I have been told by many people this summer that I am incredibly brave. People are amazed that I would just pick up and move to Oregon without knowing anyone. They’re astounded I just picked up and moved to Missouri for college without knowing anyone. They think I’m this confident, independent woman who just makes friends at the drop of a hat and isn’t afraid of being alone. In some respects, part of that is true. I like to think I’m somewhat confident and independent (though I think that sentence just negated the “confident” part). I do make friends fairly easily, and I enjoy my alone time.
But y’all, if I’m being real, what you don’t know is that I’m homesick right now. I’m sitting here missing Columbia. I haven’t truly been homesick for Columbia in ages! I’m missing Colorado, and LT was two years ago. I’m missing College Station and Texas A&M. I’m missing my beautiful roommates and their daily friendship. I’m missing my homegroup and our crazy antics and shenanigans. I’m missing the dudes at the Dudeplex. I’m missing the people I play worship with on some Sunday mornings. I’m missing people able to play music with others in general. I’m missing people who would get excited and care that Mizzou and A&M are now both members of the SEC. There, I just word vomited all my homesickness out.
And I hate admitting this. I want to be brave. I want people to think I’m independent and confident. But that’s just my stupid pride. And that actually isn’t so good. So here I am telling you. When it comes down to it, I’m just not that brave.
(I am, however, a fiery redhead with a Scottish background, so in that sense, yes, I am like Merida. The blog post title is mostly a play on the movie’s title.)
Going to Mizzou wasn’t that big of a deal because it was college. Everyone picks up and starts a new life in college. You’re encouraged to break away from your high school friends and meet new people. Even though I knew no one going to Mizzou, I also knew lots of people would know no one at Mizzou. And we could know no one together. Plus there were all sorts of instruments in place to help me meet people at Mizzou: my Summer Welcome group, my residence hall, my FIG. That doesn’t count.
As for Oregon, yes, I moved here not knowing anyone, but I also knew it would only be for nine weeks. You can do anything for nine weeks. I also did a lot of research to ensure I wouldn’t be totally alone here. I friended the two ACUHO-I interns on Facebook before I even got to Oregon after I asked my boss if there would be other interns here. I researched churches before I left so I could start meeting people right away. People saw that as be just being a planner, but it was also me not wanting to be alone.
And even though I’ve met some great people here and really never run out of things to do, I miss my friends. I miss my home(s). I miss CoMO. I miss Colorado. I miss CStat. (I even miss Arlington a little, but actually not all that much. Sorry Mom & Dad and Blair and grandparents! I’m not used to seeing you that much… that’s the only reason why! I promise it’ll make sense by the end of this post.)
Ever since I moved to Mizzou, I have never truly been without friends. I had my Mizzou friends at Mizzou. I stayed in Columbia with friends for two summers. I went to Colorado for a summer, but I went with Mizzou friends, and in fact, it was nearly all my close Mizzou friends that went! I moved to College Station, but I also already had friends there. I went to Italy for two weeks, but that was only for two weeks, and I at least was starting to become friends with most of my teammates.
This summer, this Oregon summer, is the first time I have truly moved somewhere without knowing anyone or having a group of other newbies to cling to. This is the longest I’ve been apart from my CStat friends. (This is not even close to how long I’ve gone without seeing my family, hence not missing them as much. This is somewhat normal for how we function these days.)
This is quite possibly what post-grad-school life is like. And that terrifies me. People say I’m brave and can just move somewhere without knowing anyone, but I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I don’t want to do that when I graduate.
Searching for a job is like a big scary black unknown for me right now. Thank God it isn’t happening for 10 months. If I had my way, next fall I’d working in College Station, Austin, Memphis, San Marcos, the DFW, Mizzou or Pitt. Where I know people. Or where there are GCM churches. Where I would not be alone. I see these SAAHE
second years recent grads who are off starting their lives in totally new places. They are the braves ones.
I dread starting over. I don’t want to have to share my life story with a new set of strangers. I don’t want to have to re-explain who people are when I tell stories from my past. And I realize this will happen even if I stay in CStat or move to another GCM campus church or back to Mizzou or whatever. I’m going to meet new people, and I actually enjoy making new friends. But only if I have some constants. Even moving to CStat was hard in that aspect because even though I had a few close friends there, I still had a support system to rebuild. I remember thinking to myself, “Crap. I have to find my new Amanda Craven (one of my closer female friends, peer discipler, and confidant).”
Anyway, now I’m just letting my fears out all over the page, which is silly because I know God is going to take care of me wherever I go. I will be okay if I stay in College Station. I will be okay if I end up moving to Montana or somewhere equally as random and far away. In fact, I will be better than okay. I will be great because the Lord’s plan for my life is more than my tiny, homesick mind can fathom. And if this post makes me sound miserable, don’t worry, I’m really not. I’m just excited that in five weeks I’ll be back in Texas. I’m going to enjoy my last five weeks here, but I’m also glad it’s only five weeks.
I just wanted to dispel this myth everyone keeps believing. I’m not that brave! I am only able to do this, to have this experience, because I trusted God with my summer. I know I’m supposed to be here, and it’s been really, really good for me. It’s been restful. It’s been professionally helpful. And it’s been revealing, socially and professionally, about what I want in the future. Just think. If I hadn’t come here this summer, this whole new experience might have been at my first job, which hopefully will last more than nine weeks. At least now I won’t be surprised by my homesickness in the future. I’m coming to terms with it. I don’t have to hide it out of my pride. I’m learning to accept my inherent need for true community, unconditional support, and deep friendship. And that’s worth nine weeks of missing.