I just wrote the 16-word piece of flash (my 132nd story). My classes don’t start for another ten days, but the countdown was supposed to have ended yesterday, since I started this project counting down to September 1. So, I have missed 16 days.
At the start of this project I did so well, making sure not to miss a day for anything (and that was when my word count was much higher). But, in the hundred or so days between when this started to now, a lot has happened. I lost a friend of mine to suicide. I lost my partner of five years to, well actually, I’m not really sure. I just lost him. With that loss, my entire plan concerning the next two years of my life (specifically, my move to Vancouver) was altered.
What really surprised me, actually, was the amount of people that asked me if I was still moving in light of my breakup, which I found very odd. Because of course I was. I was moving for school. That was always my plan. Why would anyone question that? I wondered if it was a reflection on me – if I’d developed a personality over the years that gave the impression that a relationship change would alter my goals and dreams. I also wondered if he (my ex) would be asked that question, if our roles were reversed. I don’t think I’ll ever know for sure.
Anyways, he went back to Australia. I bummed around friends’ places for a month in Edmonton, working, drinking, wondering where summer went. I said goodbye to the friends I made over six years ago, when I was a bright-eyed twenty-year-old holding the hand of my best friend, making what I thought was the BIG move (two hours away from my hometown) to Edmonton. I was sad – for leaving my partner, for leaving my friends, for leaving a city I knew so well. I then said goodbye to my family. I can’t even describe how hard that was. I was moving eleven hours away to a different city, a different province. And holding no one’s hand.
Every part of this move is out of my comfort zone. There is nothing familiar about where I am or what I’m doing (besides, I suppose the very obvious things like still being in the same country). And all the things that I have done before, I’ve never done on my own, so it feels completely new.
I do not mean for this to sound like this big, dramatic ordeal. I mean for me, it was (and still is). But my intent in paralleling these situations is to point out that I thought my first move was a big deal. It was new, I was leaving my family and high school friends, and I was terrified. But everything turned out alright. So, knowing that information, I know that this will all turn out alright, too.
Now, that sounds pretty optimistic. And I feel like I sound like this very self-assured, strong woman just doin’ it on her own. It might sound that way, but I don’t feel that way. Not all the time. Not even most of the time. Most of the time I’m battling with this giant ball of anxiety that has taken up room inside my chest. Most of the time I’m doubting every choice I’ve made to get here and wishing it could all be easy again.
But then, in those rare quiet times, I remind myself that I’m doing something really unique. With every unsteady step, I remember that this is probably the last time in my life I’ll ever do something like this. And I’m doing something completely and utterly for me, which, up until this point, I can confidently say I’ve never done. I need to hold onto that, and feel whatever feelings come from it.
Anyways, this started as an explanation for why I’ve missed so many days on the countdown. But, I think, actually, it’s a realization about how much can happen in such a short amount of time. I am awed by it. There’s no other way to put it. It’s also a reminder that life gets in the way of a lot of things (or, things get in the way of life), and that’s okay. I don’t think I was quite ready to be done with this project yet, anyway.