May 2, 2024

Well! What a trip. I wanted to get a blog post out once I got back, but I was so tired yesterday. I had to get up at 3:45 AM (and naturally, I couldn’t fall asleep until after 1), then had to return the rental car, then the plane changed gates twice, then there was a 4 hour layover, and then when I got back, we went out to eat, then went grocery shopping…Needless to say, I slept for like 10 hours last night.

As for the trip itself…I don’t think I mentioned this, but the city I’m moving to is the closest thing I have to a hometown. I wasn’t born there, but I moved there in the first grade and left after eighth. Most of my formative childhood memories were created there, and since I like to pretend my high school years simply did not happen, it’s the last place I acknowledge as part of my pre-adult life. Unfortunately, college wasn’t much better, and then I graduated during COVID (everything has been a disaster since), so this opportunity to return was very welcome. I’ve always idealized those years of my life, although I guess it’s a bit of a cliche to pine over one’s halcyon days of youth.

Still, I was surprised at how much it stirred in me. Honestly, I was pretty nonchalant about leaving at the time, which is crazy considering how close I was to my friends back then. As a child, I often accepted things at face value (it didn’t occur to me it was possible to skip class until my senior year), so maybe it’s not so surprising that I had no complaints about being uprooted. My mother says my near pathological obedience made me a very easy child to raise, at least. But coming back made me realize that I was probably pretty sad about leaving. I’m glad I wasn’t driving for most of the trip, because there were several times I found myself having a borderline out-of-body experience when coming across old sights and smells. I don’t really even know how to name how I felt, but it was very powerful, alright. The smell of honeysuckle was especially jarring.

I also met up with a few old friends, which was surreal. Seeing them more than half a lifetime later when I was so terrible at keeping in touch…I think it’s true that you will never have friends that are like the ones you did as a child. I was shocked at how welcoming they were to me, given I’m functionally a stranger to them. My childhood best friend is married now, and pregnant, and she’s a schoolteacher. Her house is beautiful, and her two cats were delightful. It’s just weird to remember someone with so much clarity, knowing full-well that version of them doesn’t exist anymore. I remember her old home phone number that I dialed so many nights, the creek in her backyard where we’d catch tadpoles together, the way her older sister liked to play “school” with us, how proud she was when she made mac and cheese for us when her mom wasn’t home to cook for us…I guess it almost feels lonely. I wonder if she remembers these things as clearly as I do, or if I’m the only one who still does. We’re at such drastically different places in life now, and I wonder if we still have any common ground. She uses her “grown-up” voice with me now, the one she always used to use when she’d talk to adults on our behalf or when she wanted to sound more mature. It makes me wonder if that’s just her voice now, or if it’s a sign of the distance between us. I sort of hope it’s the latter.

I met with another old friend of mine, someone I kept in much better touch with via letter, and that was weird in a different way. This friend and I were close when I was at my most annoying developmental stage (terminal Tumblr poisoning circa 2014), and it makes me a little twitchy to know that’s probably how they remember me. I’d like to replace all those memories, but I guess I also feel wary…it’s going to sound mean, but I am always very hesitant about people who were with me at my worst, because I also remember them at their worst. And I know I’ve grown and changed, but I have no clue if they have. There are a lot of people who never grow out of those phases, and while I know it isn’t contagious, it makes me feel unsettled to be around people who still see me as someone I’ve thoroughly disavowed. I’d never tolerate the person I used to be, so anyone who reminds me of that person is automatically relegated to a “suspicious” category, as unfair as it is of me. This friend was very sweet to me, though, both when we were children, and during this trip. They’ve always been a very sweet person. I get the sense they want to maintain our friendship and become closer once I’m settled in, and I’m ready to do so, but I can’t help but feel just…weird! about it. I’m going to just keep meeting up with them and hope that feeling goes away. I’m kind of cagey about friendships in general, so maybe that’s all it is.

I also completely avoided linking up with a friend from middle school because I was just too embarrassed to see her. My own mental damage for sure, but we were involved in a middle school love triangle and I felt so weird about it upon leaving that I just never kept in touch. I heard through the grapevine she was excited to hear I was back in town, and that she even wanted to speak with me. I thought about it, but it was just too much to deal with mentally. It’s a little silly to be so caught up childhood melodrama, but it was very formative for thirteen year old me, okay? She and I were close friends in middle school, and I developed a crush on her friend. I often reported to her with updates regarding the progress in our relationship and sought her advice. It turned into a tumultuous on-off thing for the whole school year, so this poor girl had to sit through an awful lot of venting.

Eventually, she started behaving strangely, so I confronted her one day and wouldn’t let her leave until she told me what was wrong. It was uncool of me to push her so hard when she wanted space, but I really wanted to know. She finally confessed she had feelings for me, and had for a long time. I was shocked by this information for several reasons, one of the biggest being because I’d thought she was straight. I don’t even remember what I said, but I think it was something very intelligent like, “Oh…” and we didn’t speak very much after that. The girl I’d been interested in kissed a high school boy to spite me, I moved away, and so that was the end of that…but I always felt bad for handling this friend’s feelings so clumsily. In retrospect, my indifference was probably really hurtful to her. I didn’t consider her feelings at all. I didn’t know how to act around her, so I just avoided her until I left without ever really addressing what happened. She apparently became close to my best friend after I moved, so close they even lived together for a few years after high school. I was informed that she moved across the country a few years back with a girlfriend, but moved back when things didn’t work out. I really can’t imagine she holds a grudge for how things went down in the eighth grade, but I still feel badly, especially because if I’d been a little more emotionally competent, or just had a little more time before I moved, things might have been different.

