I realize, in looking back, that I developed some coping mechanisms to handle all the moving. Some healthy, some not so much. Pretending to be aloof, nonchalant, acting like I didn't care about anything...this was one of my strategies.
I spent my 9th grade year of high school in Illinois. I spent 10th-12th grade in Maryland. That's not a big deal. Two high schools. My brother went to four. I consider myself lucky. The first day at my new high school in Maryland, I had my defenses up. I went in ready to blend in and not stick out. This was particularly challenging because I was in the minority in my school.
In one particular class, the guy next to me struck up a conversation with me.
Attempting-to-be-nice-guy: "You're new here, aren't you?"
ATBNG: "Did you just move to the area?"
AM: "Yeah. My dad is in the Air Force." <looking disinterested>
ATBNG: "Oh really, my uncle is in the...."
<me interrupting> "I didn't ask."
As you can imagine, the conversation pretty much ended there. Wow. Nicely done me. Way to stay disconnected, disengaged, DISTANT. So distant I didn't even care if I was down right rude.
What a strategy. I've spent a lot of time trying to undo my self-taught "disengage" coping mechanism. I don't have it all figured out. How to be present, engaged, emotionally available. But I've come a long way since that chilly conversation in high school.
Now I have roots in a city I've lived in for more than 7 years. I have long-term friendships that have weathered me moving away for a few years and then moving back. I have an elderly cat that has been mine since he was a kitten. (You don't understand...we never had old pets. We didn't really move with our pets. We would find them new homes or take them to my grandparents farm.) And I have a new kind of relationship in my life that is unlike any I've experienced before. Being a mom to baby James. Lucky for him he doesn't have climb over my heart-walls like almost everybody else has had to do.
He was born an insider.
I'm linking up with Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary for #justwrite.