In my short life I have lived in three locations outside my place of birth Palm Beach County, Florida. Those three places were Tallahassee, Fl; Philadelphia, Pa and Mesa (Phoenix), AZ. In my transition and move to each of these places I experience loneliness throughout my transition.
In Tallahassee, I was negotiating my way through the new freedoms and responsibilities that come with living away from your parents for the first time. I was lucky to be able to have people who came from my hometown or similar backgrounds at the same point in their lives negotiating similar things. I was blessed with the optimism to see the best in others and the ability to open myself up to the others. I had never really known the sting of hurt that can only come from being hurt by someone you let in and called your friend. The demised of my “friendships” up to that point had occurred because I grew bored with them and discarded “friends” like play things. I came out of high school not really concerned about making lasting human connections. As shallow as that seems it probably saved me from putting too much energy in relationships and saved me the heartbreak of teenage love affairs that my friends endured.
Two and a half years passed in Tallahassee. I made connections. Dare say I even made friends. I got my heart broken and my optimism took some hits. But I emerged from my time in Tallahassee stronger and wiser; with a bit more understanding of why people might be important in your life. I went home, rested up and my next stop was Philadelphia, Pa. I entered Philadelphia with more of the knowledge of what a “life-long friendship” could be and why I might actually want that in my life. I was in a new place, so excited about meeting new people that could enrich my time in Philly. I quickly learned that everyone who smiles in your face is not your friend. I foolishly thought that I was building friendship while my colleagues in my MA program were simply scoping out the competition (save for one beautiful exception). At the same time I was going through a period of discovering who I was, which lead to tension within my “friends” from before Philadelphia. Many relationships did not survive this period of “discovering Tab” yet some were strengthen during this period. I learn to guard myself. Everybody ain’t your friend. Everybody will not be in your life forever. I left Philly with both love and heart break. With determination yet very much jaded.
I went home. Saw changes in me and in my hometown. Distanced myself away from my high school and childhood friends because the reflection I saw in them was no longer familiar. I am also sure the Tabitha they saw was also a stranger to them. I spent the year hanging with my parents and family. The people I associated with in West Palm Beach were mostly those who were easy and superficial with two exceptions. I nurtured my friendships with my friends who lived elsewhere. I spent a lot of time either alone or traveling.
I have always been pretty comfortable with myself. As a child I spent hours reading, a pastime of solitude. I have always craved the option of solitude. When I decided to move across the country to attend ASU, I thought back on my transition to Tallahassee and Philadelphia. Although those weren’t the easiest I believed I could it. I am older and wiser, right? I have built a support network, I can do this! Right?
I find myself facing the same problems I faced before. More specifically the issue of who can I trust. I know better than to be open with everyone. But sometimes feelings, emotion and loneliness can cloud one’s sense of judgment. Not knowing anyone and wanting or even needing a connection from someone that is not over the telephone or through skype- can make someone eager to make a connection with someone- anyone. Then you make that connection too fast or too soon and learn that person probably couldn’t be trusted. As independent as I say I am- I am still human. I still desired to be hugged by someone who loves me. Be around those who love and affirm me. I also have to accept that it is very real possibility that will not happen anytime soon if ever in Phoenix. I must learn to find ways to sustain myself without those types of relationships; while also not completely closing myself of to the possibility of genuine relationships here in Phoenix.
But I came here for a degree. Heart break and pain is not on the agenda.
I guess it will have to be…
~Just Tab (for now)