This is it, ladies and gentlemen. The last blog post for probably about two weeks.
Around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, The Fiance, my mother, and I will pile into the minivan, which I have helpfully christened as the Hannah Montana Concert Shuttle, and leave for California. My mother already lives out there, but flew back to help us since I can’t drive and otherwise it’d all be on The Fiance. The Fiance was born on a military base near Anaheim, but moved while he was still a baby and hasn’t been back since. I’ve been gone for eight years and regretted every second of it.
Florida was never supposed to be “home,” you see. I was just supposed to stay here with my grandparents while I got back on my feet after a very messy split with my then-boyfriend who I’d been living with in New England. He was the reason I left California in the first place — you know the drill, young, dumb, and idealistic, and the more it sounds like a fairytale the more you convince yourself it can last. I pinged around from state to state for a while, never quite making it back out west, always ending up back in Florida and worse off than I had been before. Part of me is grateful for it, since I would never have met The Fiance, but I really would have appreciated a bit more direct of a route back home for me, maybe pick him up a year or two earlier to get the show on the road or something. A TARDIS would be pretty useful right about now.
But now I’m going back to California, where I had the best years of my life growing up. Where I met some of the greatest people I could ever imagine and experienced the very greatest things. Some people complain that the whole state is fake and plastic, but I never saw it that way. Even when I was living there, it seemed to have this glittering sheen to it, an unapologetic admission that yes, the surface had been lacquered half to death, but what lay beneath it was no less incredible than the exterior. For the first time in my life, I was able to be myself, and it was all thanks to the encouragement of San Francisco and Sacramento and Orange County. Florida stifled all of that. Very few people shared my interests or appreciation of my wacky clothes and taste in music (although those few became some really amazing friends). There were no jobs in my desired field here. The unemployment rate in the city I’m leaving behind is nearing 15%. When I got laid off from my minimum wage retail slave job I finally had the time to write and put forth more effort towards getting into the game industry than I ever had before. It gave me the opportunity, the reason, to go home again.
I’m waxing pretty philosophical tonight as I realize that this is the very last night I will spend alone. I knew I’d have to say goodbye to my bachelorette ways, and at times maybe even fought having to do so, but suddenly I’m at peace with it. All of the fears and insecurities I once had about being able to have a real and fulfilling adult life with a healthy relationship and my dream career have evaporated. I feel like I’ve just stepped into one of the sandbox games I’d love to design; I’m free to explore, free to create, free to have the life I’ve fantasized about since I was a kid. Holy shit, I might actually be able to pull this off. No, let me rephrase that. I will pull this off.
Am I looking forward to spending three, probably four days in a car? Absolutely not. I’ve made this cross-country trip before, and it sucked. But now I’m doing it all over again, older, wiser, and with two of my favorite people in the world, and I feel like everything in the past was just practice for this final round before I get the victory fanfare and ending cinematic. Until today I was worried I wouldn’t be able to handle being confined to such a small space for so long, but now I realize this isn’t an inconvenience, it’s an adventure.
Besides, this time I have a smartphone. How bad can it be?
I’m still worried about all of the things that could go wrong. The trailer could come off of the hitch, the van could break down, any of us could get sick on the way, we could die in a fiery accident… but I’m already shedding the east coast mentality I was forced to adopt for so long and replacing it with an “I’ll just have to deal with it.” In fact, when I get home, I may reward myself with at least one of the personal reminder-type tattoos I’ve been wanting, assuming I can find a good ink joint in Irvine. I’m no longer just about making it better. I’m about making it.