With my Big Black Boots and an Old Suitcase…

Ten years ago I had no job.

It was summer and I had finished up a great long-term subbing position at the beginning of June, but there were no substitute teaching positions during the summer months. I had yet to find a “real’ teaching job.

Ten years ago I had no relationship.

I had been dumped after a five-year relationship in the spring and I had been barely getting by on a wing and a prayer (also know as Doritos and booze) for months.

I was depressed, but I didn’t know it.

Then in July of 2003, after four months of sulking and one month of being unemployed, a friend from college emailed me that he was moving from Michigan to Santa Monica, California in August.  He had a place lined up, but would love a roommate if I wanted to come too.

I laughed at first. Yeah, right.

And then I looked around at my tiny house.  The one next-door to my grandparents that I was renting from them. The one where I ate cereal and Doritos as my only meals and some days didn’t get out of bed until 4pm.

The one I shared with my cat.

That spring all of my plans for the future gone right down the toilet.

I no longer had dreams of marrying my long-time boyfriend. I had sent out and stopped by a combination of over 100 schools looking for a teaching position and hadn’t heard from even one. I couldn’t live on $65 a day subbing (sporadically) for another school year.

Why should I stay in this tiny town? I asked myself.

I had been back from college for almost a year now; what was keeping me from packing up and moving away and trying something else?

It was so unlike me, but I went online and applied for about ten different teaching positions in and around the Santa Monica area. I also emailed my friend and told him if I could find a job offer, we might be in business.

And then I got three emails and a phone call from four of the districts I applied to in California. Three of those four wanted to hire me right there sight unseen.  No interview.  No practice lesson. In fact, they would fly me out there and help me move in.

With my big black boots and an old suitcase…
I do believe I’ll find myself a new place.*

I started to get excited.  As in call my parents and try to decide whether or not to take my cat with me across the country kind of excited.

I emailed all my friends and family and told them I was moving to California at some point.

I started thinking about how one moves across the country. Via moving trucks? On a plane? Yeah, I was not bringing the cat. He would die of the trauma.

We can live beside the ocean,
leave the fire behind
Swim out past the breakers
watch the world die.

My friend, Cortney, emailed me to tell me good luck and that he thought it was a cool idea, but that truthfully he would miss me an awful lot. He was the only person (other than my mom) to convey such a feeling. That I would be missed if I left.

I remember thinking he was sweet and that I would surely miss him too. I mean, he was such a great friend.

Less than a month later, this happened.

And a week after that, my current school district called me for an interview…and I got the job.

A couple weeks after that Cortney was not my friend anymore, he was my boyfriend.

I didn’t move, obviously. I decided to take the job in my current school district (where I had done my student teaching and several long-term substitute positions).  I decided to take the plunge on Cortney.

It’s been ten years since I made that decision.  The decision to stay in the tiny small town I always said I would leave.

When I went to college, I had determined that I would meet a guy from somewhere and go to that somewhere.  I was not going to follow the pattern of marrying a guy from my high school and having his babies and living my whole life in this hick town.

Until I did.

Not because I didn’t try to NOT end up this way.  But because this is the way I was supposed to end up.

It’s been ten years and I rarely think about the chance I had to “get away” from this life.  Probably because I never wish this life away. Even when it sucks, I never wish I was somewhere else with a different guy with different (or no) kids.

I never don’t want this life.

Sometimes I don’t think I am doing a good job at this life I was gifted, but I never ever wish it away.

Not for all the white sands on a Santa Monica beach.

*Lyrics from “Santa Monica” by Everclear

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