It's not "goodbye," it's "see you on Twitter"

Maybe you're new here. Perhaps not. But anyone who knows me knows this -- my life is lived out loud on the internet.

Whether it's too many photos (of my pets) on Instagram, too many random thoughts on Twitter, and far too much personal information within the bowels of this website, it's a lot.

You either love me for this or hate me for this. There is rarely middle ground. I've had my own friends tell me they've hidden my feed on Facebook (while I was in Boston to run my very first Boston Marathon, mind you) because I posted too many pictures.

I don't feel bad, for the record. That's why God made unfollow buttons. It's also why you're an asshole.

Just kidding.

No I'm not.

I digress.

I feel comfortable sharing my life through written words and photographs. It's therapeutic for me. Ten years ago I devoured the blogs of writers all over the country, feeling weirdly and personally connected to each and every one. I enjoy writing my own updates as much as I enjoyed reading theirs. Most importantly, doing so has connected me with the most amazing people I've ever come across. 

No lie. 

Entire aspects of my life wouldn't exist without the power of social media. I wouldn't have my job, I wouldn't know my best friend, I wouldn't be a part of Team Wicked Bonkproof, and hell, I probably wouldn't have even gotten myself to the Boston Marathon to take too many pictures.

To those who don't understand social media, this is awkward and sad. To those of you who do understand, myself included, it's powerful.

Being as open about my life as I am in the public space, however, has sort of cornered me into a weird little hell where I feel like I owe explanations for parts of my life left unexplained. I know that I don't, but I can't help but see the elephant in the room everyone wants to talk about.

I love elephants, for the record.  

That said, I will say this: I was in a long and good, but complex, relationship with a wonderful and complex person. My decision to end that relationship was unrelated to my decision to move to Bend. One did not happen because of the other. I did not decide to abandon love so I could tap-dance my way to the west coast. My decision came after personal reflection on my own life and my own desires.

I know myself quite well, believe it or not, and I've come to know the things I need in life to feel truly whole. There was no ugliness, there was no hostility, and, in fact, for the first time in my life, a breakup was handled with grace, respect and love. 

If Bend, Oregon, did not exist, this chapter of my life would read the same.

However, breakups are always difficult and sad and personal, therefore, that's the end of this story for you. 

Thankfully, there is also a very good power that comes from spewing the details of my life on the internet. Goodbyes aren't feeling like goodbyes right now.  I leave in eight days, but the emotional, sentimental ooze that thickens my blood in an instant has yet to wreak havoc. 

I feel so very connected to everyone in my life thanks to my ability to be connected. Sure, social media and text messages are incredibly impersonal, and we should all put down our phones and sit face-to-face, and dammit, get off my lawn. But you move across the country sometime and then try to tell me the power of social media is rotting our interpersonal relationships. 

What it's doing for me is making it easier, and thank god for that. As I'm telling people goodbye, it doesn't feel like goodbye. It feels like, "Oh hey, I'll text you tonight and see you on Twitter and don't forget to tag me in that Instagram photo, k?"

I'll still watch their kids grow on Facebook and they'll tire of me posting too many pictures of my dog. I'll text from the floor at 6 a.m. when I don't feel like going out for a run and they'll remind me with a Snapchat that I'm being ridiculous. In my phone, in my hand, is my direct connection to everyone I love. 

THE FUTURE IS NOW. WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE.

Sure, nothing replaces a good conversation on the couch or a hug or someone to run next to or the kind of eye contact that isn't awkward or uncomfortable (and let's be real, all eye contact is awkward and uncomfortable). And yes, what instills the most fear in me is losing my direct and immediate ability to see my parents when I need and want to. 

But I don't feel like I'm disappearing. I don't feel like I'll lose touch with a single person who matters to me. In fact, a lot of those relationships won't change at all.

None of this is to say that it won't be a change, or a difficult one at that. My normal will become something new. I'm going to wildly miss the people who've become family to me in Madison. But just like my actual family, family stays family. Love isn't lost across 2,000 miles, you just have to transport it differently. 

This is just to say I'm not scared. 

Well, let's just say I'm not terrified.

