I’d written the previous posts pretty near to the time of their occurrences. I, however, am looking back on my first couple of weeks in Nashville from a better place, because it was really difficult, and I didn’t have it in me to be writing at the time. So, for that, I apologize. I pride myself on raw storytelling, especially in my music, but as the previous post I made before my hiatus illustrates, sometimes, in the name of health and sanity, you need a break. I definitely needed a break. My first weeks here were turbulent and scary, to put it mildly. I came out of school feeling like I’d already had my big life-changing moments. That this move would be no different than the last, but I was completely wrong.
I was so anxious about leaving, that I didn’t even let it happen the first time we tried. I’d forgotten my laptop, and hours into our trip insisted on turning back for it, which I know, makes me look like a total spoiled brat. But the truth is it was never about the laptop. It was about me being completely scared and unable to express that to my family. I’d always been adventurous. I’d never really been homesick, and although I know they’d be supportive, it was almost an embarrassing thing for me to admit. So, I made it about the laptop, and the whole ordeal caused a big fight. I felt bad for the stress that must have caused my mom, and the fact that this had kind of tainted the whole start to my next chapter. But none of that mattered when I got back to our home, ran into the bedroom that I’d spent the past 22 years calling mine, and cuddled with my dog who wouldn’t be seeing me till Christmas.
There’s something very different about really leaving. It’s a kind of sadness that’s hard to explain. In college, home is still home. I lived in four different places all four years I spent there, so my family’s house was still my base. I knew I’d be coming back every fall, winter and summer break. This was different. This was permanent. And that first time we tried, I just wasn’t ready.
We left the next morning very early. My mom drove, and I slept most of the way. I honestly don’t remember much of it. I was in a pretty weird mood. I remember telling them over and over again that I could just drive myself since they were all mad at me. Thankfully, they didn’t listen. We got donuts and my favorite white cheddar popcorn and stopped at Cracker Barrel along the way. I can’t remember if we’d stayed in a hotel that night, or come to my place right away. But my mom helped me buy some essentials and set up my bed. My apartment was one I’d found online in a Facebook group. My roommate was super nice but wasn’t around most of the day. My mom slept in my room and my brother and I slept on the couches. We stayed up all night watching Netflix together. He’d been super helpful with everything, and it made me sad to think that He’d be growing up so far away from me.
The morning they left was about strangest emotion I’d ever felt in my entire life. I stood there in the silence, feeling almost crushed by it. I was alone. I don’t think I have ever felt that alone. I felt like I was almost trespassing in someone else apartment, it certainly didn’t feel like mine. My mom was gone. My brother was gone. I was here. In Tennessee, a place I’d only been once, by myself. With literally no one. And I’m sorry if this is redundant, but that’s exactly how it felt. Like a broken record in my head. You see, in college, it was different. My parents left, and I was sad for at most three minutes, then it was off to rush week and by the end of that night, I was already making friends with the girls on my floor. We all went into one room and watched movies together. The nerves went away instantly and I was excited to be there. I had an RA to go to if I needed help. It was a night and day difference. We talk about going to college so much as being the major life-changing moment for a young adult, but we really ought to spend more time talking about what happens after.
I’m not really sure what I did the rest of that day. I think I spent most of it sleeping, and when I couldn’t sleep anymore, I watched Netflix to distract myself. My room frankly freaked me out. The walls were an ugly beige color, everything was blank and sad. In these moments I questioned everything. All I wanted to be was back home or back in Lincoln. Adulthood had no welcome week. Here I was, in this strange place, no friends, no money, no clue. All I knew is that I was here to be a songwriter and that I had to start work at an ice cream shop within the next couple of days if I wanted to stay.