neutral ground

I just realized that I didn’t blog at all in the month of August; it was such a hectic (in a good way) month that I never had the time. Looking back, probably the best month of my life. I got to do everything I’d been wanting to do this summer. I traveled, I rode over a hundred different rollies, I relaxed, I panicked, I let go, I found a place to live for the school year, and I spent lots (though still not nearly enough) time with the family that I love and the man that I love. Really love.

Last week, it was back to reality when I finally had to come back to Michigan on Wednesday. About an hour into my drive back from Indy, I decided to text Ash and see what she was up to that night. I hadn’t seen her since June…we’ve both had a busy summer. So that night, instead of driving back to Ann Arbor, I ended up downriver at her house, hanging out with her and her little (can I even say “little” anymore? She’s 13.) sister, Shelby. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen her. It’d been years. But I was so happy to see them both; we talked and talked and prank called people like Ash and I used to do when we were 13. I loved it.

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This weekend, I moved back to Ypsilanti. I’m thrilled about being closer to everyone again. Living so close to downtown Ann Arbor for the summer was nice, but I way underestimated how much farther away it would put me from everything else. Even going downriver was a hike. Now, I’m closer than ever; to family, to friends, to campus…to everywhere except Indy…

I like the new house, so far. I’m less than thrilled about the area (because it’s Ypsi), but I like the house itself and my roommates, so I can’t complain yet. I was thankful to have Chelsey offer to help me pack up at Nate’s apartment on Friday, which was such a relief I can’t even explain. I don’t think she realized what a huge thing that was for me…not that I needed much help packing (six boxes total, I think?), but her presence at the apartment drastically reduced the awkwardness and stress levels. Not that it wasn’t still weird…I mean, how could I not step foot inside the place and sense the tension? And think about what I did? I don’t want to say “what I did” as though I was entirely in the wrong for the way things turned out, but I can’t think of any other way to put it. I signed that lease with him in February knowing that I was not happy, thinking that I could talk myself into being happy, and being wrong. How could I not feel at least a little bit guilty?

So after we packed up my car and my grandpa’s truck on Saturday and after I had thanked Nate for his patience with everything and after I’d said my goodbyes to Arrow, my guilty conscience kind of got the best of me. My uncles were making jokes about the whole thing, and my mom and Grandpa were laughing. I could shrug off my uncles and my Grandpa, but I got defensive when my mom jumped in. She, of all people, should have known the dynamics of the breakup, that my goal was never to hurt anyone, and that there was nothing to laugh about. I did my best to change the subject (“Anyway…that’s enough of that.”) but was really happy, in that moment, that I drove separately from the rest of them as we headed back to Ypsi.

So while it was a huge relief to finally get everything moved out of Nate’s apartment, it all still sucked. More than anything (and this probably sounds really stupid), I feel like a failure to Arrow. We adopted him just under a year ago and, at the time, I figured I’d take care of him until he died. We put the adoption papers in my name and in the back of my mind, I was relieved by that. I knew that if Nate and I ever split up, at least Arrow would be mine.

When I moved to Ann Arbor, my new place didn’t allow pets, and I decided I would let Nate keep Arrow for the summer until I could find a place for the fall that accepted pets. Now, I feel lucky that I even found a place to live for the fall, and while I don’t think my roommate would be totally opposed to me having a cat, there are already two dogs in the house. Big dogs…and ones I don’t think Arrow would be too happy about. That, on top of the guilt trip Nate put me on the last time I visited Arrow, lead me to the decision to give up my kitty cat…to let him stay where he’s been pretty much all his life. I know he’s happy there, and it would be selfish of me to try and uproot him and make him happy here when, in all honesty, I’m not sure he’d like it in this house.

I don’t regret adopting Arrow by any means, but I wish I’d just found a way to take him with me when I moved out in April. I wish I didn’t put myself in a situation where I felt like my only choice was to give him up (and hope that I still get to see him from time to time, but not really knowing for sure if that will ever actually happen or not), and I feel like I let him down. But if anything, Arrow has been a lesson for me not to rush into things so quickly, as I almost always tend to do. The whole thing with Arrow and the thing with Nate, if anything, has petrified me into rushing into anything ever again. And maybe that’s bad because what’s wrong with a little spontaneity every once in awhile? But it’s probably for the best, because it’s a big part of the reason I’m still pushing through with my decision to go to grad. school (which I’m dreading), when in reality all I want to do is pack up again and move to Indy or Louisville.

Anyway, more than anything, I’m just thankful for this whole summer. I got to do so much; I got to spend time in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Illinois, Tennessee, Georgia, and even Texas. I got to work a full time job in my field. I experienced living with complete strangers in an area I knew nothing about. I spent time with friends and family. I did what my heart told me was right. I let myself be okay with that. I anticipated. I fell in love. I’m still anticipating so much.

I want to go back to this:

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But I’m so happy I got to do all this:

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