Of course it's scary to embark on a journey. But it's the kind of scary that happens when you lose your favorite piece of jewelry, or something, and HOLY SHIT, PANIC, I'M GOING TO DIE. But then you find it right where you left it and everyone laughs and laughs.

Ha, ha. Look at that, there it is. Everything is OK. 

And just like that, everything will be OK. It'll be great. And you will all follow along. Unless I post too many pictures.

Your destination is 1,967 miles away

In 19 days I officially become a resident of Bend, Oregon.

That happened quick.

One month ago I still hadn't found someone to take over the lease of my duplex in Wisconsin. One month ago I was still navigating life as a single, bewildered that I made the decision and unsure of what it'd mean for the next few months.

Hell, just 17 days ago, I completely panicked about the entire idea, almost rescheduled a planned work trip to the west coast to sort out logistics, and began, instead, feverishly searching for a new place to live in Madison.

I CANNOT DO THIS. THIS IS NOT ME. TWO THOUSAND MILES IS FOREVER. NO.

In that one day, I pacified myself with a new plan: NO PLAN. I was going to stay in Wisconsin. I was going to find a new apartment -- with a pool! I'd have my running friends. I'd have my family. I'd having nothing to be scared of.

Fear is big. Fear is sassy.

Fear also told my mother of this plan.

World, when you set forth a plan to move a 29-hour drive or a $600 flight away from the woman who birthed you, and raised you, and rocked you on her knee, never, ever tease her with the notion of JUST KIDDING, I'M NOT GOING TO DO IT, I'M STAYING RIGHT HERE WITH YOU, MOM.

I believe that conversation went something like this:

Me: "Mom, I can't do it. I don't want to mo--"

Her: "OH THANK GOD."

Needless to say, the next morning I got on my previously-scheduled flight to Denver on route to Bend, still set on nixing my relocation plans.

And then I got to Bend.

EXHALE.

I CAN DO THIS.

I had two appointments first thing that afternoon to see apartments in town. I'd considered cancelling them, but chose to stick it out instead. That was Monday. By Friday, I'd filled out an application, signed an Agreement to Execute Rental Agreement, and put down a deposit on a two-bedroom apartment in a great location.

IN BEND.

I had an address. I had a move-in date.

Oh shit. I was moving.

The first night of my visit, after spending the day posting photo after photo of gorgeous Bend scenery on social media, my mom called me, dejected.

"You're moving to Bend, aren't you?"

I couldn't tell her no. I couldn't tell her yes. I didn't know. But I did know one thing -- I absolutely could do this.

The last two weeks have felt like a brutal hurricane. I returned from my trip to Bend, packed up my entire home, loaded up a trailer, sent my belongings off to Portland, said goodbye to my good and comfortable life, gathered up the dog and the cat, and moved in for a three-week stay with my parents an hour away.

And here we are, 19 days from go time.

All of that said, I'm surprisingly calm. I've handled every logistic, I've made every plan, I've written countless to-do lists, crossing things off as I go. I'm not scared so much as I'm excited and nervous and clueless. I don't know what life will feel like in a month, but I know I can do it. I'm excited to do it. If I'd chosen fear instead of bravery, I know I'd feel silently regretful for a long, long time because the fear was right -- this isn't me.

I, Krista, am a chickenshit. I'm scared to take risks. I'm scared to let go of hands. I'm scared to not be within a stone's throw of my mom and dad. I'm scared of the unknown. I'm scared of being uncomfortable. I'm scared of hurting people.

But because I'm scared of all of those things, I'd never let myself experience the many things I'm slowly starting to experience. Signing up to raise $10,000 and run 165 miles across Colorado for MS Run the US was the first scary step I took this year. Raising that much money is terrifying, and yet, it's going so incredibly well.

That, alone, sort of lifted a burden off my shoulders. I realized, "You know what? I can do things."

I can do stuff, too. Things and stuff.

And so here I am, raising $10,000, running 165 miles from Utah to Colorado, and moving 2,000 miles away to Bend, Oregon, all in one year.

Let it be stated for the record that when I return from my MS Run the US Relay segment in late May, I'm not doing shit. I am retiring from doing things. Just so we're clear.

But the next step is here. In the wee early hours of January 16, my parents and I load up a couple vehicles and hit the long road west.