This is actually a very persistent pattern of mine, something I only realized a few years ago. It makes me feel like such an idiot. Realizing that my longstanding “chasing after emotionally unavailable women who toy with my feelings while overlooking the close friend who patiently listens to my struggles and secretly has feelings for me, and then inevitably rejecting her through inaction when I find out her feelings, only to end up alone after losing both the on-off girlfriend and the friend whom I realize my affection for far too late” complex actually began when I was thirteen was so insane. The tragedy of this pathology is that you will always realize that you might have had real feelings for your friend, but you were so addicted to the adrenaline of a woman stringing you along that you never took the time to examine those feelings or question why you were so drawn to that friend to begin with. And by the time you do finally realize that maybe your feelings were deeper than friendship, you know it’d be cruel and fucked up to say so, and they’d never believe you anyways. Actually, now that I’m typing this out, isn’t this just the lesbian version of “Why do girls always go for bad boys instead of nice guys?” Lol. I swear I’m going to stop chasing after women with commitment problems, I swear it…Probably.

Okay, wow, I got off topic. I didn’t mean to digress into my catastrophic romantic issues. Damn, now I want a drink…Ahem, back on track. I had to sit through a few meals with some of my mom’s coworkers and academia buddies, and it reminded me that…I really don’t like academics. Maybe a little ironic for a professor’s daughter to say, especially given how much security I find within academia, but their condescension is so next level. I think it’s the polite backhanded nice Liberal thing they do that gets to me. When talking about life here, it’s especially obvious. “How rustic” = “What a shithole,” like whatever, who asked you. It’s like they’re always so obsessed with making you feel small in such petty, vindictive ways, but they are very invested in being “nice.” They’re impressed by the most inane things, too. Well, whatever, I think spite is a good motivator. I will get a job at the university, and they will pay for my education, and they will feel so stupid for thinking I am just a faildaughter. They will all see…

Huh. Okay. So Butterscotch just walked in and sprayed on the (to be fair, very torn up) ironing board. I really am going to go get a drink. Alright, back, and he’s sitting all innocently by the door like he didn’t just piss on anything. Unbelievable. My father will not be happy to hear about this…Well, I guess it’s a good time to segue into some cat news? Butterscotch got up to some sort of trouble while we were gone and now he has this horrible hole in his head that is perpetually moist and partially scabbed. He heals so slowly, too…I think we should take him to the vet if we get the chance. He’s always fighting! The neighbors complain about it, too. But honestly, this injury reminds me of one Gaia got as an outdoor cat. The vet thought she may have been attacked by a bird of prey, but we were never able to get any definitive answers. It’s really stressing me out, though…I can’t feasibly adopt any of these cats for quite awhile, so I just hope they survive until that day comes. And even then, they’re not exactly litter trained…I wonder if it’s a crazy pipe dream. I really want to keep them.

My father was very hurt and betrayed to realize none of the cats stick around unless you shower them in food and attention, and has taken to calling the particularly traitorous ones “fairweather [name].” Like he’ll scoff and say, “Here comes Fairweather Sesame.” One cat did come every day though, and it’s Coco (Licorice). I’m not shocked. He’s a homebody to his core. And he does love to hang out here, for whatever reason. It seems like he is always on the washing machine, or the stairs, or the driveway, or the paint buckets. As such, my father has become very, very fond of Coco. He even attempted to pet him, apparently, despite being very allergic. This went about as well as you can expect. He’s also fond of Nutmeg, who visited fairly often as well. He even suggested I pick up some wet food for the cats last night. I think he’s scared they will abandon him if I’m not around to spoil them, especially since he did say he’d take care of them while I’m gone despite having no real idea how. I will say, it is incredibly funny to hear this coming from the man who was so terribly unhappy about me feeding Butterscotch and demanded it never extend beyond him. He said he wanted them all gone, but look at him now! Although, I always suspected it’d turn out this way. The cats are just too cute. No one can resist them. But since returning, they’ve all gone back to camping out all day. I can see four of them now. The kittens are getting so big, too…

This post has been really all over the place, hasn’t it? I’m procrastinating again, so that’s part of the rambling. Ugh, there’s just so much to do. I have to pack all my shit up and send it in boxes via mail…then return to the apartment in a few weeks and open a new bank account, get a license, change my number, shop for home decor, get a car, get a job, get a new wardrobe for said job, all before fall. Not to mention all the problems here. Fun fact: apparently there has been a gas leak in my kitchen for months now. I kind of noticed it, but was mostly confused about where the gas smell was coming from. Maybe this explains my recent BL addiction. There’s also broken pipes somewhere, and the plumbers refuse to show up, so there’s been a terrible smell for over a month now. So much to do, so much to do…I feel like my life is always either set at a pace of “standing still while stuck in quicksand” or “sprinting with no end in sight.” Why can’t I have a “brisk walk” pace of life? Is that so much to ask for? Maybe someday.

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