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.
No I'm not.
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.
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.