by

gulf coast native, pacific coast bound: I'm moving to California next week


there isn't enough exclamation points in the world (!!!!!) for how the north bay area is gonna be something like home for a little while. In one week we move across the country. (which for the record still hasn't stopped being fun to say) After visiting our family in New Orleans we'll be traveling to and all up through California which is almost identical to road trip I once took out that way some years ago. Traveling cross country + all through the west was one of the best experiences of my life - and now I get to do it all over again with my person. The next few weeks are going to be crazy and a little bit stressful. but mostly we're happy! Nervous, stupid excited, and ready to start the next part of our lives.



But I also wanna talk about how sometimes, no matter how romantic the notion, moving every couple of years is kind of daunting as hell. Usually I've taken on these parts of life by letting survival mode kick in, instinctively committing because I know that it's important to just take the jump and figure out what to do when I'm in it. It's not always graceful but I don't think it has to be, I think it's just about culling confidence out of the unpredictable. And there's always a lot of unpredictable. I've kept myself from talking about so many things because of it. And when I was too afraid to share the potential disappointments I also never shared the great hope and possibilities that flourished first. I thought I was protecting us from getting let down, but I think it was a cop out and I don't wanna do that anymore. And so maybe that means having to admit to the darker side of uncertainty. Like how we'll only be in California for less than a year and it took me almost that long to quit holding everything about moving to/living in Memphis at arms length. Or how I have no idea where we're going to go after California - which is really exciting! but it's tricky dealing with so much unforeseeable. And I don't know how close or far we'll be from our family next, or in what ways my husbands career will change for him after he completes his training there. Suddenly time starts morphing into this thing with a physical weight. Like a house you grew up in. Like boxes full of your stuff, like oceans or mountains. But also what once seemed like tiny markers in the trajectory of our life together start building up into these defining turning points for us. These are the places where the story shifted, here's where we grew into the kind of people we needed to become. Here's where we found the ways to continue on and keep banging on the door for whatever's next. We've been waiting to get these next orders so we could venture out to our new story and now that it's happening my heart is - as one of my favorite writers once wrote - cracking with gratitude. There's a lot about the next years of our life that we can't even begin to find some semblance of control in and that can be so intimidating. But there's also a lot that I am sure of:

I'm pretty sure I'll accidentally cry when I sit next to my husband and watch as he sees the stars above the grand canyon for the first time. As a nineteen year old I once watched those very constellations and thought I would never feel anything like I felt there for the rest of my life; how tiny and connected I felt to everything. How beneath the unwoven light of those stars I could feel my place in the world flowering there, obvious and bright like bits of glass. My gut is telling me now that with this person who I've built a life together with sitting there next to me it's going to be more than I could have ever understood then. crazy good. I'm sure that all my ideas of distance and closeness have inevitably taken new forms once more, that sometimes I find myself rearranging the definitions for them as I go along. There’s still not a lot of confidence in the starless distances between the people and the places you love, and what there is of it is usually desperate. but there are ways to forgive the space - sometimes just because you can't hold the weight of it anymore. And I can't wait to step into the icy pacific for the first time in four years. I'm ready to miss the warmness of the gulf for awhile, to see what that's really like. I'm hoping I'll let myself catch the newness of it all unconsciously, just totally sloppily and unapologetic. That I'll step back and stop fighting the weird, the indefinite, the chaos. And maybe it's better to look at them as bridges instead of landslides, isn't it? Maybe the fiascoes are more constellatory than I've given them credit for. deep cut roads getting us to where we needed to end up. I'm sure I'll miss my family more than I could prepare myself for. I know we're both gonna hate leaving behind two dudes who have become some of our favorite people here (rooftop hangs + spilling margaritas on everything forever). I have a feeling I'm going to find myself homesick for more cities that were never really mine and maybe that's never going to make sense. But I'll probably keep trying to write the reasons out of it anyway. I'm sure there will be a lot of days where it all seems so much harder than I knew I was in for - And that there will be just as many good, warm afternoons spent with my hand out the window as we laugh, as we miss where we came from, as we uncover the ways to keep finding hometowns out of each other.  I hope that I take the time to encourage kindness in the face of not knowing what I'm doing--and have the guts to just laugh and move on when I find out I'm doing it wrong as hell. Mostly I'm sure that as I cross state lines I will sing some Led Zeppelin songs, so much perfect 90's hip hop, and probably the entire Grease soundtrack if I'm being real with you (deal with it dude) - All sung at the top of my lungs along with my guy on some road between this side of the country and that side. and I will feel very foolish and very alive and flooded with love.

even if it's never been graceful--the whole thing where you try and figure it out on the fly--it's always been worth the jump hasn't it?
Hey California, we're coming for you.


(*only one of these photos is from northern California actually, the other being a shot from venice beach in los angelos. I shot both of them during a road trip I took out west with two close crazy guy friends for two weeks circa 2010. but! I was so busy in the northern chunk of California that the golden gate bridge is the only photo I have of my time in the bay area. feelin lucky about this chance to photograph so much more of it)