There’s something about this time of year that I love. Everything is on the cusp of spring – the days are getting longer, the skies seem bluer, and the air feels fresh and invigorating (if you don’t live in LA or Dallas, this may not apply to you quite yet – sorry!). I’ve been driving around with my windows down and the country radio station playing, and can’t help but feel a mixture of emotions. I keep experiencing this wonderful blend of reminiscence, happiness, and calmness.
As I drove through the Hollywood hills the other day, I realized that it’s been almost a year since my life changed drastically. I keep having dejavu – the sweet smell of the coming summer, songs on the radio that were popular this time last year – that take me back to the two months I spent in Texas last year after a pretty tough breakup.
Last February I moved back home to Dallas after a nearly three-year relationship came to a close. This meant moving back in with my parents, dealing with and overcoming heartache, and trying to figure out who the hell I was. Moving back in with my parents was easy – I love them both dearly and I know they were happy to have me. Getting through the sadness that accompanies a serious breakup was harder, but it was something that got easier day-by-day. Finding myself? Now that was the hardest part. But – I’ll let you in on a secret – it was also the most amazing part. I’d moved back to Texas feeling completely and utterly lost. What did I want to do with my life? Who the hell was I? Who did I want to be? Why was I such a mess? Why did I feel so empty sometimes?
And so began the rollercoaster ride that would be the start of my self-discovery (a process that is still happening and will be for as long as I live). This time consisted of a lot (and I mean A LOT) of mistakes. It resulted in staying out too late, drinking way too much, and making poor – dangerous - decisions. But along with the mistakes and the mess-ups, I also made some of the best decisions of my life. Funny how that works right? And when I’m driving around Los Angeles this time of year, with my sunroof open and country music blaring, I’m not reminded of the mistakes so much as the amazing memories I made. I’m reminded of how the Texas sunshine filtered through truck windows, while I sang and danced tipsily in the passenger seat. I remember the exhilaration of meeting new people, the buzzing, raucous sound of a NASCAR race (I sound like a total redneck don’t I?), and the taste of tequila. I remember all the friends who were there for me – the midnight calls and the two a.m. rescues when I couldn’t be alone. I remember mimosa brunches with girlfriends and visiting my college town in Tulsa and getting in all sorts of trouble ;) I’m reminded of how cleansing it felt to run, and how wonderful it felt to be surrounded by family. I remember crying with my mother – but in relief and with an overwhelming sense of love. I’m reminded of rekindling old friendships, concert tickets, and laughing with my younger brother. And I remember the night I met someone who would change my life forever. I can feel the warmth that spread through my chest and my cheeks when we teased each other. I can feel the spark and the wit that ran – and still runs - like electricity between us. I remember the way his eyes looked – bright, blue, and full of energy. I remember promises of the ocean, of a place to write my novels, of a city bursting with life and creativity – promises and daydreams that all came true. I remember a feeling of intense excitment, a feeling of something different this time…something right.
And I remember finally beginning to feel like myself. Through all the ups and downs, through time spent with loved ones and time spent by myself, I began the ongoing process of healing, growing, and figuring out who I am.
Those first two months of self-discovery brought me to where I am today – in Hollywood, CA with the man I love, an incredible group of friends, and a renewed sense of self, confidence, and joy.
So, when the beginning of spring dances through my car windows, and I’m whisked back to that tumultuous time last year, I smile, turn up the radio, and fall in love with the craziness of life all over again.