I spent my third birthday in a hotel in Utah or Colorado, on
a scenic detour from Edwards AFB in California to Lackland AFB in south Texas.
I don’t remember much about this birthday, so it couldn’t have been too
scarring, but I know how it sounds—lonely and sad, like I was denied something.
I assure you, I wasn’t. If anything, being a military child
gave me a greater appreciation for unique experiences—and for constant change.
From San Antonio to Little Rock to Woodbridge, VA in a
little more than three years. Another six homes over the next 10 years, not
counting temporary housing, which became a standard step for the final four.
Twice I lived with my mother’s parents for the summer. Twice we lived in
temporary base housing, which is basically like living in a hotel-style
apartment that you must leave in better
condition than you found it, lest you incur a fee. So not like a hotel
actually, but not like a home, either.
In Georgia, I remember spending a lot of time on a nearby
playground, squeezing my nearly-pubescent body into spaces clearly designed for
(I had a fascination throughout childhood with contorting
myself into spaces not designed for my body, but that’s a story for another
My first sixteen years were in a constant state of flux, and
as a result, I mastered the art of starting over.
I did not master the art of following through.
This is not to say that I have no follow-through—I
have written a couple of novels (one of which was “published”—again, later),
completed graduate school, completed years-long work projects.
But follow-through is always a struggle for me. I get
three-quarters of the way through something and I’m ready to move on to the
next thing. I have a series of ideas all at once, and choose to binge-watch Parks
& Recreation instead of working on any of them. I create blogs and
YouTube channels and social media accounts, then barely use them and eventually
abandon them just as they are gaining steam.
I think part of me is terrified of seeing the end of
something. I watched my parents’ marriage end, and while I believe it was the
best thing for our family, it was extremely difficult to be a part of. I
watched my grandmothers’ lives end in rooms filled with their loved ones, and
felt buoyed by that love, and was still devastated by my loss of them.
If I don’t finish my projects, commit to my blogs or
channels, then I don’t have to face the other side. I don’t have to deal with
edits, or critique, or failure. They can remain pristine in my vision of them,
without taking a single risk to make them real.
Now I’m 30 years old and have met nearly none of my personal
This isn’t completely the fault of my routine of starting
over—I have dealt with chronic illness since I was 13, and in the last three
years have seen a steep decline in my health, which has forced me to rewrite
the plan I had for my life—but I can’t deny that my fears have held me back to
an alarming degree.
Why am I telling you all of this?
Because I want
this time to be different.
No—this time is going
to be different.
And the only way I know to start is to admit all the times
I’ve failed before and promise to be different.
Which in retrospect is probably the worst way to start—look
at all the times I’ve not done what I’m pledging to do this time! Who would
subscribe to a blog or channel that provides evidence of its inevitable demise
in the first post or video?
I hope you do.