Three years ago...damn. I look back at where I was. It was a definitive turning point in my life. It was when I finally stopped to think about what I wanted my life to be and started making decisions to change things.
I look back at September 2001. I see a little girl who was scared. Running away from a lot of things in her life. I see a young woman who was on the brink of finding the distant outer layers of what she wanted to become. I see a person who made a lot of tough decisions to be where she is today.
When I look back and think about three years ago, the first thing I want to do is apologize to so many people. I don't know why. I feel like I was such a horrible person for so long. I look at the person I was then at 20-years-old. I was making my first real-life decisions on my own and they weren't necessarily right and they weren't necessarily one's that I am proud of. But, I won't and I can't ever take them back. They were my mistakes. But, I do apologize for how I treated a lot of people then. I know I didn't leave a lot of relationships the way I should have. I just didn't know how to at that point in my life.
It's so strange how in three years a person can grow and change so much. I never really thought I had changed all that much -- until today. I guess as I'm cleaning up and packing a lot of my things away the past week or so, and also saying goodbye to a lot of important people in my life, I've been able to realize a few things.
I have grown up. I have changed. I hope in a positive way. I hope I'm on the right track to where that young woman saw herself heading three years ago. I'm not that scared little girl anymore who's afraid to make choices on her own. But, I still doubt myself (one of those things that I wonder if I will ever outgrow). I do see someone in the mirror now who is focused on a dream of a better future, but unfortunately, still lets the past dictate a lot of what she is becoming. For better or for worse, I do let past actions lead me down the paths ahead of me.
I have been finding it so hard and so awkward to have to say goodbye to people this week. I've been on the verge of tears with everyone (hopefully they couldn't tell). But I've enjoyed my time with all of my friends -- Ann, Katie, Amber, Marcia, Val (hopefully I will see you), Steve...everyone. I just wish I knew that this wasn't the end to something, y'know?
It's so hard to make the choices that I have to make in the next year. Where am I going to move? What job am I going to take? How am I going to help my family? Or even the simplest decisions like: Where am I spending Christmas? I don't want to have to make these decisions. But I have to.
And everytime I think about it...the only thing that comes through my mind is how I can't come back to Milwaukee -- at least not for a long time. It's just too painful right now. It's been my home for 23 years and now its gone. The next time I come back, the house that I grew up in, won't be my house anymore. It'll be someone's else's. Do you know and can you understand how hard that is for me? This isn't something that I should have to deal with. But I have to.
I look at myself right now. I see that little, scared girl again. Running even faster and farther, just trying as hard as she can to escape from the life that is escaping her. I see a disenchanted young woman in the mirror now who doesn't know if her dreams are even possible. I see more fears than dreams in all honesty, and that shouldn't be the case.
While I have changed a lot over the course of three years, so much has stayed the same. I can't escape the life that my family has. Sometimes, so many times, I wish I could. But, I can't. It isn't possible and it isn't even an option. And when I think about it, it just makes me angry and more frustrated. I can't change things. I don't have that ability. I want things to be great. But they aren't. I wish I could be that little girl, with stars in her eyes who had the world at her fingertips as she walked along the stage receiving her diploma in 1999, but I can't. That life was just an illusion.
I just wish a lot of the past five years has been an illusion, too.