I got back from L.A. yesterday. I had a great time. It was so good to see people that I knew when I was there. It was nice to be able to drive around and know where I was going. It was great to be around people who knew me and loved me based on who I was in L.A. at that time in my life. But what was really good was knowing that I made the right choice. I got closure.
I sort of hate the word "closure" because it's so clinical. It's like saying "they have issues." What the crap does that even mean? Anyway, I tend to second guess EVERYTHING I do, which is completely annoying to myself and most people who know me. I try to make decisions based on what's right, whatever that means, and I try to mull over a decision until I'm good and ready and have come to a verdict that makes the most sense. I don't make rash decisions and I don't make impulsive ones.
My choice to move home was one of the hardest ones I've ever had to make. Moving away to California was the first time that I got to establish myself as an adult. I got to leave behind all of the things that I wanted to forget and I got to build my life based on new goals and expectations. The thing is, though, after a while, I started to change. I resented a lot of my past. I was bitter at a lot of people. I got really hard.
L.A. brought out strength in me and it taught me that I could handle things on my own. It also taught me that relying on myself was self destructive. You have to have a support group to stay afloat, and you have to be willing to accept the support that other people offer you. Most of all, though, you have to remember that God is in control. I forgot that part for a long time.
I moved back to Memphis and was so depressed and defeated that I couldn't be who I knew I was. I was overwhelmed and depleted. I was taking so many steps backward. I was living with my parents again, I was in a lot of debt, I felt like a loser... I couldn't reconnect with people or give my relationship a fair shot. I couldn't remember what it was like to be happy. I was working in a job under a pervert boss who was banging a 24 year old girl in our office. I was broke and empty and alone, and I kept thinking that I made the wrong choice.
I met this older guy who kept telling me, "Life is about relationships. You have to focus on those, and not where you live." After a while, that made sense to me.
Things started to change. I'm not sure when the turning point happened, but God scooped me up out of my depression and isolation. My prayer, over and over again, was "God, change my heart or change my circumstances." He did both.
Now I have the best job I've ever had. My relationship is maturing and growing. My relationship with my family is better. I'm better.
I guess I want to get to this: God has never left me. He's blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. There were times I thought I couldn't wake up another day. I couldn't handle going through the motions of ONE MORE DAY. But I did. And I did it because God did it.
I was scared of visiting L.A. again. I was scared that I'd visit and not want to leave. I was scared I'd get back into my old scene and I'd resent moving home. I'd feel like a loser again. I'd feel regret.
I flew over L.A. on Wednesday night and I saw all of those billions of lights down below. That used to make me have butterflies. Seeing all of that activity made me excited and hopeful and challenged. This time, though, I didn't have that feeling. I just felt content.
I got to see some of my closest friends when I went back to L.A. That was a great thing. I was really happy, and it felt so good to reconnect. The thing is, though - it was good to VISIT. All I could think of was, "I can't believe I was living here when I was 23. How the crap did I do this?" I went hard and strong for two years, and then I was exhausted.
I got to go to "The Tonight Show" on Friday and see my hero, Dolly Parton. I never thought I'd be so close to her! She was amazing, like she always has been. I can remember dancing around in a blonde wig when I was little and singing Dolly's songs. I used to watch "Smoky Mountain Christmas" religiously. ("Thar's spells in this PIE!")
It was incredible. My friend Mike took us to the green room and gave us VIP treatment. I got my picture with Jay Leno. I couldn't believe that I was there with Jay Leno and Dolly Parton and one of my best friends. I kept thinking how blessed I was.
The next night we went to the Hollywood Bowl and saw Dolly's concert. I was so moved. I kept thinking how she was so in touch with who she was. She has all this fame and she was just this girl from TN and now she's 65 and playing at the Hollywood Bowl. My friend and I saw a shooting star. It was amazing.
Dolly started playing "Coat of Many Colors," and she talked about how she wrote that song to let the hurt out. Kids bullied her for being poor, and she said that by writing that song, she started healing. I knew what she meant. It's like all of that hurt from growing up, all of that resentment and bitterness from being bullied or misunderstood just sort of left me. I felt completely OK with myself. I started to cry. I felt grateful and fortunate and happy.
For the first time in a long time, I feel really happy. I've felt happy the past few months. I've come to terms with my life. I'm OK with not knowing what's next. I'm OK with lacking direction and certainty. But most of all, I'm OK with being here, and I'm actually happy.