Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Every now and again, I find myself wishing I had one of these...not one to tell me the future, (okay maybe sometimes to tell me the future) but to help me figure out what would have happened had life's path not shifted on me just when I thought I had that whole "future" thing figured out.
I've been packing this week. For me, packing is always harder than unpacking. I'm not the type of person that just throws everything into a box and figures it out once I get there. I go through everything I've accumulated, throwing away things, giving things to Goodwill or D.I., and reliving old memories. This takes time and effort.
With this move, I find myself playing that "What if???" game more than I ever have. Maybe its just that for some reason I feel that this move is a real shift in my life. More real than any shift of move I've ever made. Somehow I have this feeling that this move will be the last time I move out of my parents' house. I feel that I'm on the brink of something bigger. It terrifies and excites me all at once. As I dig through old pictures and memories, I find myself wondering what my life would be like if things had played out differently. Of course, I could never really know, but I can always suppose and play "make believe" in my head.
I'm not replaying small little bumps in the road, but the big life changing forks where my path shifted so much that I wasn't sure I could keep going- when the path shifted so much I thought I was lost for a while.
The first big fork- College...namely, my bachelors degree. I had an apartment in Rexburg, I had registered for my classes...I didn't know what I was going to study, but I was going to be a good little Mormon girl and go to BYU-Idaho because...well...that's just what my family did. Everyone for as long as I can remember went to Ricks and BYU-I. But, life happened, I ended up at Idaho State as music major. I find myself wondering what would have happened if I'd gone to BYU-I. Since I didn't know what I was going to study, I wonder if I would have been lost. I wonder if I would have found the happiness that I found in Pocatello, I wonder if my testimony would have grown as much as it did...I can tell you two things I wouldn't have had: Erica and Sheena...while we may have had a moment where our paths diverged and we weren't friends for a moment, these two women have been the best friends I've ever had in my life. I wouldn't have gone to graduate school...or atleast I don't think I would have, because I didn't know what I wanted to do. I literally fell into music and found my passion. Maybe I would have gotten married, maybe I would have found the Mr. Right for that season or time in my life...but I don't think I would have found me, I would have found the me that I was expected to be by the world, and that, my darlings, would have been a true tragedy.
The next "What if???" revolves around the man that I consider to be the love of my life (so far...). I dated him my junior year at ISU. He was a returned missionary, he was in choir with me. We were friends, good friends, for a while. He saw me through heartbreak and finally he confessed that he liked me and had feelings for me. Our first "date"(watching a movie at my apartment) was kind of a disaster. My friend/roommate Sheena was there and wouldn't leave. I remember after he left I felt hopeless. I asked Sheena why he didn't try to hold my hand or put his arm around me (he stayed securely planted at the other end of the couch...believe me, I watched and he didn't move once). By this time, my friend Erica and I had had our paths diverge, she was mad at me about another boy I'd dated previously ( I broke the girl code and dated a guy another friend liked, so sue me....) So Sheena was all I had, she ended up resenting me and my relationship with this boy...but at the time, it seemed like it was worth the risk. I was head over heels. I thought we were going to be together forever. I would cook dinner, he would come over and watch me cook dinner, he would put his arms around my waist and kiss my neck and I would just feel....loved...Then, after about a month of that, a month of having him around every day, a month of him listening to me cry about the loss of my best friend Sheena, a month of him being my rock and my everything...he told me that he wasn't ready for what I was ready for...it was over. I was lost, I was alone. He had become my best friend and he was gone...
My "what if?" in this situation doesn't revolve around "what if" I hadn't taken a chance and let myself fall in love with him...my "what if" revolves around "What if" he had been ready? Where would we be? I don't think I would have graduated from ISU...I don't think I would have gone to graduate school...I don't think I would have figured out who I am, I was still a work in progress at that time, I still wasn't 100% comfortable in my skin. I know he wouldn't be where he is. We are friends again (it took years P.S. for us to be friends again, and even now it seems to get confusing because the feelings are still there). I don't think he would have found his passion. He would have settled for finding a career that ended up as nothing more than a job to him. He wouldn't be the amazing remarkable man that he is today...so I'm grateful that he broke up with me. I'm grateful that he wasn't ready, because if I'm being honest with myself...I wasn't ready either.
