I lived in Jacksonville, Florida for just over three years. The move there was caused by a very traumatic event in my life while living in Birmingham. I moved to Florida to escape and only planned on being in Florida for a year. I got comfortable, found a well paying job, had a girlfriend and a small group of friends and decided to stay awhile not aware of the rabbit hole I already had one foot in.
I never got completely comfortable in Florida. I would outwardly talk about how awkward of a state it was and how much I hated it, while living there. I would say these negative things in front of friends who grew up and lived in that area their entire lives. They didn’t hate it, they didn’t find it weird at all. It was their home. They hadn’t spent their entire 20’s trying to find their home because they were already in it.
The relationship with said girlfriend ended just as awkward as my entrance to Florida was. I have good memories of her and my time in Florida but they are few and far between all the bad memories, empty wallets and held back tears. With all that said, there was a very small group of friends and confidants I made after our break up. They got to know me and I got to know them, but now over a year later I’m realizing that the Kyle they got to know wasn’t who I really am.
I had become a shell because of those three years of extremely oppressive events. On top of that, I’ve always been one that just ignores the bad times/memories and focuses on the good. That doesn’t sound like a huge problem but it is. It’s like a make believe snowball silently turning into a giant snowball with an emotional avalanche right behind it. It just keeps building and building until one day it overtakes you and tries it’s hardest to break you down and it’s all self inflicted. All these events made me a shell of a person.
I didn’t know if I should or shouldn’t drink around people. I’d get sloppy drunk with someone and obnoxiously sober with others. I didn’t know what music I was supposed to listen to. I didn’t know if I was supposed to like sports or eat meat. I didn’t know if I should wear Vans or New Balances. I was like a pinball just getting knocked around and it was all self inflicted.
I don’t say I’d go back and change much in my life, but the effect I left on the small group of friends that had faith in me is something I’d go back and change. I would show them that I’m not this self conscious self defeating, lost and mindless droid. I’d show them the Kyle that has life long friends in Birmingham, Huntsville and Tennessee. I’d show them exactly who am and the person I’ve become and love.
I wouldn’t change that I dated the girl I dated, I wouldn’t change that I moved to Florida in the first place. I wouldn’t change any other decisions I made as a Floridian but I would change the way I treated my friendship with Taylor, Jeremy, Josh, Barbara, Elizabeth, Katie and Pants because while I didn’t get to know them completely sometimes I miss them dearly.
I think this post has been a year and a half in the making and no one will care.