7.30.2013

Shapeshifter

I am not a person who likes change. I feel like I am always saying this, but it is true. The past two years of my life have been especially filled with change, and I would be lying if I didn't say it has been difficult. I don't know if this is something special that only I have been cursed with, or if this is natural for people my age, but I felt like everything was changing at once, and that I would look around and wonder where my life went.

It really all started with the summer before my senior year of high school. I spent that summer studying at a summer art school in LA. It was great, but I was homesick at times and realized that I did not fit the "artsy" stereotype that my peers did (I realize now that they were all mostly trying to be what they thought was "cool" and how "artists" were supposed to be. That's just not me.). When I returned, school started, and my dad had become more serious with a new girlfriend.

School quickly became stressful, with my demanding art class and college apps, oh yeah and pretending that I was actually doing school work. I mean, it was senior year. Once I finally had a little room to breathe, my dad tells me that he is engaged. Engaged. Let's just let that one sink in. I hate to say this, but I cried. Not tears of joy. I was appalled and shocked and sad and a whole lotta other feelings. Now, don't get me wrong, I wanted my dad to be happy. I really did. But, all I could think was how my life was changing forever, in more ways than one. It has been just my dad and I together for over ten years now. He is the most important person in to me. I am a daddy's girl. And always will be. So, naturally, I worried that my relationship with my dad would never be the same, and that I would be replaced, and ultimately forgotten in a way.
Spring arrived, along with college acceptance letters, and I finally made a decision about where I would go: I decided that I was moving across the country for school. This was a hard pill for me (and everyone else) to swallow. I was extremely excited. And extremely scared. But I was going to do it. 

I graduated, left my high school days behind me. That in itself was a strange feeling. Shortly after I graduated and started to prepare myself to leave for college, it became apparent that it wasn't going to work out financially. I was crushed. But, I signed up for community college, got a job as a nanny, traveled a bit, bought my first car by myself, and now here I am in Texas with my dog for the summer, of all places.

My dad got married this past June. I left three days after the reception. It was a beautiful and difficult time for me. My throat was always tight, threatening with tears those few weeks. I cherished each moment with my dad, knowing that it was possible that things would never quite be the same. Somehow, I could tell that he was sharing in those moments with me at times, hopefully cherishing them as much as I was.
I have now been gone for six weeks, and I can say that I have adjusted to yet another change. A new state, a new job, new climate, and family that I have not spent time with in years. It was definitely rough at first, but I feel stronger than I did before. I feel more independent, and even more loved. As I talked to my dad on the phone the other day, he choked up as he told me that he missed me and that he loved me. And I realized that I was still his little girl, even if there is now a ring on his finger and someone else sharing our home.

Though I say change scares me (and it truly does), I believe I can also say that I am resilient. I adjust. I do the best I can with what I am given and figure out the small stuff later. Or simply just let it go. Now, here I am, heading home to CA in a couple weeks, to a home that is my home, but that is also now someone else's. A home that has already been undergoing change while I have been away. The dishes my dad and I picked out together and saved up to get have now been carefully wrapped and put away for me to love when I have a place of my own. Pictures are being replaced with ones of new family. Walls are being painted, and I am sure furniture is being rearranged.

But even as though all these things in my life are changing (and will undoubtedly continue to do so), I know that I can change with them. As I perhaps may not be going home to the same home I left, I know that I will be able to find my place in it all and that everything will be okay. If there is one thing I have learned this past year, it is that you must do the best with what you are given. If you do that, other opportunities will come your way, and you will slowly build the life you want to have.

I don't really know what compelled me to write this, other than these photos I suppose. Sometimes photos do that. They bring things out of you that you had been trying to forget or hadn't known you felt. That's part of their beauty though, I'd say.


3 comments:

Luka, said...

hi jess, thank you for stopping by on my blog and even leaving a comment! i appreciate it and will have a little look around here now :)
best wishes,
luka

Rachel Sedaker said...

Reading this makes me think a lot of how I felt from age 18-23. No one tells you what a tough time that is, considering all of the changes to be seen. For me, the hardest was seeing my younger brother and sister grow up. They're only 2 and 4 years younger, but I had always thought of them as my little siblings. Then when I went away to college and my brother became serious with a girl, I got jealous because I felt she was trying to take my sister away from me. That girlfriend is now my brother's wife and the mother of 2 of my nephews and despite the rocky first few years, she is a dear part of the family.

Changes will come, they will often be hard, but you're right- you are resilient, and you ill grow so much with each one. And I hope that you will come to consider your dad's new wife as a dear member of the family. No one will ever replace you in your father's eyes, and it's silly, but no one will ever replace me as my sister's sister (that sounds funny, but she told me so herself).

Erika from Chimerikal said...

I loved reading this and it really resonated with me... oh, I think that feeling of "everything changing" is so normal, especially for being around 19/20... and it will only kind of continue this way for a while. But I think you're handling it so well and I love the way you're reflecting on it. And that has to be difficult... sharing your father with someone else, especially when it was the two of you all the time. But I guess that helps with the growing process, with setting out on your own. These transitions are probably reflective of the inner ones that are happening.

Thank you for sharing and writing. I'm really digging what I am seeing of your blog so far! :)

--Erika
http://www.chimerikal.com

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