My next "What if?"...what if I had married that guy in Missoula. We were practically engaged...we'd been ring shopping, we were talking dates...and then again, after 4 months of doing everything together...after 4 months of me coming to rely upon him and his steady presence...he was gone...he wasn't ready...(seems to be the story of my life). Well...I would have finished my masters, I was only a year away...but I wouldn't have even imagined a doctorate. I would have settled for a 9 to 5 job in Zoo town (happily) and let life come. He wouldn't have married a former friend of mine, who, if I'm being honest with myself again, needed him more than I did. By this time I was sure of myself and who I was. I knew what I wanted out of my life, I knew what I was willing to give up, and I knew what I was willing to settle for. I think they needed eachother more than they could have ever needed me. I needed to have my heart broken. I needed to have that experience of feeling like I was nothing...it was in feeling like nothing that I realized my strength. It was this experience that taught me about my capacity to love and forgive. I will never regret telling him I loved him. I will never regret the moments we shared, they proved to me that I really was ready for all that I thought I was ready for. Those moments showed me how far I was willing to go and what I was willing to give up to have my dreams. How can anyone regret that?
My next "What if?" What if I'd stayed in Missoula? What if I hadn't left my 9 to 5 as a dental office receptionist? What if I'd stayed with my best friend Kimmie in our cute little apartment? This is one decision that I often wonder about. There really was nothing left for me in Zoo town, besides Kimmie (my rock of Zoo town) and Emery( another What if that I try not to think about too much...one of those situations where you start developing feelings for a good friend, but you don't think its worth risking the friendship to find out...) I think I would still be there, working my 9 to 5, scraping out a living, performing every now and again with the Montana Lyric Opera or the Montana Actors Repertory Theater....I don't think I would be happy...I would be content, but not happy...I might have decided to think about a doctorate, but I wouldn't be thinking or dreaming quite as big as I am now. I wouldn't have gone to Astoria this summer to discover why my passion is my passion because I wouldn't have Ms.Lane...and I would still feel like I'd lost something because my voice changed and shifted and I had all new repertoire to learn...I feel like I've gained something now, I feel like opportunity is knocking because now instead of being in the dime a dozen group, I get to be in the quarter a dozen group...
Bottom line, I am grateful for where my life path has taken me so far. I think about all the "What if?"s in my life so far, and I realize how lucky I am that life's path did diverge, that there was a giant fork in the road, or, in some cases, road blocks. All of these forks and road blocks helped me to discover who I am. I know I still have a lot more to learn, but I think I'm a lot more sure than I was when I was that scared 18 year old girl starting her first week at ISU 9 years ago. I know who I am, and I know I am so blessed.
Isn't it funny how we fight and fight for something, only to realize that all along we'd been given something better than we ever could imagine while we weren't looking? I was talking to my sister today about my move and dating and life and she said, "you know what Brittany, you know who you are and what you want, that can be intimidating for some people, but its such a blessing. Just look at where you are now." For once, I was able to agree with her.
So...world...I am what I am! A crazy diva who sees the world, not just in shades of black and white, but as my older sister once said, in all the shades of the rainbow. I am a hopeless romantic, as much as I try not to be. I believe in love and I have faith in people. I have faith that, when it comes right down to it, everyone tries their hardest and does the best that they can. I know that no one ever means to break your heart. I know that I am being led down a path that will make me happier than I've ever been if I just have faith in it. I know I am being given everything I need thanks to a wonderful Creator who loves me. Because of this, everything will always work out for the best.
Sooo world...here is my theme song! Enjoy it! From La Cage aux Folle....I can say this with no regret...I AM WHAT I AM!!!!!!!!!