t have changed our first eight months for anything.
Besides everything I will miss, I also have a fear. It took me a while to admit out loud, but of course, as with everything else, Steve has a way of dissipating any anxiety that I feel about something.
A big part of me feels like I have to deal with my issues with body image, food, and alcohol, by myself. That once I move in with Steve, I will mask my issues for a while because I’ll be so happy to be with him and I can avoid it for a while. And I will look forward to that. But deep down, I know my issues will still be there. And eventually, I’ll have to deal with them, and the thought of having someone there to witness it is scary and mortifying and unthinkable. I have never wanted to share this with another person in my life. Talking about it with friends, sure, but having to actually go through it with someone? No way. I have to do this on my own.
This was how I thought. I’ve always thought that the only way out was on my own. But Steve doesn’t let me think that way. He wants to be there for me. I confessed to him that sometimes in the middle of the night, I wake up absolutely STARVING. And I HAVE to eat something. I did it on his last visit. And I’m ashamed of it and embarrassed by it. Steve told me that the next time I wake up in the middle of the night starving, to wake him up and tell him. And then we can talk about how I’m feeling and what is really going on.
I had so many thoughts when he told me this. First, I laughed, like, yea right. I am not waking him up when I’m in this state. I want to be alone and I don’t want anyone to see me. And I’m eating something no matter what anyone says. Then I thought, I can’t believe how fucking lucky I am that I have this person who wants to be there for me in the ways that I need him most. Then I thought that Steve really can help me get through this. That I don’t have to do it on my own. That this isn’t something to hide from anymore and we’re going to figure it out, together.
American poet Adrienne Rich (I never ever heard of her but Tara Brach quoted her in her most recent podcast) stressed the importance of truth-telling in relationships:
“An honorable human relationship – that is one in which two people have the right to use the word love – is a process of deepening the truths they can tell each other. It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation, deepening the truths that we can tell each other.”
Once I put this all together, my decision was easy.
I’m not moving to Charlotte because I’m following a guy. I’m not giving up my awesome California life to be with the man I love. I’m doing it, because I’m better when he is with me. Not only am I so excited to be with him all the time and finally start our life together, I’m so excited to become the best version of myself, and I know that that’s going to happen at warped speed once we live together.
My five years in LA has been the best chapter of my life. Now I am so ready for the next one.