One year ago today, I was kissing my ex-boyfriend goodbye, wishing I could cry a little more. I was running out of gas as I pulled into Miles City, MT with my body leaned forward over the steering wheel in hopes that my wimpy weight could propel it forward just far enough. I made it to the Walmart parking lot, made sure the doors were locked as I glanced around suspiciously at the idling cars at the edge of the pad of tar, and went inside to brush my teeth because this was one of those new habits I was determined to create in my "new life." Brushing twice a day, drinking more water, writing more, eating less sugar, and staying away from boys. My cold nose boogers seeped into the pillow smothering the knife my friend John had given me two days before, and the stun gun wedged between my mattress and the wall. The steam of my body heat clung to the windows, frosting instantly. This is what I wanted, I reminded myself. This is what I needed.
I don't have much to show for a year, except longer hair, a faded tan, a car with a couple thousand more miles on it than before, a camper with a leak in the hatch frustrating my dad as it sits in his Minnesotan garage, a digital map that hurt my eyes to make, and a backpack obnoxiously full of patches.
My experiences may not be measured by my resume lines, money gained, or sponsorship successes, but I have fallen in love with friends and places, developed a much deeper understanding of myself and the options available for a life, learned how to pole dance and grease up my bearings, have watched a few sunsets, and gained a few stories to tell.
A friend recently said I seem "free spirited" lately, but I think I have just started learning how to take one moment at a time.
Today, I'm sitting on the deck looking out over my Chevy Tracker, the trusted steed that took me around the US of A as it sits at the base of the Berkshire Mountains. Writing in a fresh notebook, because the other had so many notes and momentoes stuffed in it that it lost its spine. I rub my tongue along the front of my teeth and slosh some tea around my mouth to clean the chocolate chip cookie buildup off before my boyfriend kisses my mouth. As he leans in, I hope my breath smells like cookies because I can't remember if I brushed my teeth this morning. When he shuts the door to go inside our home, I turn back towards my page, pulling the blankets tight around my face, and look for the sun to let its rays warm the tears welling in the corners of my eyes. Just as it has this past year, so many times.
I cry over everything I gained. I cry over the things I didn't know I needed.
I cry over how much has changed. And I cry over the things that never will.