Ok so, I used to write on this thing all the time, then not at all. I wiped it clean because honestly it told the story of the last three-four years of my life and it depressed the hell out of me. This isn’t to say my current life isn’t fine but I have experienced decades worth of life within that time and it hasn’t been easy—it’s been confusing and somewhat never-ending. Truthfully, it wasn’t until I moved to California that I felt any semblance of normal.

come this winter, I will have lived in California for a year. It’s kind of hard to believe but it’s also something I’m very proud of. it’s been my “goal” to move to the bay for many years and I was very calculated in my steps to get here. I was afraid if it wasn’t done right, it wouldn’t last (i still believe that to be true to some extent). I went through all the emotions this past year of feeling excited, nervous, overwhelmed, homesick (even though I’m not exactly sure where I’d consider home at this point), and now somewhat established/confident.

Over the past few months, I’ve been alone and I wasn’t sure I belonged in California at all. I found it hard to get out of my comfort zone and do things that would help encourage community or friendship. And one day, I had the realization that like it or not, I had started to build something here. That if I needed help, I had people I could call. When I went out of town, people told me they missed me. This realization gave me the confidence to keep pushing on.

Following this realization, I looked up an alumni bar in the city where I could watch the football game because, why not? I wanted to watch the game and I was hoping as a fellow Tennessee Volunteer they’d accept me. Now, these people didn’t know what I was going through in my life on that particular day (thank god) but when I arrived, they welcomed me with open arms. They made me feel like I belonged there and moreover, that they were happy I was there. Every week they text me and hope I’m coming to spend time with them.

Moving to California felt very similar to when I moved to Tennessee. When I arrived at the University of Tennessee, I didn’t know a single person. I made the decision to go, as it was my lifelong dream but it definitely came at a cost. I had a serious boyfriend and a life I took a risk on to go try something different. I was shy and didn’t really give the place a chance at first because I was so homesick. I didn’t come out of my room for two months until I was so sick I was bedridden for days and my roommate Mary brought me food. I remember the moment the switch flipped for me. we started going everywhere together and meeting new people. I didn’t allow myself to slow down and as a result, I didn’t have time to feel lonely anymore.

Man, sometimes when I think about the friends I have I get really emotional! i have friends from all over the place—people I’ve formed connections with in the unlikeliest of places, under unusual circumstances who have played instrumental roles in my life. I try to form a connection when I feel one and I’m very grateful to those who have reciprocated. You’ve saved me, honestly.

I’m sitting at someone else’s desk at a cute little house in San Rafael writing this. I don’t know, I just feel very grateful to live in California and continue building a life here.