All that happens now is spending 19 days bidding farewell to almost 34 years of Wisconsin. TO BE CONTINUED.






TEN

...all right is almost always where we eventually land, even if we fuck up entirely along the way.
— Cheryl Strayed

I've spent nearly a third of my life telling stories about my life on the internet. There are two camps of people: those who anticipate new posts and enjoy following along (hi mom!) and those who just... don't... get it. 

"But whyyyyy?" they ask, wondering what would compel a person to share the details of an otherwise ordinary life for anyone on the World Wide Web to read. 

I'll tell you a story. 

Ten years ago I was just 23 years old. I sat alone at my desk in my bedroom in the apartment I shared with my best friend, typing away, trying to navigate the Blogger website. I was single, six months into my job at a newspaper in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Still navigating the new life, still making new friends. 

I'd run my very first marathon the month prior. I swore I'd never run another -- that's how hard it was. I'd yet to run a half marathon. Please, I was still recovering from a summer of marathon training. For that one marathon. 

Today, ten years later, I've recently finished my 18th marathon, and I've got 45 half marathons under my belt. But ten years ago, I had no idea. 

I sat in my room, having no idea that within the next six months, I'd begin dating a man and he'd propose to me on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean in Myrtle Beach, and that I'd marry that man a year later only to leave him shortly thereafter. 

That night, alone in my room, I didn't know that I'd move 13 times in the next ten years. I didn't know I'd leave Oshkosh in three years, head back to my hometown, head east to Milwaukee, back to Oshkosh and eventually run away to Madison, Wisconsin, with an entirely new career so I could escape a terribly broken heart. 

I hadn't yet met the man who'd break my heart like that. Or the men whose hearts I'd break years later. 

Ten years ago I'd never been to California or Washington D.C. or seen a mountain. I hadn't yet lost two more grandparents or any of my jobs. George W. Bush was president ten years ago. I didn't know I'd campaign hard for the first black president just a few years later, and that Barack Obama would lead the free world for eight years. I had no idea I'd shake his hand during a campaign stop. 

I still had two cats ten years ago. I had no idea I'd navigate my own way through a hurried divorce at just 26 years old, and that I'd feel embarrassed and ashamed by that for years. Or that 11 moves later a man would knock on my door, and I'd fall in love with him, too, but eventually make the heartbreaking decision to leave him when I realized my life and heart were pulling me down a different path.

I'd have my heart broken, I'd break hearts, and I'd break my own heart. 

That night ten years ago I didn't know the worst day of my life would come the day I decided to put my cat to sleep. That I'd hold her while the veterinarian injected her with the serum that would stop her heart, and that I'd wish my heart would stop, too. 

I didn't know I'd eventually rescue a dog or that Chicken would become the best, most amazing creature to literally ever exist on the entire planet. That I'd cling to her with my life when she became the solo cat in my household. 

I only had two tattoos ten years ago. Today I have nine. Did you know one of those tattoos covers one I got right after  my honeymoon? Turns out when they say to never tattoo a name -- or, in my case, initials -- on your body, they mean it. I'd pierce my nose two different times in the next ten years, and decide eventually that life would be best with a naked nostril. You're welcome, mom.

While I sat in my bedroom on November 30, 2005, I lived two hours from my parents. That's the furthest I'd live from them for the next ten years. I'd never imagine life being any different. In 33 years, I've never lived outside of Wisconsin, even though my parents are now in Illinois. 

I had no idea at 23 years old that ten years later, on November 30, 2015, I'd be sitting at my kitchen table, in the same home as Chicken and my dog and the man whose heart I had to hurt in order to seek the life my heart needed, planning to move a fourteenth time.

But this move will take me 29 hours away from my parents. Eighty miles will become 2,000. Ten years ago, while in my apartment with my best friend roommate, the idea of moving across the country terrified me, just like it does now, ten years later. 

Unlike ten years ago, I'm strong. I'm brave. My heart is tough. My soul is happy. I've lived through hard things and happy things and devastating things and wonderful things and emotional things and angering things and everything in ten years. I can live through this, too.

I'm excited.

And thanks to this blog, I won't forget any of these things. I don't want to.

Happy birthday, blog.