Thursday, January 16, 2014

Utah, or why I haven't been writing so much

I'm sure you are all sick of hearing about it, but I can't begin to explain what moving to Utah has done for me. For us. I never get over it. Sometimes it wells up in me, though, this gratitude, and I have to talk about it.
Back in Wisconsin, I had (and have) good friends. Friends who would go out of their way to help me out. Friends who did much more for me than I ever thought to do for them. But when we moved to a small town far away and couldn't make any friends there, it was incredibly isolating. I sunk into myself. My friends would come out to my house when I didn't have a car during the day, and I would much less frequently go to them, but I was really too wrapped up in my own head to be a good friend back. It was too hard. I was too tired. It was too far. Blah blah blah. It was hard, and I was tired, and it was far, but it would have been well worth the trouble.
We moved here, and I considered it a fresh start. I decided I was going to accept every invitation (unless it was to a marijuana/drinkin' party) and make invitations of my own. I think we had people over for dinner at least once a month for the first six months. It was exhausting and stressful (once I've had you over a time or two, it's not, but those first couple times just make me insane with anxiety). I had gained about 15 pounds during the course of the move, and I just felt look a big, socially awkward dork. "I can't believe that thing you said to her. What will she think?" "How could you talk about yourself so much?" "Stop interrupting!" "You. Are an idiot." These thoughts would follow me around for days after time spent with a new friend.
In response, I ran around with my fingers in my ears yelling, "Lalalalalalalala! Can't hear you!" and those voices never really went away, but now I get to shove my really good friendships down their throats and muffle them a bit. I AM a big, socially awkward dork, and do you know what? These people love me anyway. We have found the best people here, mostly at church, but some elsewhere. I actually hugged one of them spontaneously and voluntarily the other day. She said something that made me feel so loved that I actually reached out and hugged her. If any of you are aware of how weird I feel about hugging, then that tells you something.
And here, I think I have turned into a better friend. I never would have thought before on my own to offer a friend a meal if she was sick. But it's just what people do here. They help. If I could describe the personality of my church, I would say, "They help." So I learned to help. I'm sure I'm perfectly oblivious in many other self-absorbed ways, but I look back and think how much different I am now. I wish I had been this kind of friend to my people back home. They were wonderful people. I'm sorry I didn't really see just how wonderful until I suddenly had to reach out and make some friends, out of sheer desperation. Having to start over completely is probably one of the best things that has ever happened to me (and, probably, to my kids).
So all this happiness, it keeps shooting out of me like a rainbows out of a unicorn, and I just don't feel compelled to write as much. It used to be my hobby because I needed something to do, something I felt like I was good at. But now I only do it when I'm feeling all mushy gushy or have something that has suddenly piqued my interest.
I'm best at complaining in a funny way, and, well, there isn't much to complain about. Utah drivers are the worst, but I've done that. The inversions are horrible, but we haven't had a bad one yet this year. The kids are even happy and mostly pleasant. Our house has still not sold, but I stay away from that topic because I can mostly not worry about it... unless I let myself start thinking too much, and then worry creeps in. God has always taken care of us. We are pretty sure he will not stop now. And besides, the worst that could happen--and it's highly unlikely, unless something big breaks--is foreclosure, and that's a first world problem if there ever was one. A big problem, but definitely first world: "We rent a perfectly comfortable, warm, and spacious house and eat nutritious and satisfying meals three times daily, but our OTHER house, we might have to give that up and take a credit hit." In the broad scheme of things, that's a huge BOO HOO SISSY.
So life is good, and I don't feel like writing. I need to go back to putting down ideas as they occur to me throughout the day. Because once I have a topic, I really do like to get into it. There just aren't any topics coming to mind when I sit down at the computer.

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